The Dangers Of Food Poisoning

So it’s been a tough week here at the Butch household.  We had a pretty bad stomach virus whip though the family affecting all of us one by one, and it was not a happy time.  However, while spending time in the fetal position gripping by stomach, I tried to look on the bright side…

That is to say I tried to learn from what we were going through and to plan for the future when we might be in a similar situation.  In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that having these types of symptoms was more than a little likely in many disaster scenarios.

Take for example just about any hurricane or earthquake event in the US.  Reservoirs can be polluted, underground pipes can be compromised, and very quickly many people’s drinking water can become unsafe.  Now, many of us who Prep are very aware of situations like this and we are ready and able to purify drinking water and to take the necessary precautions for water we use for cooking and everyday use.  Of course there is still a higher likelihood of cross-contamtination and that one or more family members will become sick due to unclean water following a disaster.

So, the situation I was in over the last few days was probably not unlike what many families would face in the the aftermath of a minor disaster.  Contaminated water, or food that has gone too long without refrigeration, causes stomach problems; cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, etc… and there you go, you’ve got a problem on your hands beyond just the basics that the hurricane or earthquake have caused.

Dealing with these illnesses  in a perfectly normal non-disaster situation is difficult enough.  I had access to doctors who were in their offices and on duty (something you may not find post-disaster), a fully functioning supermarket with stocked pharmacy, and all the usual comforts of home that we generally expect.

Now imagine that this were not the case, that these services were not all readily available, and this illness had hit us post-disaster and was the result of a tainted water supply that we had failed to adequately purify, or something similar that is not at all outside the realm of possibility.   What would we do in this situation?  Are you yourself prepared for this type of illness that could be all too common?

While we have talked at length here about stocking up on food and medical supplies I’m not sure we’ve ever focused in on the most basic, most debilitating, and most likely illness which is food poisoning/water born illness/intestinal distress.  It’s a fact that 50% of the hospital beds in the world are occupied by people who have been affected by some type of water born illness.  Clean water is a key to survival.

I can tell you from recent experience that some of the most important things to have on hand are often not on the short list of survival items.  I found that the most important item in the short term was powdered gatorade drink mix.  This mixed with clean pure water can very quickly rehydrate a child that has been hit with vomiting and diarrhea.  It’s pretty tough to exactly replicate the concoction of salt, sugar, and electrolytes that gatorade contains and it can really be a lifesaver.  I recommend stocking up on a can of powdered gatorade for emergencies.  If you can purify some water as a base and mix this in it could be game changing for you and your family.

I also found that chicken broth was a wonderful thing to have around.  As the kids (as well as myself) began to feel better there was nothing anyone wanted more than some basic soup to sip on.  A base of chicken broth with just about anything thrown in (rice, beans, pasta) makes a simple, comforting, and easy to digest meal.  It was a staple for the last few days as we were all recovering.

So, in summation, I’d like to say that while we had a rough go of it the past week or so in the Butch household, I think we all learned a thing or two.  And, that when times get tough you need to have the basics on hand (a way to rehydrate) and that you need to expect that these types of things will happen more often when there is a disruption in the usual services we all take for granted.  If the water source is at all compromised many people are going to get sick.  Being prepared for this, whether it affects your family or someone close to you, is just good Prepping.

~Butch

4 Responses to The Dangers Of Food Poisoning

  1. Some helpful pages from the CDC:
    Be Food Safe
    and
    Staphylococcal Food Poisoning

    Sorry to hear about your family’s illnesses, Butch. I hope everyone is doing better.

  2. Learning how to make a simple oral rehydration solution may help too. As fluids (and food) exit the body electrolytes are lost and need replaced. Of course, you could also keep something like Gatorade around too.

  3. Great article! Hope you’re feeling better

  4. Bouillon cubes. Multiple uses including making the aforementioned broth.