• A Doctor's View of TEOTWAWKI

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    Dear Mr. Rawles,

    I am a physician
    in Iowa and have read SurvivalBlog and many books related to survival
    including yours. In general there are many good thoughts and insights
    in the Blog. History predicts the future and some facts of history
    seem to have been overlooked by many survivalists. Many predict
    that in a long term situation, those left would be in an 1880s situation.

    In Iowa, most
    counties had a peak population in the 1880 census. Most counties
    in Iowa have lost population every census since then (1940 was generally
    flat) this means that the land could support more people if individuals
    and society were prepared. Furthermore, if society were to collapse
    there would be trillions of calories of food in dent corn, soybeans
    and livestock which farmers would gladly exchange for anything useful.
    This would help bridge the gap in food production. This situation
    is common throughout the midwest. I would argue that west of the
    Mississippi is just as good as west of the Missouri River. Iowa
    does not have any very large cities and there are limited bridges
    over the Mississippi. Note what happened over the Mississippi River
    Bridge after Katrina where local law enforcement prevented refugees
    from crossing the river.

    Many point
    out that in the north, if TEOTWAWKI
    were to happen in the winter, most would freeze, not starve. This
    is probably fairly certain outcome. Economic panics seem to develop
    in the Fall, meaning the winter would be a fairly likely time for
    an economic collapse to occur. Preparing to heat your house or remote
    location without power is fairly easy. This would limit the Golden
    Horde
    as many would freeze in place and limit the distance traveled
    of those that do leave. This would lower the effective population
    density of the north.

    A study of
    the history of medicine came to a conclusion that it was not until
    the 1930s in which a person was probably helped more than harmed
    by seeing a physician. Antibiotics were the main reason for this.
    Other studies indicate that plumbers have saved more people than
    physicians by improving sanitation. I am not certain about the second
    statement but the point is valid. Sanitation needs to be a prime
    concern, mostly with respect to clean water. Prevention of a disease
    is better than treating it. Infections could be treated fairly well
    with a few antibiotics which have a long shelf life. Most human
    to human only infections are viruses and since nearly everyone is
    now vaccinated to most of these, and travel would be limited, these
    should not be a big problem for many years post TEOTWAWKI.

    Most bacteria
    are not specific to humans and antibiotics would be worth their
    weight in gold. Although any antibiotic would be valuable post TEOTWAWKI,
    Doxycycline should be included in any pharmacy. It would be effective
    against tick borne infections as well as Brucellosis from infected
    meat and milk, chlamydia and malaria. Some of these are bacteria
    that are inside the host cells and other antibiotics would not be
    helpful and the bodies immune system is not good at fighting them.
    I relearned this by an infection that I received while backpacking
    for three days. I am normally very careful to check for ticks every
    evening after being outside. But while backpacking, this was not
    done as I was tired and did not remove all my clothing. After returning
    to civilization I noticed a lesion that ultimately turned out after
    becoming very ill to be Tularemia (this was in Wyoming). There are
    several more common similar diseases Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain
    Spotted fever being the most common. As people would be outside
    more and personal hygiene would suffer these infections would be
    common. These infections become chronic or fatal. Most other infections
    would be fought successfully by your immune system, an appropriate
    antibiotic would be helpful but often not needed. I do not have
    great advice as to how stockpile antibiotics. Physicians would probably
    be more comfortable giving these as prescriptions than narcotic
    pain killers. I do not know anything about veterinary medications.
    Although narcotics may be nice and valuable post TEOTWAWKI, they
    are unlikely to be life saving.

    One pain killer
    that would be very life saving post TEOTWAWKI and has a long shelf
    life is aspirin. This should be the first stocked drug. If you have
    a heart attack and you take an aspirin you cut the risk of dying
    in half. Do not take it if bleeding is an issue so after in injury
    it may not be a good option.

    If you really
    think that narcotics are important, remember that opium, the mother
    of all narcotics was and still is made from poppies grown in temperate
    climates. I do not know what is legal but you can by poppy seeds
    to eat or plant. In case you do not take my advice and buy aspirin
    when it is cheap and legal, you can try making it from willow bark.

    Read
    the rest of the article

    December
    17, 2010

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