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Personal hygiene and survival

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by bdcochran, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I will acknowledge before preceding that some people don't accept the concept of germ theory or may be allergic to soap and water.

    Most people pick up germs through their hands and place their hands in their mouths, noses and on their eyes. And for those who want to say that germs can be spread through the air, I have just said it for you.

    An elementary school teacher did an experiment. She had her class wash their hands with soap and water before school and at lunchtime. The absence rate went down 25%.

    A study was done on comparing fecal germs on public toilet seats and on the water fixture handles. The fixture handles were uniformly dirty and much dirtier than the toilet seats.

    I routinely wash the house door knobs, refrigerator and food cabinet handles, lavatory handles as well. I also wash the driver's steering wheel and car door latches.

    Years ago I went to a proctologist. He gave his professional speech. Eastern toilets were a more natural and sanitary approach than western toilets. Don't use toilet paper if you can avoid it because it contains perfumes and abrasives. Use a warm wash cloth at home. Do not use a towel and hang it out to try. Wash a towel after using it. It turned out that he was right - and lost a customer. The incidences of "toe rot" went to zero as well.

    I realize that most of you are loaded with dough and have had lassik. If you wear eye glasses, most people don't understand that grease and germs get onto the frames as well as the lenses. This is why you put a pair of glasses into a watered down solution of ivory liquid overnight. Takes off the grease and germs.

    I again acknowledge that many people don't believe in germ theory. I know a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who has negative reviews because he doesn't wash his hands between procedures. I have also see Kaiser nurses in pre-op picking up dropped materials and putting it back on trays.:wow:
  2. PaulMason


    Feb 10, 2010
    The problem is I can't squat. I just can not do a flat footed squat. Maybe if I started out doing that I could. Even in the wild, I have to do the hold onto a tree and lean back method.

    But I agree with you that in a SHTF situation personal hygiene is extremely important. You are more likely to get injured by a germ then by a knife or gun. Diarrhea or dysentery will take out your strength or kill you, as it does to many in 3rd world countries. Sanitary food preparation and the simple things - door knobs clean etc - are extremely important. Keeping finger and toe nails short is another thing to keep the germs out of you. Keeping the stress down, vitamins and getting enough sleep can help your body fight off problems.

  3. Maine1


    Jul 20, 2007
    feild hygiene, or LACK thereof, was a larger killer in wars than combat, until relatively recently.

    research the Civil war, and the prison camps.

    wash your ass!

    I have seen guys eat meat off the fire, with FILTHY hands, and think it made them a tough outdoorsman.

    what is did was make them as sick as a dog.

    had a few leaders that understood this and drilled it well in the Corps.
  4. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    While the average soldier believed the bullet was his most nefarious foe, disease was the biggest killer of the war. Of the Federal dead, roughly three out of five died of disease, and of the Confederate, perhaps two out of three. One of the reasons for the high rates of disease was the slipshod recruiting process that allowed under- or over-age men and those in noticeably poor health to join the armies on both sides, especially in the first year of the war. In fact, by late 1862, some 200,000 recruits originally accepted for service were judged physically unfit and discharged, either because they had fallen ill or because a routine examination revealed their frail condition.
    About half of the deaths from disease during the Civil War were caused by intestinal disorders, mainly typhoid fever, diarrhea, and dysentery. The remainder died from pneumonia and tuberculosis. Camps populated by young soldiers who had never before been exposed to a large variety of common contagious diseases were plagued by outbreaks of measles, chickenpox, mumps, and whooping cough.
    The culprit in most cases of wartime illness, however, was the shocking filth of the army camp itself. An inspector in late 1861 found most Federal camps 'littered with refuse, food, and other rubbish, sometimes in an offensive state of decomposition; slops deposited in pits within the camp limits or thrown out of broadcast; heaps of manure and offal close to the camp." As a result, bacteria and viruses spread through the camp like wildfire. Bowel disorders constituted the soldiers' most common complaint. The Union army reported that more than 995 out of every 1,000 men eventually contracted chronic diarrhea or dysentery during the war; the Confederates fared no better.
    Typhoid fever was even more devastating. Perhaps one-quarter of noncombat deaths in the Confederacy resulted from this disease, caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated by salmonella bacteria. Epidemics of malaria spread through camps located next to stagnant swamps teeming with anopheles mosquito. Although treatment with quinine reduced fatalities, malaria nevertheless struck approximately one quarter of all servicemen; the Union army alone reported one million cases of it during the course of the war. Poor diet and exposure to the elements only added to the burden. A simple cold often developed into pneumonia, which was the third leading killer disease of the war, after typhoid and dysentery.
  5. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    Hygiene can also improve morale when you are at that stage... nothing beats a nice shower to clean up and brighten the mood.
  6. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    Don't get me wrong, I get at least one shower a day, but....

    Antibacterial soaps may be a problem for general use. We are killing off lots of bugs that may make us a little ill, and building up the tolerance of other bugs that will eventually kill us. The same can be said for everyone who takes half a prescription of antibiotics.

