Category Archives: health

Food Storage Experiment: Will Old Beans Germinate?

Food Storage Experiment: Will Old Beans Germinate?

Written by Kylene in Food Storage,Home Production Approx Reading Time: 7 minutes

Correctly stored dry beans can remain edible for 25 to 30 years, but will they sprout? The ability to grow a new crop of dry beans from stored beans would substantially increase our self-reliance. We decided to conduct an experiment to see which of our old beans would sprout. 

Will old stored dry beans sprout and produce a new crop of beans? The germination rate of dry beans decreases significantly with age and is impacted by storage conditions. Our research study demonstrated that it is possible for 29-year-old beans to sprout, but the germination rate of newer beans is significantly higher.

In this post, we will share the results of our bean sprouting experiment. We took a random sampling of 23 different dry beans. Variables include variety, age, storage conditions, storage container, and sprouting method. The results proved to be quite interesting.

The idea behind this experiment originated from concerns expressed in comments on our YouTube channel. We conducted two research studies using dry beans from our own food storage to determine if old beans would soften up and become edible.

Tips for Sprouting Beans and Legumes

Ideally, you will want to select the best quality dry beans that are available. The germination rate will significantly increase with fresh beans.

This is our procedure for sprouting beans and legumes in jars:

  • Sort beans and remove broken beans or rocks.
  • Rinse beans well.
  • Place beans in a jar and cover with water a few inches above the beans. The beans will double or triple in size so leave room for expansion.
  • Soak for 8 to 12 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the soaking water and rinse.
  • Cover beans with a sprouting lid, cheesecloth, or material that will allow for good airflow.
  • Invert the jar at an angle that will allow for the liquid to drain out and still allow for air movement.
  • Rinse the beans 2 or 3 times each day until the sprouts are the desired size.

Sprouted beans can be eaten raw in a salad, sautéed, or cooked in a soup. They only last a few days and should be stored in the refrigerator.

Good beans and legumes for sprouting include lentils, chickpeas, white beans, black beans, mung beans, soybeans and adzuki. Pinto beans will sprout, but the success rate tends to be lower.

Kidney, lima, and broad beans must be cooked before eating. It is probably best not to sprout these for eating.

Old Stored Bean Germination Experiment

We designed this experiment with the best variety of dry bean samples available to us. Not all variables could be accounted for, but the results are valuable.

Dry Bean Samples

For this experiment, we collected 23 random samples of dried beans. They range in age from newly purchased to 29-years-old. Samples included black beans, pinto beans, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, pink beans, purple beans, and garden green beans.

Storage conditions ranged from the kitchen pantry to a basement storeroom to a bucket in a driveway. Optimal storage conditions for dry beans are in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark location. Some of our samples met that criteria, others did not come close.

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Experimental Design

Each of the bean samples were divided into 3 parts. A small bag containing the original beans was set aside and labeled for reference.

Jar Germination

One portion of each sample was placed in a pint mason jar and covered with a mesh fabric. The beans were rinsed and covered with water. The beans were soaked overnight and drained.

The jars of beans were placed at an angle to allow for good drainage and airflow. They were rinsed twice a day for 4 days.

Ziplock Bag Window Germination

Ten beans of each sample were placed in a labeled Ziplock bag along with a damp paper towel. The bags were taped to the inside of a south facing window and left alone for 4 days.

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Results Were Observed and Photo Documentation Created

The samples of the beans were compared, and the results documented. Information was placed on a spreadsheet and the results were carefully evaluated.

Successful Beans Planted

Beans that had demonstrated the ability to germinate were planted in moist potting soil in a warm room under grow lights.

In cases where only a few beans germinated, all of the beans were planted. Ten beans from highly successful samples were planted. A double row of 5 seeds each were planted.

Dry Bean Sprouting Experiment Results

Factors Contributing to Successful Germination

Clear trends emerged as we looked at the data. The following were our general observations:

  1. The age of the bean plays a role in sprouting success. In general (and as we would expect), the older the bean the lower the sprouting success.
  2. Some varieties of dry beans germinated better than others. The black beans seemed to have the best success rate even though one of the samples was quite old.
  3. Storage conditions over time make a significant difference in the viability of the beans. Beans that had been left exposed to significant fluctuations in temperature, stored in a warm environment, or exposed to sunlight had little to no successful germination.
  4. Window sprouting provided better results than jar sprouting in almost every case. This would indicate that the extra light or heat was a factor in germination.

See the summary spreadsheet below for additional details.

Failure to Thrive Post Germination

One interesting thing to note is that several of the beans showed evidence of sprouting but then failed to thrive once planted. Germination alone is not a clear indication of the ability to produce another generation of beans.

Some Old Beans Germinate, Others Do Not

We spent a couple of weeks researching whether old dry beans can be depended on to germinate. I am not confident that the rate of germination of older beans was high enough to produce a survival crop.

  1. Rotate your dried beans. Plan to use your stored beans regularly in your normal diet and replace them annually. Good rotation will ensure that you have a fresh supply of dried beans that will sprout when you need them.
  2. Package the dry beans appropriately to extend the quality shelf life.
  3. Store dry beans in a cool, dry, dark location.

Best Storage Conditions for Dry Beans

Dry beans store best in a cool, dry, dark location in air-tight reduced oxygen packaging. You can learn more about how to package dry beans for the longest shelf life in these articles.

How to Use Old Dry Beans

Will old storage beans and legumes germinate? Some will, while others will not. You can eat dry beans that are 25 to 30 years old if they have been stored appropriately. Soak them overnight in water with a little bit of baking soda and use a pressure cooker. You will have success every time.

