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Archive for December, 2016

What is Scurvy and How to Avoid the Disease

What is Scurvy and How to Avoid the Disease

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Cause of Scurvy
The cause of scurvy is traced back to a chronic deficiency of vitamin C.  Unfortunately, our bodies do not make vitamin C, nor does the body store it in large quantities.  A prolonged lack of nutrition, primarily from fruits and vegetables, causes our bodies to begin to break down.  Vitamin C is essential for boosting our immune system, promoting bone, joint, muscle and tissue health along with regulating our cardiovascular system.  Scurvy used to be common among sailors who would go months on end without eating healthy foods while out at sea.  The poor were also particularly susceptible to developing scurvy due to a lack of access to healthy foods as well.

Early Symptoms
Symptoms generally represent common ailments that are not always immediately linked to a vitamin C deficiency.  These include fatigue, irritability, feeling a bit “off”, a loss of appetite, joint or muscle pain,  diarrhea, nausea and even bleeding from hair follicles.  It’s important to know that you don’t need to have all of these symptoms in order to be impacted by vitamin C deficiency, and their onset may occur slowly over the course of months or even years.

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Later Symptoms
Gums will begin to swell, discolor and start to bleed easily.  Teeth may become loose, discolored and rotten before falling out.  Hair can become dry, curl up and break off near the skin.  Skin may become dry, scaly and turn a brown color.  Bleeding inside the skin due to the deterioration of the tissue can cause easy and noticeable bruising.  Wounds may be difficult to heal and old scars can reopen and start to bleed.  Severe muscle and joint pain as well as the swelling of joints as blood pools into crevices is also common in more advanced stages of the disease.

Scurvy can also lead to bone decay as well as stunting bone growth.  It can impact the cardiovascular system, hardening arteries, destroying capillaries and elevating blood pressure while reducing the strength of the heart muscle.  Anemia can also develop.  The swelling of the extremities due to water building up in tissues and congestive heart failure can also occur.   Severe forms of the disease can lead to mental impairment and death from cardiac arrest.

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Treatment
Treatment depends on the severity of the disease and the extent of secondary complications that have developed.  The first course of action is to replenish the body with vitamin C.  This can include taking supplements, improving diet and also IV infusion.  This alone can produce remarkable improvements.  However, people who have advanced stages of the disease may need more specific and supportive care.  Only a doctor will be able to determine an appropriate treatment plan after testing is completed to gauge the extent of the problem.

The good news is that this disease is almost entirely avoidable.  However, it doesn’t take a lot to starve the body of vitamin C and initiate the slow onset of symptoms.  Make sure that you consume appropriate amounts of vitamin C, especially if you drink alcohol or smoke, eat fruits and vegetables every day and ensure that you stock up on supplements in your bug out bag, survival kit or stockpile.
This is one disease that you don’t want to contend with when the SHTF and medical options may be limited or unavailable altogether.

 

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Factors That Influence Choosing the Best Shoes and Boots

Factors That Influence Choosing the Best Shoes and Boots

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Shoes

Good sneakers can provide fantastic support for the feet, which can dramatically enhance comfort and extend the amount of distance that can be traveled. However, they are generally not designed to withstand prolonged exposure to rugged or uneven terrain. All it takes is a couple of missteps to create gashes and cracks which can weaken the integrity of the shoe as well as allow the penetration of water, dirt or mud.

Shoes should be worn in situations where you will be doing the majority of walking on concrete, grass or well-kept trails. The can also be useful when crossing rivers and streams because they are lightweight and easy to dry. However, keep in mind that they provide minimal protection for the feet, and they can wear down very easily.

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Boots

Boots are designed to be rugged and long lasting, and most can easily be treated with chemicals to make them water resistant. However, they also take time to form to the contours of the feet and don’t provide a lot of ventilation. This can lead to irritation and the formation of blisters that can cause a lot of inconvenience while bugging out or hiking to safety. Boots also tend to be very heavy and can cause pain in the lower legs after prolonged hiking. They also tend to take a long time to dry if they become thoroughly soaked.

In all reality, it is good if you have both options on hand in order to cover your bases. The ultimate goal is to have sturdy footwear that will get you from point A to point B with minimal difficulty and wear and tear. However, there are some things to consider as you are choosing the best options for your particular needs.

The treads need to be durable and able to hold up to a lot of intense use. Shoes tend to be designed to wear relatively quickly, and the risk of slippage increases as soles begin to fade. The soles on poorly-made boots can crack, rip off and seals can separate from the walls. Stitching around lace holes should be abundant and durable, and you should also check to see how well the soles adhere to the rest of the body of the footwear as well.

You should make sure that you are choosing durable and well-made footwear to use on most surfaces that you expect to encounter in your travels. This may sound like a common-sense suggestion, but footwear is something that often gets overlooked until it is too late. Make sure to take time to explore different brands and designs before settling on one pair or another. The last thing that you need is to have problems with your footwear when you don’t have a chance to try on a different pair during a crisis.

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