What You Need to Know About the Medical Use of Steroids

24 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: Since their introduction steroids have received a lot of knee-jerk press, rumors and half-truths. While a complicated science, Kimberly Clark offers the following insight into their proper use. 

When I received my PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors Association) certification in Adaptive Techniques to work with the handicapped the toughest part of the training was learning about the meds my students might be taking. Knowing the last dose received before a lesson, knowing how long before a next dose was recommended, knowing the possible side effects of not only the medication itself, but the symptoms indicating the medication was wearing off, add to this the required first aid to be administered if a reaction occurred.

It could be life or death at 11,000 feet on a snow-covered mountain because you were the first responder, period. A microcosm of an EOTWAWKI where professional medical attentions might not be available or reachable soon enough.  Knowledge is power and I hope this take on steroids helps as it is complicated.

Medical steroids are designed to act like hormones to reduce inflammation. They’re also known as corticosteroids, and are different to anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and athletes. That said, the graphic below show the confusion that can exist on the subject.

 

In a gist, steroids are human-made chemicals that mimic the natural functioning of hormones in the body. Ideally, they function like the hormones in the body whose purpose is to reduce inflammation. Though they are mainly manufactured for medical reasons, steroids, of course have also been used (or misused) to help athletes and body-builders to boost their body strength. However, other uses of steroids other than the medicinal uses are more often illegal (I will leave the discussion of professional sports vs sports as entertainment to others.) Though the steroids will not cure the inflammation in your body, they will help reduce swelling and ease the symptoms, that is an important distinction to understand, they treat the symptoms by inhibiting some of the bodies natural functions.

What Are Steroids, And When Should You Consider Using Them?

As mentioned above, steroids are human-made hormones that are introduced to the body to help solve various issues. Inflammation is one of the significant problems that you can solve through the use of steroids. Typically, inflammation is the body’s reaction to either injury, bacteria or infection.

To help fight the bacteria, the immune system produces some extra fluid to fight bacteria and viruses, thus resulting in swelling. For this reason, when you have cases where your body is reacting to such conditions, then you can take steroids to minimize the immune reaction.

There are different ways through which you can take steroids into the body. Some of these are:

  • Apply to the skin as a cream or gel- this helps reduce inflammation on the skin
  • Through the eye as eye drops – it helps reduce inflammation in the eye
  • Through the mouth as tablets or liquids – helps reduce inflammation throughout the body.

The time taken for you to notice a difference after taking steroids may vary depending on your condition, and the prescription administered.

Circumstances Under Which You Can Take Steroids

Like any other drugs, steroids have their side effects that may be severe under specific conditions. For this reason, you can find a situation where your doctor will advise against the use of steroids. For instance, in case you have wounds on your body, steroids may delay the healing process.

Additionally, steroids may negatively affect other medical conditions in the body, such as mental health issues, diabetes, blood pressure problems, or heart problems. Therefore, in case you have any of these conditions, you need to seek competent medical advice as opposed to reading WebMD and self medicating.

If you are a person who uses contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing  them and go to your glasses as a fallback, the glasses, while you are receiving steroid eye drops. If you have an infection on your skin, you will not be in a position to apply steroid creams or gel on the skin. Other skin problems such as acne, ulcers, and rosacea, among others, could also become complicated in case you use steroid creams in their presence. Therefore, ensure that you consult your doctor whether it is safe for you to use any steroid treatment to avoid future regrets, and always ask your physician if any of the meds he/she is prescribing is a steroid.

Taking Other Medicines Alongside Steroids and Vaccinations

Generally, you will come across drugs that you cannot take at the same time as they would cause some adverse reactions in the body. However, according to research, it is possible for you to take some steroids alongside other drugs. As with anything, there are medicines that could cause adverse reactions when taken alongside steroids. Therefore, before you start using any new drugs, ensure that you consult your doctor to make sure that you are on the safe side.

In addition, avoid other over-the-counter drugs when you are under a steroid dosage of a drug unless advised by your doctor. Concerning vaccines, for the whole time when you are using steroids, it is advisable to avoid the use of live vaccines; for instance, yellow fever vaccine. However, some of the vaccines will depend on the type of dosage that you are taking. In case you find it necessary to take any immunization, ensure that you do it before you start the steroid dose to avoid any infections. Be safe, always consulted a trusted medical professional.

Steroids and Fertility, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

According to studies, there are some steroid tablets such as prednisolone that can be safe for use during pregnancy. When taken during pregnancy, steroids are more often than not used to treat flare-ups for expectant mothers. However, in case you are planning to get pregnant and are still using steroids, it is essential to consult your doctor about that.

When you take steroids while breastfeeding a small amount of the steroids that will get into the milk and be passed onto your child. However, there is no research showing any risks of such amounts to the baby, but do your homework.

Steroid creams are safe for use when you are breastfeeding. However, in case you apply the cream around the breast, ensure that you properly wash yourself before breastfeeding.

Having an Operation or Using Alcohol

In case you have an upcoming operation, it is advisable to quit the use of steroids. However, speak to your surgeon or doctor about it before you stop taking the steroids as some surgeries may actually need you to be under steroid medications prior to the actual operation. In other cases, all you may need to do is to change the dose before the surgery, as always, the doctor needs to manage this. Therefore, in case you are using steroid medication drugs such as Triazide, ensure that your doctor is aware of any step that you intend to take. Such drugs will help treat edema and control moderate and mild blood pressure, which are some of the conditions that may occur in the course of the operation.