Another option for old dry beans is to grind them into flour. You can make instant refried beans, use bean flour to thicken soups or sauces, or substitute up to a quarter of the flour in your favorite baked goods.

Just make sure that you use a grinder designed to grind beans and corn or you may damage your grain mill. I really like the NutriMill because it will grind grains, dry beans, and dry corn.

Add dry beans to your diet and store them with your basic food storage. They are a nutritional powerhouse and can be a great asset during challenging times.

Kylene

Kylene Jones is a blogger, content creator, published author, motivational speaker, homesteader, prepper, mother, and grandmother. She practices self-reliance, provident living, and emergency preparedness in her everyday life. She loves working with her husband, Jonathan, and is committed to helping our community be prepared to thrive during the challenges that lie in our future.

How To Use Witch Hazel 21 Different Ways

How To Use Witch Hazel 21 Different Ways

Linda Loosli

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on how to use Witch Hazel 21 different ways. I remember using this product years ago.  I am always looking for natural remedies, so I decided to do a little research on it. I was not aware that you could buy Witch Hazel in so many fragrances. Wow, how things have changed! We had clear and clear years ago. No fragrances. Period. Now I see so many fragrances like unscented, lavender, aloe vera, rose petal, lemon, peach and others as well. This post is an update from a few years ago.

Here’s the deal, I am suggesting these benefits based on my research. I am not a doctor, nurse or anyone in the medical field. I believe in natural healing, but I also have one fabulous doctor I see once a year. I rarely go to the doctor, but that’s just me because I rarely if ever get sick. I never get flu shots, oh my gosh did I just say that? Yes, I did. Please do what is right for you and we will all be happy with our own choices. Let’s leave it at that. Okay, let’s get started with some ways we can use Witch Hazel.

How To Use Witch Hazel:

Witch Hazel is an astringent, its made from witch hazel leaf extract, witch hazel bark and witch hazel water. Witch hazel is a plant used to make medicine. People use it for the following health benefits and other applications.

1. Gently cleans all types of skin.

2. Use after exposure to the sun or wind.

3. Rub some on after a shower or bath, the different scents are awesome.

4. Use it topically for pain.

5. I rub it on my itchy arms to help stop the itch.

6. It helps with swollen ankles-soothes the pain.

7. It soothes varicose veins.

8. Use it topically on minor burns.

9. Use it topically for hemorrhoids.

10. Use it topically for skin irritations.

11. Great for babies who are teething-rub on their little-swollen gums.

12. It helps fight infection on cuts or scrapes.

13. Lavender witch hazel is calming.

14. It’s a delicate soothing toner for the skin.

15. It’s an alternative to drying skin-helps tighten pores.

16. It beautifies the skin naturally.

17. Use after shaving to help protect your skin.

18. Soothes bug bites and bee stings.

19. Heals skin a little faster.

20. Soothes diaper rash

21. According to Web, M.D., you can use it for diarrhea Web, M.D.

I’m adding a few bottles to my first aid and natural remedy stash. I want to be able to heal my body,  and the body of those around me, if we did have some sort of unforeseen disaster or emergency. We need to take the time to learn how to heal our bodies naturally. Of course, we would go to the doctor if we felt the need….please do not take this the wrong way. I just feel like sometimes we need to be prepared to take care of ourselves if NO antibiotics are available. I hope that never happens, but my gut tells me it just might. I live on an earthquake fault. I need to be prepared for the unexpected. This means water, food, first aid supplies, temporary cooking devices, solar power devices, an emergency binder that holds our important documents, etc.

Please take a minute and look around your house and in your car and think about what you have in your possession, TODAY, right this minute that will make a difference. Not at some later time. Are you prepared with the necessary tools, first aid items (even fever reducing products), the typical items you need every day?  I guess I am just a nervous Nellie….if I get down to the last bottle of aspirin…..I go to the store and buy 5 or 6. It’s just who I am.

What about your gas tank? How full is it? How much cash do you have RIGHT now? Please let me know if you use Witch Hazel and how you use it. I love comments I can add to my list!

Readers Comments, how to use witch hazel:

Shannon: Hi Linda, I use a few ounces of witch hazel along with essential oils of Rosemary, Lavender, and Frankincense in a small spray bottle and spray my scalp after showering. It keeps the scalp refreshed and promotes hair growth and smells good! Not drying at all.
Thanks for all the tips, I love your blog!

Roxanne: I mixed some up, too! I used 10 drops each of the EOs in 1 oz. witch hazel: does that sound about right, Shannon?

Janet: I had the same problem until I stopped using regular shampoo. I make my own now, but something like Dr. Bonner’s would probably be good. Add a generous bit of water, to a small amount of soap in a container. It takes a while to get used to the consistency (like water). My hair has gotten really thick. I think it is the Sodium Laurel Sulfate in shampoo that causes the problem.

Honey – Nature’s Perfect Longer-Term Storage Food

Honey – Nature’s Perfect Longer-Term Storage Food

Written by Kylene in Food Storage Approx Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are frequently asked what the most important food items are to store. The most important foods to store for emergencies will vary from person to person depending on many factors. If I could only store a couple of items in my food storage, honey would be at the very top of my list.

Why is honey such an important food to include in food storage? Honey has valuable characteristics including:

  1. An indefinite shelf life
  2. Vitamins, minerals, and a variety of important nutrients
  3. Antibacterial and anti-fungal properties

Nutritional Value

Honey contains naturally flavored complex sugars as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids along with a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants.

