I plan on writing more on the subject later, but wanted to get this out in the meantime. School has been taking all of my attention; but this is school-related. Comments and criticism are welcome.
It’s a serious concern in any WCS; one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Eventually, I’ll get around to giving it a full essay. In the meantime, here are some thoughts. Hygiene is generally the first element of society to go in a disaster (right around the same time as civility). When the hand-washing goes, the runs set in. Without medical intervention, it can even kill, especially the very young and old. In developing countries, it is a common cause of death among children under five. Even in the US, 220,000 children per year are hospitalized for diarrhea (Porth, 2007).
The first key is fluid replacement. Pushing water is good; but electrolyte imbalance may result. Diminished sodium leads to an altered level of conscience, too little calcium to tetany, and potassium to fatigue, muscle weakness, and cardiac arrhythmia. One can keep all kinds of sports drinks around; but in a pinch, you can make your own:
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 tsp granulated sugar
1 quart water
flavoring (your choice)
While pushing this fluid and vitamin supplements, avoid solid foods for 24 hours. Then start small, frequent meals of soft foods (BRAT- bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). Avoid raw fruits and vegetables, fried foods, fiber, bran, condiments, spices, coffee, and alcohol. Add milk and dairy products last. Antacids, OTC analgesics, coffee, tea, and cola may exacerbate the problem (LeMone, & Burke, 2008) .
Treat the cause. Most diarrhea is self-limiting. Wash your hands frequently in a SHTF event (and any other time, really). Avoid contaminated or suspect food, drugs. Stay hydrated.
LeMone, P., & Burke, L. (2008). Medical-surgical nursing: critical thinking in client care. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Porth, C.M. (2007). Essentials of pathophysiology: concepts of altered health science. Philapelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
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