Concerning alcohol, don’t. After you start using steroids, it is advisable to stop or minimize the use of alcohol. Additionally, avoid taking many units of alcohol at a go. Instead, spread the units across several days and have some alcohol free days. This will minimize the chances of a severe reaction between alcohol and steroids.

Conclusion

Steroids are practical and powerful drugs that you can use to help solve several medical conditions in the body. However, like in the use of any other drug, you need to understand their medical application to prevent any harm to the body when you take them. Use the information above to understand all that you need to know about the medical use of steroids.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post What You Need to Know About the Medical Use of Steroids appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Value of Sleep

19 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

The Prepper Journal has posted in the past on the importance of sleep, like when it is your turn on guard duty. But in general sleep is a real need and knowing how to get quality sleep will go a long way in keeping your healthy and on your game, a requirement in dealing with disasters and emergencies big and small in the real world.

It would help if you prepared yourself well before bedtime to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep. There are many ways of achieving this. You can do exercise, have a comfortable mattress, control your caffeine intake, avoid foods that you know will be harder for your system to digest, switch off any electronic devices, and take a shower before sleeping.

While these are for creating a restful night’s sleep, your health will also be better. Take for example doing exercise; numerous health benefits come with them. So, let’s see, in details, the things that will prepare you for a good night’s sleep.

Control Intake Of Caffeine

Caffeine, the foundation of so many “energy” drinks, is your enemy here. While it re-energizes your body and makes you more active by spiking  blood sugar levels, it takes time to be disposed of by your body which will make your ability to sleep difficult at best. Therefore, take control of the amount of caffeine you take per day. Consider cutting off it’s intake in the early afternoon.

Exercise Daily

Many people think that they should only do exercise to lose weight. Well, that is not the only reason that should make you walk 30 minutes a day or visit the gym regularly. However, avoid doing exercise at night. You should consider exercising in the early mornings before going to work, during lunch or the early evening – a real beneficial happy hour.

Manage Your Environment

The right bed and mattress and a controlled environment are conducive to restful sleep. A bad mattress, get something better, or just add a comfortable topper. Too much light, fix that. Too much ambient noise – eliminate it. Soft lighting, scented candles, lavender especially.

Switching Off Your Electronics

Have you noticed that you lose track of time when dealing with the electronics that overwhelm our lives? Do you notice when it is getting late when you are on your phone chatting with friends? The same applies to when you are using your computer. You see, the ambient light from these electronic devices disrupts your bodies rhythm, schedule. .

Dr. Michael Terman who is the author of “Reset Your Inner Clock” says that installing F.lux, which is a free App, helps in changing the color of your computer so that it looks the same as that time of the day. You can, therefore, know when bedtime is drawing near and switch off your computer ready for bed.

Try to mute or turn off your computer, mobile phone or any other electronic device at least one hour before you sleep.

Cooling Before Sleeping

Do you know that the food you eat as well as the lights in your bedroom can make the temperatures in your bedroom go up? The way to deal with this is by cooling your body. Taking a shower helps control the temperatures outside your body as well as giving you a cooling effect that allows you to fall asleep faster.

The Exit

A restful night’s sleep will affect your health, productivity, and self-esteem positively. It may be difficult to part with your computer or phone one hour before bedtime the first day, but with time you will get used to it. Exercising is not anything anyone who has not been doing would want to hear. However, at least 30 minutes a day for exercise is really a miracle drug. And that old “cool down” period can’t be over-stressed. 

The Prepper Journal has posted often that your person, your being, and your mental state are the best preps you can make to deal with any situation (as long as the Glock is close and pantry is full.) Look inward Prepper!

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First Aid Training Will Benefit Your Family

14 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

At The Prepper Journal we often post about learning first aid, that you and those around you when a injury occurs are the real “first responders” to any incident and that you and they can be the difference between life and death while you wait for trained medical responders.

We also believe that you should know exactly how to use every piece of equipment in your medical kit and always keep it current and PRACTICE.

We know you care about your family and want the very best for them. You want them to always feel safe and protected. Providing this means that you will have to be trained in first aid to care for them in the case of an emergency. If you are trained in first aid skills, you will be in a position to:

Be Proactive and Prepared

When you take a first aid course, it will make it clear just how important it is to always be prepared for the unexpected. Packing a first aid kit or purchasing one that is ready made will be your first step. In fact, having more than one kit and placing them in your home, your vehicle, and your summer cabin may be a move that will benefit someone greatly in the future. Be sure to quickly replace any items that are used so that they will be ready and waiting for the next mishap or emergency.

While you work, travel, or even when you shop, make a habit of taking note of where automatic external defibrillator (AED) equipment is stored, as well as any wall mounted medical kits. You never know if and when you will need it. Someone you are with or another individual may suffer a heart attack, and being able to direct someone to this equipment while you attend to that person will save precious time and possibly a life.

Prevent Infection and Other Serious Effects

By knowing how to react to various situations, you can actually prevent them from escalating into something bigger and more serious. For example, if your child has a cut, you will know which antibiotic creams to apply and the best bandages to use to prevent future infections. If you are aware of the signs and symptoms of light-headedness, you may prevent a family member from falling to the ground and hurting himself on hard surfaces. If you know the signs of a heart attack, especially since they are different in men and women, you may actually save a life or prevent extensive heart damage by applying immediate assistance and getting help quickly.

Knowing how to react quickly to emergencies can prevent blood loss, brain or other organ damage, or even death. When someone is in distress, react immediately. The minutes saved can be vital, especially in the case of heart attacks, asthma attacks, drowning, blood loss, and hypothermia.

