As explained by Sandy Hoffman from SurvivalDan101.com, a total collapse – meaning no more clean water, electricity, or other human creature comforts – will result in diseases that many people believe have long been eradicated suddenly making a dramatic comeback. And the even worse news is that there's really nothing that anyone will be able to do to stop it.
Without working purification systems in place to keep the water flowing from our taps clean, deadly pathogens will quickly make a home there. Think cholera, dysentery, and typhoid in the bacterial department; giardia and cryptosporidiosis in the protozoan department; schistosomiasis in the parasite department; and polio and hepatitis A in the virus department.
Not only this, but a lack of clean water will also cause food crops to suffer. Not only will there not be anything safe to give these plants for hydration, but any water that runs down from nearby mountains or streams affected by the fallout will also likely be contaminated – leaving nothing safe or clean to eat.
"To prevent illness, use only purified water for food preparation, cooking, and washing dishes," warns Hoffman as she discusses options like boiling, distilling, and even treating unsafe water with bleach in order to make it at least a little bit safer than it otherwise would be for drinking or other uses in the kitchen.
"Carefully wash all produce. Cook all foods thoroughly. Enforce rigid hygiene practices for all food handlers. Practice strict observance of all guidelines for home canning. Don't permit strangers to prepare your food. And don't save leftovers – practice cooking what will be eaten in one meal."
On this same front, keeping an eye out for pesky mosquitoes and other biting insects that carry disease is also critical. Mosquitoes are already known to carry things like malaria and yellow fever in the third world – and in a post-apocalyptic situation, everywhere is going to be the third world.
"The most serious diseases spread by mosquitoes in North America at this time are western equine encephalitis and eastern equine encephalitis," says Hoffman.
"However, in a grid-down situation, where municipalities are no longer actively combating mosquitoes and when filters and chemicals for backyard swimming pools are no longer being used, the mosquito population will increase astronomically – as will the number of diseases and cases."
Bugs and dirty water alone are enough to suggest that the biggest threat after a societal meltdown won't necessarily be violence from other humans, but rather violence from the tiny critters that will be hiding in food, H2O, and insect swarms that will be very difficult to avoid when things hit the fan.
"The incidence of malaria and yellow fever will definitely surge, as also will in all likelihood cases of zika, chikungunya, and dengue," Hoffman further warns.
"To reduce chances for mosquito bites, wear clothing that fully covers the skin, eliminate open sources of water, utilize window screens and mosquito netting where possible, and apply mosquito repellents to exposed skin."
Be sure to read Hoffman's full report on how best to prepare for a meltdown situation that involves infectious disease at this link.
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