Honey is an all-natural sweetener with 17 grams of carbohydrates and 64 calories per tablespoon.

Medicinal Properties

Raw unpasteurized honey has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is an effective tool to use as a salve in the treatment wounds and burns; healing infection, promoting new cell growth and reducing inflammation. It is an effective treatment for some ulcers.

Honey may be used to treat microbial infections, including those resistant to drugs such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).

Honey is effective in the treatment of sore throats and coughs. Our family doctor advised us that in studies he had recently read, honey was more effective at quieting coughs than over-the-counter cough medicine. Cough and sore throat symptoms can be treated with lemon and honey in hot water.

Local raw honey is effectively used to treat seasonal allergy symptoms and boost the overall immune system.

Shelf Life

Honey is an ideal longer-term food storage option and will remain in great condition indefinitely, when stored appropriately. According to National Geographic pots of honey were found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back over 3,000 years. Amazingly, after 3000 years the honey was still edible. The incredibly long shelf-life is attributed to hydrogen peroxide, acidity and lack of water.

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It is possible for honey to remain stable for decades or even centuries. That means that the honey I store has the potential to out-survive me. I would say that makes honey an optimal food storage item.

As honey ages, it may undergo physical and chemical changes which result in darker honey, a decline in aroma and flavor, and crystallization. Honey remains edible through the entire aging process.

The best results are achieved when honey is stored appropriately in quality, food-grade containers. Commercial, filtered liquid honey will last the longest in storage. But remember, raw honey has the highest levels of nutrition and medicinal properties.

Honey has an indefinite shelf life due to its natural resistance to microbial growth.

Warning

Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores which may cause infant botulism. Honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age. This is a rare, but serious disease which affects the nervous system. Adults and children over one year are not affected by the spores in honey.

Advantages in Baking

Honey may take up less storage space than other sugars. When substituting honey for granulated sugar in cooking you only need half of the amount. Honey has a high fructose content which gives it more sweetening power than granulated sugar.

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Honey is hygroscopic and attracts moisture to the bread or dessert, a valuable trait in baking. A little bit of honey can turn plain old stored wheat into a tasty meal.

Common Concerns

Crystallization is a natural process and does not affect the quality of the honey. Simply warm the honey and it will return to its original liquid form. Do not allow the honey to boil as it will change both color and flavor.

Methods to re-liquefy honey:

  • Place a jar of honey in large container of hot water until crystals have dissolved.
  • Place honey in an uncovered microwave-safe container and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until crystals dissolve.
  • Place a jar of honey in a warm place.

Honey is Heavy

One cup of honey weighs a whopping 12 ounces, which is 50 percent heavier than water. One gallon of honey weighs about 12 pounds. A 5-gallon bucket weighs 60 pounds, which makes it quite challenging to handle.

For most storage plans, we recommend storing honey in smaller containers.

Storage Containers

Glass containers do not react with honey to change or alter original quality. The honey we harvest from our bees is stored in pint or quart-sized canning jars. Dark or non-transparent containers protect honey from light. Lined, food-grade #10 cans can work for storing honey.

Do not remove oxygen. Honey is slightly acidic. It will cause rust in metal containers or on metal lids.

Honey is often purchased in thin plastic containers. While this may be fine for shorter term storage, some plastic is not ideal for longer-term storage of honey because plastic is permeable and may allow for the absorption of surrounding smells. The plastic will break down over time compromising the honey inside. https://04bbf4205152c2aeb4a139a3ef2ada3d.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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Food grade plastic buckets are an acceptable choice for storing honey. Be sure to store the buckets off of concrete and away from chemicals. A five-gallon bucket is not our first choice due to the weight of the bucket and difficulty in rotating. However, the trade-off is that buckets enable you to store a lot of honey in a small space.

Five-gallon metal cans are also used to store honey. We had one metal can of honey, which was 30-35 years old when we noticed that the honey began to eat a hole in the bottom seam of the can.

The small lid on the top made it challenging to use so it just sat in storage. We hauled it through seven moves and finally decided it was time to use it.

The honey had crystallized and turned quite dark. It had a deep, robust flavor which was delightful. The process to transfer they honey to smaller containers took several days as it had to be slowly heated and poured from the can.

We lost about three quarts in the process. We left the mostly empty can of honey out for our bees to clean up in an attempt not to let any go to waste.

Conclusion

Honey is a fantastic sweetener to include in your short-term, as well as your longer-term food storage. It is a healthier alternative to granulated sugar or corn syrup.

We recommend storing 60 pounds of honey per person for a one-year supply. The color and flavor of honey varies depending on the nectar source. Now go and experiment with the subtle flavor differences and stock up on this delightful food of the gods.

Kylene

Kylene Jones is a blogger, content creator, published author, motivational speaker, homesteader, prepper, mother, and grandmother. She practices self-reliance, provident living, and emergency preparedness in her everyday life. She loves working with her husband, Jonathan, and is committed to helping our community be prepared to thrive during the challenges that lie in our future.

Prepare Now to Survive a Pandemic

Prepare Now to Survive a Pandemic

Written by Kylene in Medical Prepping,Preparedness,Risk Approx Reading Time: 22 minutes

Pandemic is an exciting game where the players race against the clock to find a cure for any one of several virulent diseases before they get out of hand and destroy the human race. This game may be very thrilling when it is just an imaginary event but a real-life pandemic is a terrifying experience which results in horrific suffering, tragically high death tolls, and economic devastation.