Help Others

Knowledge of first aid practices will not just help the members of your family. You will be prepared to help anyone you come across who needs instant medical assistance. A choking victim in a restaurant, a child hurt on a playground, an older person having chest pains, or a runner who sprained an ankle will all benefit from your first aid training. Having that first aid kit on hand will definitely come in handy, and having the knowledge to deal with the situation at hand will be even more helpful in dealing with the injury or illness. Your family will gain the recognition of being ready and willing to assist when the occasion demands it.

Be an Example to Other Family Members

By training in Basic Life Support and getting certified (BLS certification), you will show family members just how important it is to be able to care for each other during major and minor emergencies. Encourage your spouse and your children to follow suit by taking the same and even more advanced classes so everyone will always be prepared to deal with the unexpected.

As is very evident, quality first aid training will continue to be a top priority in your household for many years to come. It is also important to keep up with first aid trends as procedures sometimes change or get updated. Note the expiration date on your card and be sure to renew it with new training before it expires.

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Yes, You Do Need to be Reminded Every So Often

3 Apr

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

A guest contribution to The Prepper Journal from Brennan Valeski, a writer for SurvivalTechShop.com who loves gear and technology that allows him to be ready for any situation that arises. He shares his personal experiences and recommendations to help you be prepared for your next adventure.

5 Ways To Stay Safe On The Road

There are many different ways to approach road safety. At the end of the day, it begins with you and your actions behind the wheel. According to ASIRT (the Association for International Road Travel), “nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day”. The sad truth is that often most road crashes are predictable and preventable. Here are a few key actionable tips to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

#1 – Wear Your Seat-belt

This one is a no-brainer. Every time you step into a vehicle you’re going to want to buckle up your seat belt. Each time you get in you’re also responsible for your passengers. Sometimes they may think they’re exempt, although without wearing them a lot of damage can occur.

This simple action can prevent injuries, and save a life if you were to get in an accident. In some cases, it can even be fatal consequences if not worn, so it’s important to make sure you and your family are buckled up every single time.

#2 – Eyes On The Road

Keep your eyes on the road. This should be the only thing you’re focusing on while driving. Everything else can wait, including any texting or social media.

If you have a passenger, let them take care of navigation or music. If you’re driving alone, make sure to take care of these things when you first get in the vehicle before you start moving.

It’s easy to get distracted by your cell phone, and you don’t want that to take your attention off the most important thing while in a car… driving.

According to AAA, 6 out of 10 teen crashes involve driver distraction. The most common forms of distraction include:

  • Interacting with one or more passengers: 15%
  • Using a cellphone: 10%
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10%
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9%
  • Singing/dancing to music: 8%
  • Grooming: 6%
  • Reaching for an object: 6%

#3 – Never Drink and Drive

Under no circumstances should you ever get behind the wheel while under the influence. If you’re going to drive, don’t drink. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. You should never mix the two together. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’ve had too much to drink, then get an Uber, Lyft, cab, or friend to take you home.

With all the technology available nowadays, there’s no excuse to ever drink and drive. The cost of a ride does not compare to your life, or potentially harming someone else due to your irresponsible actions.

#4 – Stick To The Speed Limits

The speed limits are there for a reason. As annoying as they may seem sometimes out on the open road, they’re designed to keep drivers safe. While most modern cars can handle 120 miles per hour, you may not think it’s a big deal until something happens. This is the main reason speed limits exist. They’re based upon the width of the road, the varying weather conditions, and many other factors. T

he speed limits leave room for error with drivers and are built for the type of road. Especially when driving in unfamiliar territory, you never know when a sharp turn could be just around the corner. Instead, it’s best to keep racing on the tracks, and the roads for getting around.

#5 – Stay Prepared

Preparation is another key element of road safety. One way to stay prepared is to utilize a road safety kit. This way, you can make sure you always have that crucial gear in a time of need. If you plan on vehicle dwelling, I’d also suggest you take a look at these van life essentials. Each of these items may be helpful in a pinch on the side of the highway or at your campsite.

 

In addition, for those planning on going camping with a trailer, you may want to consider your camper weight. If you go over your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity, you can cause serious damage to your engine. Or worse, you may even cause potential jackknifing. This dangerous situation could flip your trailer or car. I’ve seen a few campers turned over on the side of the highway and it’s not pretty. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure you’re towing a safe load with your vehicle. You can check your owner’s manual or look on the manufacturer’s website for the specific details of your make and model.

 

One last way to stay prepared is to check your tires and vehicle before driving. It may sound very simple, yet you’d be surprised by how many people don’t. It’s as simple as walking around your car before you get in. Check the tires to make sure they have enough tread on them (nothing protruding, scarring, or nails). A little walk around to check your car is in good running order is a very important act for road safety.

To Conclude

A little bit of preparation goes a long way. These steps can help to keep yourself and others safe on the road. Above all, it begins with you and your actions behind the wheel. You cannot always control what others do on the road, so you should stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

To recap:

  1. Wear your seat belt
  2. Keep your eyes on the road
  3. Never drink and drive
  4. Stick to the speed limits
  5. Stay prepared.

As long as you follow these rules of the road you’ll be much safer out there. Of course, you can’t prep for everything, yet this is the best you can do. Do your part when driving as it’s a collective effort for not only for your own safety, yet others as well. Drive safe!

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Effective Ways to Save Your Back During Deer Hunting

22 Mar

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Gearing up with all the essentials as soon the hunting season come around the corner is good.  However, at the same time knowing how to protect yourself from any mishap during a hunting trip is equally important. It is not just the right gun, the right boots and most apt clothes that make sense but detailed information on how to take care of you on the ground as well.

