Sunday, January 23, 2011

Health and Fitness for TEOTWAWKI

Much like planning for food for TEOTWAWKI, if there is a world-wide disaster, or even a very large disaster in your country, you will pretty much be on your own when it comes to your health as well. Unfortunately, compared to say fifty years ago, there is a very large percentage of people who simply won't survive a serious disaster because they rely very heavily on an organized society to provide for them (think meds, doctors, oxygen company, public transit for the elderly and infirm, visiting nurses, welfare medical coupons, welfare/disability payments, et al).
When society collapses, these people will be toast. Here's how to NOT be these people:
  • Do what you can to get off medications for chronic diseases. It is much easier to take high blood pressure/high cholesterol/diabetes medications than to go out and exercise and eat the right food. The problem comes when supply lines are down and you can't get these meds. Do whatever is necessary to improve your health to the best of your abilities.
  • If you do rely on medications for your current medical conditions, see about stockpiling these medications. Depending on what you take this could be a very expensive proposition. Hopefully you have the cash to do this and a doctor who will understand your need to stockpile (and write you the prescription for say, a year's worth of meds). Another option (don't know how legal this is) is to buy your medications in foreign countries where they cost much less and often don't require a prescription.
  • Exercise. A lot. I would suggest parkour but then I imagine me doing parkour and think better of that suggestion. Although I like the survival implications of parkour, any kind of exercise you do will be valuable in a survival situation. Just remember to concentrate on exercises that improve cardio, strength, and flexibility.
  • Put together a stellar first aid kit. I would toss in anything that could be even remotely useful in a medical incident but I wouldn't use things I don't know how to use (for example, it is a good idea to have things like ET tubes even if you don't know how to use them in case a nurse or paramedic happens to come by).
  • Stock the medications, both over the counter and prescription, that you can use in a survival situation. Everything from Thera-Flu to broad spectrum antibiotics and pain killers that can take down an elephant are suggested. Remember that prescription meds are usually best had with a prescription. Fortunately I have a doctor that understands both the need for stocking such meds and also understands that I know how to appropriately use them. Note, if you don't know how to use said meds, don't guess, you could die. Study up on this topic ahead of time.
  • Speaking of meds, plenty of people have considered using veterinary meds which can be had without a prescription and have stocked up appropriately. Again this takes research and education before actually running out to the feed store and buying out their drug section.
  • Speaking of studying, it's a good idea to learn about emergency first aid. First responder courses are a good start, an EMT course is even better, if you have the time and desire, maybe become a paramedic (which takes a huge amount of time and commitment).
  • The most important thing to remember, especially when you don't have emergency medical services available (like what would happen after a major disaster) is to simply be careful. People take it for granted that they can do some pretty boneheaded things, first, because they either don't realize that what they are doing is dangerous or second, they don't care (witness a wide range of videos on YouTube). However, when there are no doctors or first responders available, again, you will be on your own so extra care and caution when doing anything that could have a negative impact on your health and/or life is in order.
  • Finally, if you or a loved one is in a medically vulnerable position (elderly, seriously ill) then you--and they--need to come up with a plan for what you/they would do if there was a disaster that would keep them isolated for weeks or even months. What if they can't get to a doctor? What if they don't have meds? Where would they get their oxygen from? Is having emergency power a necessity? People don't realize the impact that not having these things would have on someone who absolutely relies on them. A friend who provided medical services at the airport after Hurricane Katrina said the thing they most needed after the disaster was, of all things, adult diapers. There were hundreds of elderly and ill people in the sweltering airport terminal in New Orleans and they couldn't get up to go to the bathroom and there were not enough staff to help them get up and go to the bathroom. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

The bottom line is that like everything else after a major disaster, you will basically be on your own. Plan accordingly.


  1. This is why I hate having bad eyesight! I would not survive a disaster situation with out contacts. I am also really interested in parkour, but the most physically daring thing I do is indoor rock climbing :P

  2. Indoor rock climbing is excellent exercise as it works all parts of your body. You also provided a good reminder, if you rely on contacts (or glasses for that matter) having a spare pair of glasses on hand is a great idea.

  3. Gracie,

    What I have done is ensure that I have sufficient back-up levels of contacts to last me approximately 6 months on hand. In addition, I have two sets of contacts in my BOB, which will last me anywhere from 8-16 weeks depending on how I handle them. Don't forget about LASIK if you're eligible!

    My prescription glasses are in their case next to my bed at all times,except when I'm wearing them, and on a quick checklist of things to grab before I bug out of my apartment. Once I can afford a second pair of glasses I will invest in them accordingly.

    Insight, another thing to note, as I did, is to make sure you have a pair of safety glasses in the BoB. As you mentioned, if ever in a situation where your eyes are in danger and no medical help is available, protect your eyes.