History demonstrates that an outbreak of a devastating pandemic is unavoidable and statistically speaking we are overdue for an outbreak. What can you do to prepare to protect your family from the shattering effects of a pandemic? The best way to mitigate the effects of a pandemic is to be prepared to self-quarantine for an extended period of time. You need to stock food, water, medications, and supplies so you can survive without going to the store or anywhere else. Public utilities may be interrupted and you need a backup plan so you can live without electricity, natural gas, running water, and sewer.

Preparing to survive a pandemic may seem like an overwhelming task but you should do what you can to prepare. In this post, we will walk you through the steps that we recommend for surviving a pandemic.

What is a Pandemic?

A pandemic is a widespread epidemic of a contagious disease that affects a high percentage of the population over a large geographic area. It is extremely dangerous because it has the ability to be easily transmitted from one person to another. In our global society, an infectious disease could spread throughout the world in a matter of weeks.

Throughout history, pandemics (or sizable epidemics) have included influenza, smallpox, measles, cholera, leprosy, malaria, tuberculosis, typhus, and others. Let’s review some of these tragedies and the number of deaths they claimed.

  • The Hong Kong Flu claimed 1 million lives in 1968.
  • Asian Flu took 2 million lives from 1956-1958.
  • Spanish Flu of 1918 killed more than 50 million people.
  • Cholera spread killing over 800,000 individuals in 1910 and 1911.
  • The Russian flu of 1889 killed over a million people.
  • Cholera pandemic of 1852 took a million lives.
  • The Bubonic plague (1346-1353) is thought to have claimed as many as 200 million lives.
  • The Plague of Justinian was caused by the bubonic plague and killed 25 million between 541 and 542.
  • In 165 AD, the Antonine Plague killed over 5 million people.

We are blessed to have significantly better medical care than was available in the past. However, we also have more deadly strains of viruses evolving not to mention the threat of terrorists mutating and spreading deadly viruses to intentionally wipe out the population.

Pandemics are no longer contained by geographical boundaries and spread rapidly due to the global nature of our society. Breeding places include any place with a high concentration of people, such as doctor offices, emergency rooms, schools, large indoor gatherings, airports, churches, grocery stores, and other crowded locations.

What to Expect from a Pandemic

The sheer volume of critically sick and deceased people could result in overwhelmed hospitals, staffing shortages, and overwhelmed coroner and mortuary services. Infrastructures could be completely devastated due to personnel shortages resulting in disruption to transportation, commerce, public utilities (communications, water, gas, electricity, and sewage), emergency response services, and government in general.

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We would expect widespread food shortages and civil unrest.

A Pandemic Will Significantly Change Life

Preparing to deal with the effects of a pandemic involve much more than dealing with flu symptoms. It could drastically alter our way of life for a period of time.

According to Grattan Woodson, M.D. author of The Bird Flu Preparedness Planner: What it is. How it spreads. What you can do. 

“If you find it difficult to imagine what a pandemic flu would mean to you in the United States, picture the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and then multiply it by every state (and then, every continent). If pandemic flu hit North America, it would decimate every state, leaving death, destruction, and chaos in its wake; and, unlike during a hurricane, you couldn’t ride out its wrath hunkered down in your closet for a few hours, because a pandemic flu would last many months—perhaps a year or more.”

How the Flu is Spread

The flu may be transmitted if by breathing contaminated air or through direct contact with an infected person (i.e. shaking hands or touching a contaminated object like a doorknob or countertop). Depending on the virus, it may remain infectious on surfaces for up to 24 hours but some resilient viruses may remain infectious for up to 7 days.

Individuals may be contagious for days before exhibiting any symptoms. The only safe way to ensure that you do not contract the virus is to completely avoid people and anywhere that people have been.

Prepare to Self-Quarantine

The best offense is always a good defense. You will be much better off if you avoid getting sick in the first place. In the event of a serious outbreak of a highly contagious disease, your best course of action is to isolate yourself, and your family, from other people. This means not attending school, work, church, or other activities. In order to do this, you must have sufficient supplies (food, fuel, medication, money, etc.) on hand so that you can stay secluded. A single trip to the store could result in exposing your entire family to a deadly virus.

We always encourage working together as a community and helping neighbors. However, during a pandemic, you must exercise great caution. Helping neighbors can be accomplished by leaving food or supplies on their porch when no one is around. Do not risk your entire family by accidentally coming in contact with anyone.

If you work in a critical field (health care, utility company, emergency response, etc.), you may be required to stay at work, or in another location, to protect your family from exposure. What would you do? Where would you stay? Would it be possible to work remotely or to telecommute? Does your employer have a plan in place to prevent the spread of disease if you must go to work? Explore your options now and prepare accordingly.

Prepare to Be Completely Self-Sufficient

It is likely there will be a temporary breakdown in food delivery, electric, gas, and water services. Public order may break down due to widespread illness and death. Do you have the ability to be completely self-sufficient for a minimum of 3 to 6 months or possibly a year or more?

Think about mitigating the risk of a pandemic to your family by implementing the following strategies.

Stock Up on Supplies

It is possible that a pandemic may last for a year or more. Make sure that you have all of the basic necessities stocked in your home so that you can avoid going to the store for an entire year. Do not count on ordering anything online as it is likely that the supply network will be disrupted completely. Consider stocking up on the following items.