 

Deer hunting is considered as one of the most popular meat hunting or sports hunting events. Dating back thousands of years, it is still a widespread practice that attracts many hunters around the world. At the same time, it is also one of the major causes of people hurting their back or legs. According to Anne from the website Free Your Spine, if you follow certain practices in life, back pain or other related issues will not be less of a risk when you hunt or perform any hardcore exercise. 

Sleep Well

Half of the reason for your back pain is an incorrect sleeping posture. You need to work on your sleeping conditions which involve not only a right sleeping stance but also the right kind of surface. It is essential that the surface is flat and soft. There might come situations when you have to sleep on the ground and it is here when sleeping on your side becomes helpful. Moreover, you may dig a small trench to reside your hips and shoulders on the ground. It will not create pressure on the spine, and there will be no need for bending it while sleeping. 

Walk Smart

While exploring the hunting arena, you may need to climb or descend a hill. It is advised that moving straight up or straight down will be beneficial, depending on the terrain of course. This will put almost the same stress on the spine, hips, legs, and feet. Taking a diagonal or zig-zag route is not considered best as it might put unnecessary pressure or unbalanced stress on the back, leading to back pain by the end of the day, perhaps with the knowledge that if you already hurt, another night on the ground is not conducive to getting better.

Keep The Grip Strong

While moving in the woods, traction plays a significant role. The muscle spindle gauge makes the legs ready for every next step when coming in contact with the ground. As soon as you encounter any steep slip or get into a hole, muscle spindles stretch that leads to contraction of muscles. Therefore, if the muscles are weak, they will not be able to take the pressure leading to an instant back strain. You have to try avoiding slips and fall as much as possible. At the same time, wearing high traction shoes that are custom made for hunting will help. Well-designed shoes will prevent you from falling or tripping from the slippery surfaces.

Place Your Gears Close

Having an overloaded game vest, a deer rifle, shotgun, small backpack with other essentials becomes crucial but at the same time keeping them close to you is equally important. It is advised to keep your gears close to your center of mass for more balance. Other than this, make sure you walk as normally and straight as possible rather than leaning backward or forward.

Remain Mobile

Mobility is important to keep your blood circulation going. You should keep stretching and moving to prevent the muscles from getting rigid or stiff. If you run suddenly or stand with a jerk, the leg muscles get an instant strain that may lead to getting back pain. If you are up in a deer stand for a long time, make sure you keep moving your spine after regular intervals and flex the muscles.

Do Not Drag Forcefully

Okay, so now that you have actually hunted a deer don’t think you got that extra power to drag anything anywhere. Dragging improperly is one of the most common reasons for people getting back strain. Initially, you might not feel the pain, but by the end of the day, it will surround you. Therefore instead of dragging the whole deer by yourself out of excitement, try taking the deer in a cart (if at all possible) and lessen your burden. Also consider the option of field dressing the deer, depending on conditions – altitude, proximity of possible challengers to your kill, the ones weighing it at over 700 lbs with very poor negotiating skills. Is making a couple of trips a possibility considering time of day (how long until dark) and the distance to camp. 

However, if the only solution is pulling, keep changing the position of your body and your grip so as to not put unnecessary pain on the same muscles. Make sure you are taking frequent breaks in between to reduce the fatigue.

Ice The Back

If in spite of best efforts to not strain your back you still end up eith back pain, use some ice to minimize the discomfort blocally. Apply ice within 2-3 hours of the injury if possible. Remember not to ice the wound continuously but only after regular intervals of at least one hour. Although it is not a sure shot remedy of back pain it does offer some instant relief.

Deer hunting is not a child play. It needs a lot of practice, strength and of course motivation and interest to do so. Just like it is vital to get know-how of all the essentials you need while going for the hunt, getting equipped with necessary measures or precautions is also a must.

So, next time you go for hunting, follow the above points and come back fit and fine with zero body ache or pain. 

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Stress – Issues We Should Not Ignore

13 Mar

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Today the term ‘preppers’ has a negative connotation because most people associate it with the so-called doomsday preppers instead of  what it really is – people who actively prepare for emergencies. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, we can all agree that we are living in stressful times. Earlier, people only worried about their jobs and their families but according to the American Psychological Association, the most common cause for stress today is the future of our nation. This is followed by money, work, our political climate and the rise in crime – that’s plenty of stress! This does not mean that you should stop preparing for what may lie ahead– it’s important to safeguard your future. However, while you’re doing that, you could also take steps to protect yourself from the stress caused by these issues since stress can affect your physical and mental health.

Health Problems Triggered by Stress

Stress is a natural human response when dealing with dangerous or challenging situations. However, when we allow ourselves to remain in a state of constant stress, it has an impact on our physical and mental health and can result in multiple health problems. Studies show that a whopping 77 percent of people in the US regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Most of us ignore these physical symptoms because they seem so trivial but they can take a toll on your physical and mental health if you continue to ignore them. Here are 8 of the most common health problems triggered by stress:

Heartburn

You’re used to popping a Tums after a heavy meal or even a large snack and you’ve never given it a second thought. When you have acid reflux or heartburn, the acids from your stomach rise up into your food pipe (esophagus). These strong stomach acids then damage the valve that prevents them from moving further up which is why you experience that burning sensation in your chest. After a while, the valve is so badly damaged that it cannot function properly and you will then develop GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) which is typically a permanent health problem. Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol increases the acid in your stomach which is why frequent heartburn could be a sign of constant stress.

