Storing food is an essential part of any SHTF plan and food safety should be one of your top priorities.
There are a number of factors, from bacteria and viruses to rodents and other pests that could contaminate your food supplies. Food poisoning is bad enough already, but in a crisis situation, it can be fatal. With limited access to hospitals and professional medical care, being able to recognize and treat food poisoning might be an invaluable skill.
By being able to distinguish between the various types of food poisoning and telling them apart from other diseases with similar symptoms, will definitely improve your survival odds. It is important to know how contamination or diseases spread since some of them require quarantine.
Having over half of the poisoning cases reported annually caused by Norovirus, makes it the most common cause of food poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, chills, headaches, low-grade fever, muscle aches and fatigue. It is generally a result of poor hygiene and improper food handling.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. There isn’t really a treatment for it, as the body’s immune system will be able to overcome it. It will take a couple of days of rest and intense hydration, but you should be fine. In general Norovirus infections will not result in death, however it could happen.
In order to contain it, make sure to wash hands and cooking areas thoroughly. Anybody that gets it shouldn’t prepare food for at least 3 days after symptoms subside and everything they come in contact with should be cleaned or discarded. Since the virus can survive extreme heat, you’d best use bleach to sanitize properly. Wash fruits and vegetables and avoid direct contact with other people.
Botulism is caused by the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum, one of the most poisonous biological substances known to man. It’s a neurotoxin that attacks and paralyses the central nervous system. While contamination is rare, it is usually caused by canned goods that haven’t been sealed properly. These bacteria generate oxygen and are the main reason why you should throw away a can or a jar should the lid be popped. Symptoms include drooping eyelids, facial paralysis, muscle weakness, dry mouth, blurry vision, difficult breathing, speaking and swallowing, nausea and vomiting. In the case of a baby getting it you will see constipation, a weak cry, drooling, drooping eyelids, paralysis and difficulty sucking.
This type of food poisoning requires professional medical care. All you can do in a crisis situation is induce vomiting and bowel movements. This will help eliminate the bacteria as quickly as possible. If you have access to a hospital, you may find the anti-toxin.
E coli is a bacteria you already have in your body, only your immune system keeps it contained. However, ingesting it or contacting it will be extremely unpleasant. Even a milder infection will last for 5-10 days and symptoms include vomiting, severe abdominal pain and diarrhea, sometimes bloody. E coli is sometimes associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome, HUS, an infection which causes kidney injury. Symptoms include decreased urination and dark coloring of urine and there’s not much you can do about it by yourself.
The bacteria can be transmitted through contaminated meat, unpasteurized milk, soft cheese made form unpasteurized milk, or alfalfa sprouts. It may also be transmitted through contaminated water or animal contact. . It can also be transmitted through feces.
Prevent E Coli thorough personal hygiene precautions. Do not take antibiotics if infected. If you have no access to professional medical care, there’s really not much you can do about it, other than resting and hydration.
Salmonella is a bacteria found in the intestines of poultry and seafood. Symptoms may show up anywhere from a few hours to two days after contamination and include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, headaches, chills and bloody stool. The disease is caused by eating undercooked meat, seafood or eggs that have been in contact with feces of an infected animal. This also applies to fruits and vegetables that have been in contact with fertilizer made from the feces of an infected animal.
Salmonella has a high cross contamination risk, so make sure to wash and bleach work surfaces, utensils, counters, cutting boards and tools. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly when going to the bathroom. Make sure your food is safe by washing and cooking it thoroughly.
If you haven’t got access to professional medical aid, treatment involves hydration and constipation pills. Antibiotics are only required in rare cases when the infection reaches the bloodstream. Symptoms last for 4-7 days, but a full body recovery may take a few months.
These are some of the most common food poisoning causes, but they are much more diverse in reality. For instance, Salmonella has over 2500 serotypes. Luckily, all of these threats can be avoided through prevention, adequate food handling and food safety procedures. Use bleach or homemade vinegar water solutions to clean all food and utensils. In a SHTF situation you want to avoid unnecessary risks at all costs. Even though it’s not always deadly, food poisoning will severely strain your health. Your body will be very weak for a while and getting over it will cost you precious resources. A little safety definitely goes a long way when it comes to your health.
Have you ever had food poisoning? How did you treat it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.