Personal Protection

It is a good idea to wear a mask while caring for a sick individual. However, the best way to prevent spreading germs is to have the infected patient wear a mask. Select a good quality mask that allows the patient plenty of air without struggling. If the patient is unable to wear a mask, provide lots of tissues and a wastebasket closeby for disposal. Used tissues are infectious waste and should be handled with great care.

Good hand washing is critically important to reduce the spread of illness. Teach and practice good handwashing skills. Make sure that you have a way to keep your hands clean even with limited water.  A handwashing station similar to the one in the photo is a good solution. Stock hand sanitizers for use when handwashing is not possible.

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Surgical masks, properly fitted N95 respirators, and disposable exam gloves are all important to have in your stash of supplies. We have a friend who has to wear a mask in public due to a serious illness. He prefers to wear the Cambridge Mask N99 Washable Military Grade Respirator when he goes out in public. It is a reusable mask that provides great protection as well as being much more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Medical Reference Materials

Purchase quality medical reference books to help you diagnose and treat illnesses when professional help is not available. I have purchased some of my reference materials new, but I keep an eye out for good reference books at second-hand stores and used book stores. Sometimes you can pick up great treasures at a fraction of the original cost. These are some books that you may want to add to your library.

  • Armageddon Medicine: How to Be Your Own Doctor … in 2012 and Beyond – An Instruction Manual — In this book Cynthia J. Koelker, MD covers symptoms and treatment of everything from burns to fractures to mental illness. This is one of my top picks in my personal prepper library.
  • Textbook of Family Medicine by Robert E. Rakel, M.D. and David P. Rakel, M.D.
  • The 5-Minute Pediatric Consult Standard Edition is a good resource if you have children.
  • Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy is the perfect illustrated resource for being able to diagnose rashes and skin conditions.
  • The Bird Flu Preparedness Planner: What it is. How it spreads. What you can do. by Grattan Woodson, M.D. is a very interesting read that specifically focuses on the bird flu. Dr. Woodson shares how the bird flu is spread, how to prevent transmission, and how to treat victims in this short paperback book.
  • Physicians’ Desk Reference is an authoritative source for prescription drugs used by medical personnel. It will help you understand the drugs used to treat conditions. Purchase an older version to save money.
  • PDR for Herbal Medicines by Thomas Flemming is the physicians’ desk reference for herbal remedies. This may be especially helpful to have when access to pharmaceuticals is limited.

Medical Equipment

Medical equipment is critical to accurately diagnose the problem and decide the best course of treatment for the patient. You may want to consider adding the following items to your arsenal.

  • Digital Thermometer to accurately monitor temperature.
  • Optic Otoscope for checking inside ears to rule out an ear infection.
  • Stethoscope for listening to the heart and lungs.
  • Blood pressure monitor to monitor blood pressure levels.
  • Blood glucose meter to check levels of glucose in the blood.
  • Pulse Oximeter to check oxygen levels in the blood and pulse rate.

Medications

It is important that you have all of the basic comfort medications that you may need on hand. The supply of medications may quickly disappear off store shelves, and even if the needed medications are available at a pharmacy, it will be a dangerous place to be with all of the sick people around.

Over-the-Counter Medications

It is easy to keep a stock of basic medications that you can pick up at most stores. They are relatively inexpensive but will make a big difference in treating a sick loved one.

  • Stock a supply of pain relievers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.) that are appropriate for members of your household. If you have young children, stock pain relievers designed specifically for them. Note that liquid medications have a shorter shelf life than pills.
  • Meclizine is a great over-the-counter medication to have on hand to control nausea and vomiting.
  • Cough and cold remedies
  • Throat drops
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Antibiotics for Secondary Infections

Death can occur from either the primary or a secondary infection such as bacterial pneumonia.  Cynthia Koelker, M.D. suggests good choices for secondary infections include:

  • Augmentin
  • Doxycycline
  • Ciprofloxacin

It is always best to use antibiotics under the direction of your medical provider. Talk to your family doctor and explain that you are preparing for a pandemic. Ask about the possibility of getting an antibiotic prescription as well as perhaps a script for an antiviral such as Tamiflu or Relenza to keep on hand. See what his or her recommendation is considering your personal medical history. Your doctor may be willing to write you the prescriptions you need to have these valuable medications on hand.

Supplements and Alternative Medicine

Do not overlook the power of alternative medicines and therapy when treating patients with the flu. You may be surprised at the difference that it can make. Consider stocking up on these.

  • Vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin supplements that help to strengthen the immune system and get you back on your feet quickly.
  • Herbal teas designed for especially for strengthen the immune system and helping to ease symptoms. Some herbs you may want to consider include; elderberry, lemon balm, eucalyptus, peppermint, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, catnip, chamomile, turmeric, and cloves. I prefer to serve the tea at room temperature or cool. It is much easier on the stomach than water.
  • Raw honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It does a fantastic job treating sore throats and coughs.
  • Consider alternative medicine techniques such as homeopathy, acupressure, essential oils, and energy therapy.

Hydration Supplies

The most critical treatment to make it through a severe case of the flu is to keep the patient well-hydrated. Dehydration is a common cause of death. Think about this. The majority of patients in the emergency room or inpatient in the hospital are given an IV to keep them hydrated. Cholera is largely survivable with enough fluids. Hydration saves lives.

Maintaining good hydration can be challenging when the patient has a hard time keeping anything down. Ideally, you want to avoid plain water, juices, or soda for rehydration. Plain water does not have the correct balance of sugar and salt to balance electrolytes. Juice contains a significant amount of sugar and can make diarrhea worse. Soda is water and sugar and is just the wrong concentration of salts and electrolytes.