Common Cold

There are 2 main ways in which stress increases your risk of catching the common cold – 1) slows down your immune system 2) disrupts your sleep which increases your susceptibility to the virus. Chronic stress results in the constant production of cortisol. This overproduction of cortisol results in the ‘de-sensitizing’ of the immune system to cortisol. This affects your body’s immune response to a pathogen which makes it more likely that you will come down with a cold. Cortisol also affects your sleep patterns. An American study found that people who sleep for fewer than 7 hours per night are nearly three times more likely to develop the common cold when they come in contact with the virus as compared to individuals who slept for at least 8 hours every night.

Obesity

Most people think that they make poor food choices due to their lack of self-control. However, this is not entirely true as stress plays a key role in weight gain. When you are stressed out, you are more likely to reach for high carb foods such as pastries, cookies, cake and muffins. Eating carbs makes your body produce more serotonin – the feel good hormone. To add to this, the stress hormone cortisol is also responsible for fat storage in the body as well as increasing appetite. This is why people who are constantly stressed are more likely to gain weight.

High Blood Sugar

Stress sends your body into a fight or flight response which means that your body ensures that you have sufficient energy (in the form of sugar) to fight or flee from impending danger. This response triggers the release of glucose from your liver. It also blocks your body from releasing insulin and causes your body tissues to become less sensitive to insulin –so you have more glucose available in your blood. If you remain stressed for a prolonged period, your sugar levels will rise which will increase your risk of diabetes.

High Blood Pressure

Stress does not directly cause hypertension but it can have an effect on the development of this condition. When you are in a stressful situation, your body’s production of several hormones surge. The elevated levels of these hormones causes your blood vessels to narrow which results in a temporary increase in blood pressure. This is why you can feel your heart beating faster whenever you get stressed. Although stress does not cause high blood pressure, the frequent spikes in blood pressure can damage the blood vessels and kidneys and can also lead to heart disease.

Asthma

Stress causes the release of hormones that impact the entire body, including the immune system. Studies show that stress increases the risk of asthma exacerbation’s due to changes in immune function. An asthmatic attack can make you feel stressed which in turn can aggravate your asthma symptoms which is why asthma and stress can make for a vicious cycle that can spiral downwards very quickly. If you notice an increase in asthmatic attacks for no obvious reason, it could be due to increased stress.

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response which affects the gastrointestinal tract. This is why people who are stressed often feel a heavy sensation in their gut. Stress can cause IBS symptom flare-ups and can also increase the severity of the symptoms. Since IBS is a stress-sensitive disorder, doctors treating IBS patients often recommend stress management. If you notice an increased frequency of IBS flare-ups, it could be linked to your stress levels.

Depression and Anxiety

Stress can have a significant impact on mental health as stress hormones cause brain disturbances thought to underlie certain types of depression. Studies show that stress can cause depression and anxiety and that stress reduction is vital for people with depression and anxiety. People who have depression or anxiety disorders may notice mood and emotion changes whenever they get stressed.

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Identify These 5 Physical Injuries Before Giving First Aid

2 Feb

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A contribution for Caitlyn Bell to The Prepper Journal.

Injuries are a part of life! Adventure and injuries are two sides off the same coin and what we mean, you will understand right after your first trip. They say when you begin with something new, you will fall but what matters is how you get up again and move ahead with greater courage! The same thing implies to adventure sports and outings. And well! What is a trip good for, if you do not have injury marks telling stories of your fantastic time and exemplary courage! Injuries can happen anywhere, anytime, during any circumstance and you really cannot do much about it. You may cut your hand from the very slicer which you use daily in the kitchen! But let’s keep ourselves focused on one aspect and that is the amazing, full of fun trips that we can make to places which challenge us and satisfy our adventurous soul!

Adventure trips are not just confined to trekking. Canoeing, river rafting, scuba diving, deep sea diving, bungee jumping, rock climbing and many more such activities happen all around the globe that fall under the category of adventure sports. If at times you choose to spend some time living in camps and employ the natural ways of sustenance, that is also an audacious endeavor of another kind. Whether you are going out for a solo trip or a group adventure, you are always suggested to make your preparations well and always carry a survival kit with you. This kit must always contain a good knife along with other essentials, like a signaling whistle and mirror.

You must also carry a first aid kit with you that includes-

  • the major medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, paracetamol, cough syrup,
  • thermometer
  • pain relief spray,
  • bandages
  • Cotton and scissors
  • Oral antihistamine
  • antiseptics,
  • hand sanitizer,
  • ice packs,
  • alcohol wipes,
  • non latex gloves
  • 1% hydro-cortisone cream
  • A triple antibiotic ointment

These are the basics for first aid along with any other ointment that you may remember. First aid is the first help that you can provide to your team member before you get any professional medical help so it needs to be complete and precise. But, when a situation arises, you must first know what you are doing with all components of your medical kit and analyze the nature of the emergency.

Let us learn about some of the medical conditions that need to be identified properly first before administering first aid.

Cuts and scrape if you are out on a trip that involves a lot of physical activity, then there will occur. In many instances when you will get cuts on your body parts, maybe on hands or on legs, you will not notice them immediately. Most of the times you will not even know how and when you got a cut. You only realize it later on when all of a sudden you feel a slight pain or burning sensation on your hand or leg! It is crucial to deal with cuts carefully as they are prone to develop an infection which can prove to be much more harmful.

