Ok so there are two really important things that keep the body alive above all else – air going in and out and blood going round and round – stop one of these functions working properly and you will hit snags,
In this article, I’m just going to look at one aspect of this, that can really cause serious problems in SHTF situations, that of dehydration. I’ll steer clear of blood loss for another time!
As you may know, our bodies are made of mostly water – some 70 – 80% depending on which physiology textbook you read, so anything that reduces the normal optimum amount will need to be replaced to keep things ok.
Now we normally do this by drinking fluids, but if the body loses this fluid quicker than it gets replaced, this is called dehydration and this is where you start to get problems.
Start thinking of the 3-day rule of surviving without water, and this moves you closer to your meeting the grim reaper a tad earlier than expected.
Here are a few of the common causes:
Heat – Now you know you sweat when its hot right? So if you are working hard in heat you need to take in more fluids than you normally would, as you are losing more fluid through sweat. You will also use more fluid if you are exerting yourself when it’s cold too.
This is easy to keep on top of – drink more water!
Illness – If you have a fever, then you will also need to keep your fluid intake up too.
One form of illness that can be the biggest killer in survival situations due to its dehydrating effect is the trots, the runs, diarrhoea, THE SHITS!
It can be caused by anything from poor hygiene – hand washing particularly – contaminated water, food poisoning to name a few.
It’s particularly bad here because it can rapidly dehydrate you when you are already in a difficult situation. It can also be easily spread to other members of your family with the same devastating consequences.
Easy one – the color of your urine, light straw color and its pretty all right, getting to be the color of dark apple juice or orange – warning, drink more fluid now.
At this point, things are easily fixed by drinking more, however, if you can’t drink for whatever reason, things will rapidly move downhill for you from herein.
The World health Organization (WHO) has devised a simple rehydration formula that can be used in these situations.
It’s to help put back some of the minerals and salts that the body loses in situations of dehydration, particularly diarrhoea.
The Mayo Clinic also has a formulation for emergency situations where a pre-formulated solution isn’t available.
Get it all mixed up until the salt and sugar is dissolved.
Best to give it in small amounts so you don’t vomit.
1 quart of water, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Sip it in small amounts frequently until you are fully recovered.
Now if your are looking after someone and they are in a pretty bad situation, not able to drink or unconscious then in an ideal situation, getting an IV in and a drip would be good.
However, you can administer fluid rectally.
It’s going to be difficult if the person is still having bouts of diarrhoea but fluid is very quickly absorbed into the mucous membrane in the anus and lower colon.
In fact some medications are administered this way so it’s nothing new here. A soft tube lubricated with Vaseline or KY inserted and small doses of fluid (200ml) every 4 hours, maximum 1000 Ml over a 24 hour period.
It’s always best if you can do what you can to prevent dehydration, sometimes it can’t be avoided as the result of illness, so it’s really important to do your best to minimize the risk, particularly from contaminated water.
Keep an eye on your intake and drink more if you need to before you get thirsty.
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