It is best to rehydrate with a fluid designed for rehydration such as Pedialyte for young children, Gatorade, Powerade, or a homemade oral hydration solution (ORS).

Cythnia Koelker M.D. (AKA Doc Cindy), the author of Armageddon Medicine, How to Be Your Own Doctor in 2012 … and Beyond, recommends this recipe for rehydration solution:

  • 6 level teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 level teaspoon of salt
  • 5 cups (one liter) of clean drinking or cooled, boiled water

Doc Cindy also recommends tracking fluid loss and dehydration by taking daily weights of the sick person and replacing the fluid at a minimum of one pint of fluid per pound lost. IV fluid administration is not recommended for the layman, but you may want to consider hypodermoclysis. It is easier and can get as much as 3 liters of liquid into an adult per day. Check out ArmageddonMedicine.net to learn more about how to be your own doctor when there is no other choice.

Dr. Grattan Woodson, an author of The Bird Flu Planner, recommends an oral hydration solution using this recipe:

  • 4 cups of safe drinking water
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon of table salt

If the patient has become dehydrated due to diarrhea, Dr. Woodson suggests substituting the salt in the recipe with ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Diarrhea leads to loss of alkali.

Encourage the patient to drink every few minutes. Help them sip fluids through a straw. You may need to administer the rehydration solution orally drop by drop through a syringe if the patient is unable to drink on his or her own. Go slowly and be patient. Hydration is one of the most important things that you can to save the life of your loved one.

Stock a supply of clean drinking water, sugar, honey, salt, and baking soda to make a rehydration solution. You can purchase individual packets of oral rehydration solution powder here. I personally also stock sports drinks such as Powerade or Gatorade that I dilute and use to hydrate sick family members. A supply of oral syringes and bendable straws may help to administer the liquids to sick patients.

Sanitation Supplies

Stock toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, feminine hygiene supplies, baby wipes, garbage bags, hand sanitizers, soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and everything you may need to take care of your personal sanitation needs.

Disinfectants

It will be critically important to keep your home as germ-free as possible during a pandemic. Viruses can live on surfaces for an extended period of time. You will want to disinfect any surface that is touched, such as countertops, doorknobs, remote controls, gaming device handles, keyboards, phones, etc. Dishes should be soaked in a sanitizing solution (2 teaspoons of chlorine bleach or 5% stock solution) for 2 minutes after being washing. Let the sanitizing solution air dry on the dishes. Heated dry or sanitizing cycle on your dishwasher will also effectively disinfect dishes.

Chlorine bleach is a good disinfectant for surfaces and contaminated laundry. However, it has a 6-month shelf life that will not outlast the pandemic. We recommend storing calcium hypochlorite to disinfect water, surfaces, dishes, and laundry due to the long shelf life.

We cover the use and storage of several disinfectants in, Disasters Literally Stink: How to Tame the Stench. You may also want to consider storing commercial disinfectants such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray to quickly and effectively kill germs on surfaces.

This is a time when it is okay to get a little crazy about keeping things clean and germ-free.

Food Storage

It is a good idea to stock enough quality food in your home to last at least 1 year to prepare for a pandemic as well as a variety of other challenging events. We recommend storing at least 3-6 months of foods that you eat every day in your pantry.

In addition, you should stock 1 to 2 years of basic staples such as wheat, beans, rice, oats, pasta, sugar, and salt. Dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are an important way to supplement these basics.

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Grow Your Own Food

Incorporate fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and vines into your landscape. Plant a garden and become skilled at growing some of your own food. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be very important in order to obtain critical nutrition to keep your immune system healthy so it can fight off an invasion of nasty bugs.

Water

Public utilities may be interrupted due to a large number of employees who are either too sick to work or who have died. Store as much water as you can.

Battling the flu can result in large amounts of contaminated laundry. Be prepared to clean bedding and clothing without power or water.

Prepare to Live Without Electricity

Lack of a healthy workforce could possibly disrupt our power supply. Be prepared to live without electricity.

Cooking without Power

Cooking without electricity can be a fun adventure if you are prepared with the experience, tools, and fuel to make a delicious meal regardless of the status of the power grid. You can create an amazing feast using a backyard propane barbeque, Dutch oven, Kelly Kettle, solar cooker, or even over an open fire.

We strongly caution you to exercise great cooking indoors. There are only a few fuels that you can safely use indoors without producing deadly carbon monoxide. Check out our post, Safe Indoor Cooking Solutions, to learn how to safely cook indoors without electricity.

Staying Warm Without Electricity

The flu seems to be especially common during the long cold winter months when we are cooped up together behind closed doors. Be prepared to stay warm without electricity.

Prepare to Deal with Civil Unrest

A widespread pandemic will likely result in reduced law enforcement and increased civil unrest as people are desperate and unable to meet their basic needs.

Fortify Your Home

Make sure that your home is not an easy target for would-be thieves. Conduct a home security audit and challenge members of your family to break into your home, without actually “breaking” anything. That is a great way to find your vulnerabilities. Secure all entrances and exits to your home. Consider adding secondary locks and security doors. Strategically plant thorny bushes in vulnerable areas around your perimeter fence or under windows. Nothing is going to stop someone with a bulldozer from breaking down your front door. The goal is to make your home a more difficult target so that the intruder will choose to move on to an easier one.

Practice Operational Security

Do not advertise the supplies that you store in your home. The old saying, “loose lips sinks ships” applies to us now as well as in wartime. Friends and neighbors who learn of our prepping frequently comment that they know where to come when disaster strikes and plan to be knocking on our door. That is an occupational hazard that we can’t escape, but you can. No one needs to know the extent of your preps.