Burns campfires are one of the most fun element of a camping adventure. Sitting around the fire in blankets with the right kind of music, food and people, can become of the most memorable part of your trip. But what if a member meets with an accident with the fire and encounters burns on the body. Not only this, in more severe conditions, when you choose to cook on your own while on a trek or in a camp, things are more complicated. It is not just fire that can cause burns! You may spill hot water accidentally or oil or any other mishap may happen. During any burns condition, you must know the source so as to give proper treatment. Treating burns properly is more complicated than it sounds. Cleansing and bandaging the area and applying an ointment to discourage infection are the right first steps, but recognizing the severity of the burn is just as important. Any burn, that is more severe than a first-degree burn requires immediate professional attention.

Swelling in limbs this is a very frequent and common problem which can occur with anyone during a trek. There are a myriad reasons of swelling. At times, swelling can happen due to excessive water retention, maybe due to fatigue, some inflammation may also be a reason for this or at times an insect bite which may have worsen can also be a reason of swelling. If you are already suffering from a joint problem, then also you may suffer from swelling. You see, there are so many reasons for one medical condition. In case your legs swell while you are on a trip, then before taking any first aid help, it is important for you to figure out what is the actual reason of the swelling in the limbs. All the above reasons have different ways to be treated so it is imperative to make sure of the cause of swelling first.

Insect/bug bites it is impossible to avoid these. Trekking or camping in the open means you are a free treat for insects and bugs. Generally there are swamps of bugs and insects and there are different kinds of these which can sting anytime and you not even get to know immediately until and unless you happen to see a red mark or a blister out of nowhere. Sometimes these small creatures are poisonous or maybe the carriers of harmful diseases so it is better to be loaded with repellent creams for a healthy trip. As always, clean the area gently and cover it with an ointment and a bandage and keep an eye on it. People have allergic reactions to some common pests and these are a real and immediate medical emergency.

Fractures honestly, one must be scared of these. If something as serious as a fracture happens, you must disable the area – immobilize it, wrap it and if it is a compound fracture, bone protruding through skin, address the bleeding immediately and get professional help at the earliest. But most of the times, in case of a hairline fracture, you are not even sure if there is a fracture at all, these are often diagnosed as sprains, even by doctors. If you experience immense pain or experience difficulty in moving any particular part of the body, you must first try and confirm if there is at all a fracture or not before giving first aid. You might not always know the exact reason of the fracture and the actual location of the fracture.

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Social Distancing: A Prepping Basic

1 Feb

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

So exactly what is ‘social distance’?

It you ask the professionals in the Public Health sector, it means keeping your distance when you are sick and from people who appear to be sick. Simple, however not everyone who is sick appears to be sick. And those same Public Health professionals are in the business of being exposed to the sick. It goes with the territory.

We tend to avoid people displaying obvious symptoms of a contagion, the normal coughing, sneezing, watery red and puffy eyes, or wearing a medical mask (we don’t care it if it is for their protection more than ours, it is a symptom). We at least try and minimize our contact. The earliest references to social distancing are from the seventh century BC in the Book of Leviticus, 13:46: “And the leper in whom the plague is…he shall dwell alone; [outside] the camp shall his habitation be.”

Now if they are immediate family we have to opt for the normal precautions that apply to those same public health personnel, washing your hands often, avoid bodily fluids, stop touching your face, masks, etc.

Reduced Immunity System

I lived with someone who underwent chemotherapy for cancer for 5.8 years, after an initial dose of radiation therapy and it gave me the obsessive-compulsive disorder – Mysophobia, also known as verminophobia, germaphobia, bacillophobia and bacteriophobia.  Because as the years progressed even bringing home a flu virus could have resulted in hastening the death of my spouse. People who have lived with terminally ill loved ones will understand.

As a result I still avoid sick people and do my best to avoid others when I am contagious. I consider the latter a social obligation. I still remember a visit from my adult daughter a number of years ago who “was having allergy problems”, then leaving and me coming down with that same allergy two (2) weeks later. Grrrr.

Germs Love New Playgrounds

And they travel on a number of highways we provide them:

  • direct physical contact with others – body fluids exchanges, sneezes, coughs, touching with unwashed hands
  • couriered by a third party, pets, insects, hand-to-hand-to-hand, a food handler, someone in the supply chain of an item that comes in contact with us.

And the eyes, more than the ears, nose or throat are a primary entry point. People generally touch their faces up to 3,000 times in a day. I haven’t tried to count but wearing glasses, I rub my eyes often.

Social Distancing as A Prepper Basic

But social distancing has other applications as well. To be sure the explosion in cell phones that do so much more that just phone calls and other electronic devices has actually been an aid in minimizing the spread of germs, or so it seems to the casual observer. Who hasn’t driven past a school bus stop of grade school and older children where each is self-absorbed in their personal device as opposed to interacting with their peers? We are all now guilty of this to some extent. Walk into any Starbucks on the planet.

Social distancing in a pandemic is something that preppers need to understand as there are actually laws written on the matter and protocols to be followed.

In an off-grid situation the introduction of a virus, even a known flu can have dire consequences, especially for older members of your group or those with already sketchy immune systems.  And the delivery chain must always be suspect. Be it anything material, from food to ammunition to electronic devices to new linens for the kids beds, the number of hands that have touched it are countless, and out of our control.

In a real world disaster one of the first things in your planning should be social distancing and how to quickly achieve it. A “who is in” and “who is out” protocol with preservation of self and family your primary goal. An understanding among your group that they immediately need to isolate themselves from strangers and even friends who may be ill. And they need to be open and honest about any exposure so you can plan accordingly because suddenly you are going to be in close quarters and most likely without professional medical help available or access to medications not already in your stash.

Strangers At the Gate

Depending on the SHTF situation, your hunker-down location, the travels of the Golden Horde and other factors you need to plan for strangers showing up on your doorstep, whatever that might be.

