In this part of my guide we’ll go over some basic health issues and medical treatment after the apocalypse.
Besides being eaten by zombies, you’ll have many other issues to worry about. The basics of keeping yourself healthy still apply, even after zombies are everywhere. You’ll still need to try to eat right and enough, keep hydrated, stay clean and avoid injury.
Chances are that you will get injured or sick after the apocalypse, so what do you do then? If you have a doctor of some kind in your group, you’re in luck. Not everyone will be so lucky though, so you’ll be your own doctor. If you have a good first aid kit, that’s excellent too. This guide assumes that you are all on your own and will need to scavenge for medical supplies. Worst case scenario, you are injured or sick with no doctor and no first aid kit. I’ve been in that situation, it sucks.
For broken bones, you’ll need to set them properly and splint them. Setting a broken bone is extraordinarily painful so I can only hope that you have assistance. You will need to pull or push the broken parts back into the place where they go. If it’s a clean break and the two sections aren’t separated, count yourself lucky. A splint can be easily made from belts or any cloth that doesn’t flex much. You’ll also need two sticks, pipes or something similar. The point of splinting is to immobilize the break so that it can heal straight. A break that doesn’t heal right could mean that you are crippled for good. For broken ribs, your best bet is using surgical or duct tape to attempt to immobilize the break.
For cuts, you’ll need to clean, bandage, and maintain pressure on the injury until it stops bleeding. Use something like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean your cuts. You don’t need the alcohol that you’re used to seeing at the drug store, any high proof liquor will do. I have used strong (and cheap) vodka to clean cuts. For bandages, you need something clean that will absorb blood. I have found that a cut up old t-shirt works splendidly. Emphasis on CLEAN. A cut that isn’t cleaned will become infected and possibly lead to gangrene, which means you will be minus a limb. You can use honey as an antibacterial to help prevent infection. Just smear a little onto the cut or scrape.
For burns, get them in cool or cold water, but NEVER use ice to cool a burn. Ice will actually make the burn worse, not to mention being very painful. Cover the burn with something that breathes and keep it clean. First and second degree burns will heal all on their own as long as you keep them clean and dry. Another thing useful for burns is aloe. Many people grow them as decorative plants, they look something like a cactus. You apply some aloe to the burn and cover it with cloth.
Now, all of these injuries are going to hurt. So what do you do to deal with the pain? For one thing, aspirin is easy to come by and does NOT expire. It might crumble into dust but it doesn’t spoil. If you happen to live near willow trees, chew on a small strip or two of the bark. Aspirin comes from willow bark.
Cloves can also be used for pain. Crush a few cloves up, mix with water until it’s a paste and apply. Then just cover it up and keep it moist. Cloves are a natural anesthetic.
Another of nature’s pain killers is burdock. It can be used as a soak or a poultice. Best for bruises or joint pain.
To avoid sickness, keep your self clean and try to include some or all of these foods into your diet:
Garlic – grows easily in nearly any climate. Excellent for your immune system.
Cayenne (Red) pepper – Also grows easily. Overall good for dealing with and avoiding sickness.
Chickweed – grows in nearly any climate. High in Vitamin C.
Oranges – I almost didn’t bother to mention them, but they are high in vitamin C, which helps your immune system.
I think that covers a lot of the basics for health and medicine after an apocalypse. I will expand upon this later with articles about natural cures, useful plants that are easy to find, as well as more advanced improvisational medicine.
Stay tuned and good luck fellow survivor!