Prepare to Share

Be prepared to share what you can with those in need. It will be important not to come in contact with others and risk exposure to a deadly virus. That doesn’t mean that you can’t leave a package of toilet paper on your porch for a neighbor to pick up or drop a pot of hot soup and a loaf of bread off on a sick neighbor’s porch to provide much-needed nourishment to a sick household.

You will need to be very careful that you do not put yourself or your family at risk. We are Christians today and a pandemic does not change our obligation to care for the sick and the afflicted. In our post, Community-Your Best Chance of Survival the principle of a community also applies during a pandemic. Your odds of living through a serious influenza infection is significantly increased when you have someone who is willing to care for you. You will need to decide how to balance protecting yourself, and your family, from contracting a deadly illness and possibly saving the life of another.

Prepare to Defend Your Family

It may be necessary to defend your family due to the decrease in law enforcement and an increase in desperate people. You will need to seriously consider the best way for you to protect them.

In our family, we have chosen to make sure that each of our children is skilled in martial arts and understand how to use a variety of weapons. Our first and best option is always to avoid confrontation whenever possible. We would rather feed a desperate person than cause him any harm. However, we are prepared to defend our family with force if necessary.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle Today

Generally, a strong immune system will give you a better chance at fighting off illness. Strengthen your immune system. Eat healthy foods, exercise, get fresh air and sunshine, and be proactive with your medical care.

Where to Go From Here

We just passed the 100th anniversary of the tragic 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak that took the lives of over 50 million people. Reflecting on this heartbreaking event motivates me to want to be prepared to protect my family from a pandemic. You may not be able to accomplish everything on this list. Do the best you can in your individual circumstances. The more prepared you to limit your public exposure, the less your chance of contracting a deadly virus.

Kylene

Kylene Jones is a blogger, content creator, published author, motivational speaker, homesteader, prepper, mother, and grandmother. She practices self-reliance, provident living, and emergency preparedness in her everyday life. She loves working with her husband, Jonathan, and is committed to helping our community be prepared to thrive during the challenges that lie in our future.

30 Items You Need To Survive A Pandemic

30 Items You Need To Survive A Pandemic

Linda Loosli

I have 30 items you need to survive a pandemic today. This is just a small list to get you started. I wrote a post about this several years ago and I’m updating that article. My book: Prepare Your Family For Survival

Flu season is right around the corner or it’s hit your community already, and who knows what else may pop up in our community to make us sick this year or next. Please refer to the CDC for accurate information on COVID-19 or any viruses/illnesses.

Below is a list of 30 pandemic essentials to start with that I feel we need in our emergency buckets, boxes, or containers. Here’s the deal we all keep hearing about the different strains of Influenza Stats or MRSA.Chocolate Truffles×

Pandemic Flu Outbreak

Let me explain what I call a Pandemic Flu Outbreak. A Pandemic Flu is a virulent human flu that will cause a global outbreak or pandemic of a very serious illness.

Right now there is currently no pandemic flu but because our bodies might have very little immunity to a HUGE outbreak the disease can spread easily from person to person.

In other words, a pandemic is a global disease. It’s when influenza emerges and begins to cause serious illness. It passes from person to person and then spreads worldwide.

In the last century, three Influenza Pandemics occurred, 1918-19, 1957-58 and 1968-69. Many scientists believe it is a matter of time before another influenza pandemic occurs.

This is why I feel so strongly about having a Pandemic Essentials bucket. I know we all have first aid kits. When was the last time we looked to see if we have current items in our cabinets?

Are we missing some badly needed Motrin or Tylenol for us as adults and our kids? What are the dates on the medicine containers?

How many alternative home remedies are we prepared to make or use? These 30 pandemic essentials are the bare minimum needed. Please note I am not a doctor, nurse or anyone in the medical field.

I just want to be prepared if the stores are closed or I don’t want to go out in public if a major outbreak occurs.

Survive A PandemicSurvive a Pandemic

1. Face Masks

(N-95’s) to help stop the dust from an earthquake or infections spreading from sneezing (I store 100’s of these).

2. Diapers (cloth)

They can be used for many things. Cleaning, babies, stop the bleeding from cuts, wash or dry dishes…add a scarf for your head as well.

3. OTC Medications

Cough medicine, fever medications, ****prescriptions as required (stock up on 90 day supply if possible) see below by PrepNow, Hydrogen Peroxide and rubbing alcohol, Vicks VapoRub Vicks VapoRub

Don’t forget eye solutions or pain remedies for your teeth.

4. Portable Radio

Hopefully you have a crank one or some way to power it to hear what is going on locally if you lose power.

5. Flashlights or Lanterns

With extra batteries, or a solar flashlight is even better with a crank as well. My favorite is the Goal Zero flashlight:

6. Manual Can Opener

This is a must-have for every kit. You might need to open other’s food storage cans as well as your own.

7. Garbage Bags and Kitchen Size Bags

These can be used for trash, body bags if need be, potty chairs, etc. Plus bags for people who may vomit. I like these bags because they are 10-gallon size bags with a quantity of 500.

8. Canned Juices (bag/cartons)

I put 100% juice in this container-ten pouches. I am sure it has some sugar, I still need it in my bucket.