And their outward medical condition needs to be a part of your decision making process in addressing them. If they are alone it is pretty straight forward, but if there are two and one is sick, it is a consideration that being separated, or leaving the other behind or outside, is going to bring a whole other level of complication to your decision.

There isn’t a proverb that states verbatim that “Charity Begins at Home” though it makes perfect sense to the rational person. One really must provide for ones own first and best. The notion that a man’s family should be his foremost concern is expressed in 1 Timothy 5:8, King James Bible, 1611: “But if any provide not for his own, and specifically for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Too often now we see that the good of the many is more important than the good of the few – in open immigration of the sick, we have reintroduced contagious diseases such as measles, and smallpox and tuberculosis. In that name of charity.

As a part of the many exposed for the good of the few we need to consider social distancing as a tool, not to deny friendship or help, not to marginalize others due to their circumstances, but as another arrow in our self defense quiver when we are faced with an emergency.

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A Time to Step Back and Assess The Situation

16 Nov

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: An article from Nikita to The Prepper Journal. And just in time. A sincere comment from Joseph to The Prepper Journal had me thinking over the criminality and chaos of these post-election days, the underlying tension at a nightmare pitch, fueled on every medium by the Fourth Estate, that perhaps a step back and some inward inspection and analysis would bring some peace. So, in the spirit of prepping as a method to be ready for what comes, here is Nikita’s (Victor is the male equivalent) article which she thought should be titled either “These Are Crucial Mental Health Advantages of Mindfulness Exercises“, or, “Here’s Why Mindfulness Exercises Is So Amazing for Your Mental Health.”

As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share then enter into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies!

mind·ful·ness
/ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Mindfulness is defined as a method of being present in the current moment. There are numerous ways to practice it, including yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation. Before you start any of these, you may want to discover more about the advantages that mindfulness brings to your mental health, so take a look at the benefits mentioned below.

It Helps You to Get to Know Yourself

You should be the one knowing yourself the best, but have you ever stopped to wonder whether that is true? We all have prejudices about other people, so why wouldn’t we have them about ourselves? According to this study, mindfulness is a way of overcoming barriers to self-knowledge.

When we say getting to know the real you, we are talking about an objective observation and no bias involved. Mindfulness will help you avoid being overly critical, but also too mild on various aspects of your personality and behavior. This, in turn, can lead to identifying our weaknesses and fixing them, as well as further boosting our qualities.

You Will Perform Better at School

Whether you are going through high school or you are a college student having problems passing his exams, the trick on how to improve memory lies in mindfulness exercises. These techniques can help you to boost your cognitive skills and performance with special emphasis on working memory. This also applies to working professionals who have to continually learn and expand their skills due to the rapidly changing rules and technologies in their field – the medical professions, information technology, and the legal profession to name just a few.

In other words, it is mindfulness that will help you learn and memorize things more effectively. You shouldn’t expect an instant effect, but if you practice these exercises for a couple of weeks, you will see obvious progress in your ability to concentrate on learning.

It Assists in Processing Emotions

One of the best things about meditation and other mindfulness practices is that it focuses on promoting your overall brain performance and health. This is not limited to improved performance while you are mediating since the positive effects remain after the exercise. It is something similar to physical workout sessions, except you train your mind and not your muscles.

Various studies confirm those who practice mindfulness respond to emotional stimuli better. This is what can help you to handle both positive and negative emotions more effectively. In extreme situations, it is what can help you put everything behind you and move on.

You Will Feel Less Lonely

Loneliness is the root of many physical health problems, but it is also the cause of unhappiness in many people, especially the elderly. We found research that confirmed mindfulness could be effective in dealing with loneliness.

The fact that it can also boost your physical health shouldn’t be underestimated. If you are at an elevated risk for health conditions and diseases due to loneliness, mindfulness can promote both your physical and mental state.

Mindfulness Keeps Your Mind Sharp

You could say that this is obvious as the word itself suggests it, but it is a benefit that we cannot underestimate. Helping you to process emotions and become aware of your true self can assist in keeping a peace of mind. All this will enable your brain to perform better and focus on the task at hand.

Brain injuries and memory loss are often related. If you are experiencing lapses in your memory for any reason, it may be helpful to try mindfulness. Learning how to be present at a current moment might help to improve your cognitive performance[1], and you could use the boost in concentration that mindfulness brings.

It Can Decrease Your Medical Bills

Mindfulness has an all-around effect on the human organism[2], which includes multiple potential benefits for body and mind. As a result, it can promote your health and reduce the chances of minor issues from appearing. This can be especially useful during the winter when colds becomes a common problem that people suffer from.

All this can, in turn, have a positive effect on your budget. The fact that you will not need the same amount of health care and medications, the chances are that your medical bills will decrease. The money you saved can be spent smartly, such as on purchasing memory supplements to boost your mental performance and promote brain health (or more stores for your prepping supplies).

Mindfulness Promotes Optimal Sleep Patterns

When you feel like you are in control of your mood and emotions, you also feel comfortable in your body and mind. With this elevated self-awareness, you are almost guaranteed a sound sleep at night. Mindfulness promotes proper sleep patterns and improves sleep quality.

This comes as a natural consequence of dealing with stress more effectively. If you do not have anything troubling you and you can put your emotions under control, there is no reason why you shouldn’t sleep well.

It Can Help with Weight Loss

You’ve surely heard of a term “emotional eating.” It was coined to explain the situation where one eats not because they are hungry, but because they are feeling disturbed on an emotional level. It may be sad news that they just received, they could be angry about something, or simply feeling stress after a hectic day at work, or have accidentally seen the news.