    As far as TP. There is John Wayne TP. It is tough, rough and will not take crap off of anyone. Then there is the soft unscented stuff I use. It does just as good as a cloth and it goes down the toilet when I am finished.

    This isn't an all or nothing event.

    I do use an air filter with a bacteria killing uv light. I think it helps.
    I do keep a clean kitchen.
    I do ....
  7. TangoFoxtrot

    TangoFoxtrot OIF 04-05

    Sep 10, 2008
    Nowhereville, USA
    In the field there is always a way to clean your body. Even if you have to wash with a canteen and rag....its still better than nothing!
  8. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Really? Then Eastern people must be at fault, because if you go to the "east" they tend to make up for the alleged cleanliness of their toilets 1,000 times over by crapping all over everything, including the sides of the toilets and the ground where you're walking in any random spot.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  9. pugman


    May 16, 2003
    Don't need to convince me.

    I work in a building with 500 other people; I've worked there for seven years.

    The first three years I used to get one bad cold a year which would stick with me nearly a month.

    After getting sick and tired of being sick and tired the 4th year foward during cold/flu season I wash my hands a lot. This isn't to say I don't do it during the summer but I pay particular attention from say October-April. On a normal day in December I probably wash my hands 7-8 times a day and use Germ-X - I even go so far as when I leave the bathroom I use my forearm to push it open not my hand.

    Haven't been sick a day since.

    But germ theory goes right along with general personal hygiene and a person's overall health. Considering my building is full of nurses you would think they would be in better health. Fully 50% of my building would be considered overweight...20% or more would be considered obese. Guess what?

    Its these people who seem to get sick the most?

    Let me put it another way. I'm a fire marshall for my building and we had to come up with a plan on how to deal with 4th floor folks who are too overweight to make it down the stairs during a potential fire.

    If that fact alone doesn't cause you to get on a treadmill - nothing will.
  10. ca survivor

    ca survivor

    Dec 25, 2011
    I was reading the other day that in hotels, the # 1 in bacteria is the TV remote control, # 2 is the on off switch on the lamps and # 3 the supply/cleaning cart the maids use, moving germs from room to room.
  11. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    A toothbrush and some toothpaste twice a day in the field will keep you healthy longer than a bar of soap. Oral hygiene caused as many problems for my troops as wet feet.

    Think its S&P is gonna suck? Try doing it with a bad tooth!
  12. SDDL-UP


    Dec 4, 2006
    As far as being S&P related...

    I would rather stock up on Dial or Safeguard, or some kind of antibacterial soap than one that isn't just because a "shower a day" is very likey out of the question. I envision two or three warm baths a week if you're real lucky, a ten minute splash down in a creek once a week if your not. Give me a bar of Dial!
  13. Raiden

    Raiden C&R Fun!

    Hygiene has always been a big concern of mine, when going off-trails or prepping for emergencies. I have several means of washing up, using minimal water (including bidets). I stock up on hand wipes, body wipes, soaps, balms, oils, salves, and powders that improve hygiene. I also have several means of making much of the above. I have all sorts of oral hygiene products, including those that are super-portable and require no additional water. I have cartons of additional hygiene products and sundries, acquired fairly-cheaply.

    The best part of all these preps is that they all have high trade values, compared to their low initial cost, in certain conditions. It doesn't even have to be an emergency. I spent a lot of time camping out along a modestly-popular Appalachian trail, and I could get a lot of goodies for such amenities that campers and hikers might have forgotten or used up (the most popular were tampons, wet wipes, toothbrushes, and toilet tissue). When they get halfway into their marked shelf life, they can be donated for tax credit (many places - shelters in particular - will use them up in a few days). Barring theft or damage, it's hard to lose with such preps.

    Medical and hospitality suppliers are great places for such stuff. Both hospitals and hotels regularly provide hygiene amenities to patients / guests, and order them in bulk for super-super cheap. These individual sized items make 'em easily-portable, and ideal for small-scale barter.

    One of my personal favorite personal hygiene items, which I'm always thankful for after a hard day on the trail, are pre-moistened body towelettes. I prefer the all-natural ones, but I still keep some antibacterial ones for occasional use. In bulk, I get them from medical supply companies for under 10¢ a sheet. It's the closest one can get to carrying a shower in your pocket. After they dry, the towels are also fairly useful, if you're imaginative.
  14. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

    Sep 16, 2008
    I do the same thing when I go hiking, and some people think I'm nuts. I always brush my teeth, and wash my hands and face in the morning and after dinner. Then I'll use those coleman biowipes in do a quick babywipe bath of the armpits and the nether regions. I also wash my hands with a little water and use hand sanitizer before I touch any food.

    Other Hikers say I'm nuts for not just staying dirty and carrying the extra weight, but I never had a case of the trots on the trail, and when I come back into civilization and walk into a store, I don't have people gagging from my stink.
  15. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    Some hippies wear that stink as a badge of honor.
  16. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    Only a badge of honor to other hippies. Stink is stink.
  17. Leigh


    May 22, 2000
    Eastern Kentucky
    "Antibacterial" soap is simply a way to sell more soap.
  18. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    And the French.