9. Fluids with Electrolytes

I can also make my own electrolyte solution that is very similar, but I want one large bottle ready to serve. DRIP DROP

10. Anti-Diarrhea Medicine

Diarrhea can kill if the person gets too dehydrated. I always look at a child’s lips. If they are dry and shiny red or cracked they need water ASAP Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief.

11. Paper Towels

I only put 4 rolls of paper towels in the bucket, of course, we can use more, but this bucket is just an emergency grab container.https://a34fe4df5bd094e6a340e43222c25930.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

12. Toilet Paper

This is a must-have in my 30 Pandemic Essentials list! LOL! You can never have too much toilet paper.

13. Thermometer

I put this in the bucket, but really, if someone is that sick we can usually tell if they have a fever. It’s when the fever gets over 104 degrees in the morning that things become so critical.

Typically fevers are always higher in the afternoon. I get worried if the child wakes up with a fever in the morning..its just me. If I can’t break a fever I will worry. If I can break a fever I feel the fever is a good thing and shows the body is fighting the virus naturally.

Remember, I’m not a doctor, I’m a mother and grandma, we have a mother’s intuition. If the child is lethargic we know what to do, but if we have zero access to a doctor or antibiotics I want to be able to think through what I must do to help someone until professional help arrives.

14. Canned Baby Formula

You will some bottles ready to serve if needed-I feel I must put some baby formula in my bucket. I don’t have any babies around me, but if I had to feed a newborn baby I will have something hopefully that is nourishing to a baby.

15. Pet Food

Dog food-yep, I am thinking about my beloved Shih-Tzu, Bailey and now Izzy as well.. If you have pets, at least the small pets you can take with you, add some cans of food for them in your bucket.

16. Soap and Anti-Bacterial Soap

I am constantly washing my hands. I know this is one more way we can not only keep hands clean but also slow down the spread of infection, wash hands, wash hands, and wash hands.

17. Paper Goods

Cups-lots of cups-I decided on some small 4-ounce size cups because I can put 100 in a small area of the bucket-this means I will have 100 cups for whatever or whoever needs them.

18. Disposable Rubber Gloves

You can never have too many disposable gloves, latex free is even better when you decide to buy some to add to your stash.

19. Bleach

Okay I have to say I need bleach. I know some people are against bleach, but I will use it to help clean up the sewage backup overflow or whatever I need to kill bacteria. Pool shock works well too (very concentrated-be careful).

20. Clear Plastic Sheeting (4mil)

100 feet for setting up an isolation room. One reader mentioned about adding Mosquito netting (folds up very small) to the bucket.

21. Duct Tape

Oh my gosh, just start talking about Duct Tape, it has a million ways we can use it. That’s the link where I share 25 ways to use duct tape.

22. Borax

Great for toilet provisions-it helps clean the potty chair but also put a little in the bottom of the portable toilet to help control the odor.

23. Clothesline Rope and Clothes Pins

We might have a washing/rinsing bucket, but we might need to hang up some wet clothes to dry. Please think about how you will hang up your wet clothes. Have you found a clothesline you like? Clotheline for Emergencies. These are my favorite clothespins in case you need some. Kevin’s Clothespins

24. Laundry Soap

Ready to use for dirty underwear. At the very least we can wear shirts and short or pants several times, but it would be nice to have clean underwear.

25. Dawn Dish Soap

This is my favorite liquid soap. It might cost a bit more, but the few cents is totally worth the grease this stuff can clean. One of my readers mentioned using Dawn Soap in baggies with a little water to clean underwear, rinse and dry them. Plus she uses Dawn Liquid Soap to wash her hair!

26. Kitty Litter

Great for potty chairs (also a reader mentioned you can get “oil dry” much cheaper at automotive stores).

27. Water Filters and Purification Devices

I use the LifeStraw and the Berkey Sports Water Bottle for filtering water.

28. Water Containers

Collection, storage, and carrying containers-never throw out a bucket. You can never have too many buckets for washing, rinsing or mixing large batches of meals for your neighborhood (food containers only for meal preparation). My favorite 5-year Water Preserver

29. Water

LOTS of water in WaterBricks with handles to grab and go, cases of bottled water. Store as much water as you can afford the containers to store the water. My favorite water for long-term is BlueCans. The cheapest place to buy these is Brownells’s.

30. Food

Minimum 2 weeks of food for everyone in your family. Here’s the deal, I filled this huge blue bucket/container with everything shown above EXCEPT the 2 weeks worth of food, the kitty litter, and the water we will need.

I am sure all the states have a website you can view regarding how they are prepared for a Pandemic Outbreak should one occur.

Please remember, I am not a doctor or someone in the medical field. I just want to be prepared for the unexpected. Be sure and watch the Center for Disease Control updates.

Stock Your Home Pharmacy

  • Electrolyte Drip Drop
  • Cough Lozenges
  • Imodium
  • Aspirin
  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Vicks VapoRub
  • Bag Balm
  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tooth Brushes and Toothpaste
  • Orajel
  • Benadryl
  • Advil
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Survival Medical HandBook
  • Non-latex Gloves
  • Antibacterial Soap
  • Bars of Soap
  • Emergen-C
  • Lip Balm
  • Nasal Spray
  • Vitamins
  • Essential Oils
  • Allergy Medications
  • Infant Fever Reducer Medications
  • Child Fever Reducer Medications

Final Word

These are just 30 Pandemic Essentials to get you started, it”s one more step to being prepared for an unforeseen emergency or disaster. This is part one of my pandemic preparedness project. I’ll be providing additional information in the days to come. And please remember you always need matches or a way to start a fire. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Hospital Depositphotos_16885437_s-2019