Whatever it is, mindfulness can help you relieve stress and feel more at ease with the events in your life. This can help you eliminate food cravings that you didn’t know how to deal with before. As a result, it presents the perfect way to control your portions and achieve your weight loss goal sooner than you imagined.

A Final Note

Mindfulness is not an easy thing to master, and it will require a bit of your time and dedication. The good news is that you can practice these techniques at home, especially since there are numerous courses and videos available online.

If you prefer company, you can also consider joining a group that practices meditation. Alternatively, hire your coach to show you some basics, and you can take it from there. Either way, be persistent and honest to get to know yourself, and you will see that it is a magical journey with numerous benefits.

References
[1]https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm
[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18760079
[3]https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/brain-health/top-rated-cognitive-enhancing-supplements.html

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The Essentials and the Extra Weight – The Make-and-Break Gear of the Wilderness

3 Nov

Written by Cody on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note:A review of the basics is never a waste of time. A contribution from a far. Every prepper starts with the basics. 

You never know what the wilderness has in store for you. It’s big, mysterious and always has new things for you to discover. For that reason, many people choose to adventure themselves in nature for a certain period, to experience survival in the wild.

However, people tend to pack unnecessary things as well, leading to extra weight and ending up with a severe back pain and other aches. Because you want to avoid that, here is what we think you need to survive in the wilderness without carrying those extra kilos.

The Essentials – What Should You Pack?

Whenever you go on a trip, this question is playing with your mind – “What should I pack?” You wish you could take any small and insignificant thing, because “you never know”. Nevertheless, you should take only what you need to survive for that certain period. In order to avoid carrying around unnecessary objects that will only hold you back, here is a list of essentials we think you need to survive in the wilderness.

Backpack

It’s obvious that you’re not going to carry everything in your arms. You’ll need something that can handle everything you need for survival. It needs to be compact, though, and it’s always better to choose a waterproof one, just in case.

Clothing

It’s essential to bring weather-appropriate clothing. If you think about it, you never know how the weather is going to be. What if you go to sleep in only your boxers, and you wake up covered in snow?

Make sure you have both warm weather and cold weather clothing as well as rain gear. Depending on the destination, do some research to make sure you’ll not make any mistakes.

Tents and Sleeping Bags

Unless you want to hang some hammocks and sleep between trees, it would be a great idea to bring a tent. Although you’re going to explore the wilderness, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to camp somewhere and sleep. A tent is very much needed.

Additionally, if you’re going to colder areas, you should consider some sleeping bags as well. You definitely wouldn’t like waking up with icicles hanging from your nose.

IWB

Wilderness can hold a lot of dangers. As a safety measure, you should consider having an IWB (inside the waistband holster.) Basically, it’s a holder that allows you to have a weapon concealed and ready to fire in case you’re under attack from a wild animal.

So, if you don’t want to be eaten by a bear, check for some concealed carry holsters.

Purification Tablet and Water Bottles

Water is important, and you need to be hydrated at all times. Despite some areas having drinkable tap water, it’s better to bring purification tablets. You’ll be so thirsty you may not have time to find out whether the water is drinkable or not. Also, make sure you bring reusable bottles. You want to protect the environment as well, don’t you?

First Aid kit

Anything is bound to happen when you’re in nature and not protected by walls anymore. Therefore, a first aid kit will likely come in handy at some point. Who knows when you get some cuts, splinters or burns? The kit will be your best friend in these situations.

Eye Mask and Ear Plugs

If you’ve ever had annoying roommates, you know how godly an eye mask and ear plugs are to have. Because you are not going alone on this trip, you will have to endure other people’s habits. Some may be snorers, cough very loud or just chat until very late. You need proper rest, so make sure you bring these items and you’ll sleep like a baby.

Toilet Paper and Wet Wipes

Oh, how you’re going to miss your bathroom, where you would stay in the shower for two hours. Sadly, not all public restrooms have toilet papers, so you’re going to need some.

Moreover, wet wipes may be the only shower you could take in a while. You will feel cleaner and not smell (too hard).

Small Towels

Small towels are a necessity because you are going to need something to wipe your hands on or wipe your face after washing it in the morning. You shouldn’t take big towels, though. They are only going to take a lot of space, and they dry slowly as well.

The Extra Weight – What Should Stay at Home?

There are several things you shouldn’t pack. Some of them are:

Extra Clothes or Shoes

Although you’re tempted to take your best clothes, this is a bad idea. Not only that they will take a lot of space, but you risk ruining them as well. What if your favorite t-shirt gets stuck in something, and you end up shredding it to pieces?

You should only bring weather-appropriate and comfortable clothes. That means no jeans. You want to move freely, don’t you?

Laptops

A laptop is only going to require extra care and attention, because it may get damaged in certain conditions. Unless you need it for work, you can leave it at home. You need to survive without TV-shows for a while.

Valuables and Jewelry

Not only that you avoid being a theft victim, but you’ll also be at peace of mind knowing you don’t need to take extra care of them. And seriously though – why would you need them considering you’ll be in the wild most of the time? Bears certainly won’t compliment your expensive necklace.

Things You Can Buy During the Trip

There’s no point to pack some extra things if they can be purchased at your destination. They will only take unnecessary space.

Books

One book may not be such an issue but abstain from bringing your whole Stephen King collection. Not only that you’ll not have time to read so much, but you will have a stuffed backpack as well.

Final Thoughts

Going on a survival trip can be a great experience if you know how to properly enjoy it. One of the things you could do to ensure success is to pack the essentials only. Getting too many items will make you focus more on the weight than the trip itself.

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