All posts by C Bracken Meyers

Why is it Important to Purify Your Water?

GiardiaNo water coming from the tap? Lost in the wilderness and thirsty? Locating a water source may only be half the battle. Most surface water contains microbes that may make you sick (or worse). It is always important to purify your water unless you are sure it is clean to keep you healthy and functional.

Here are the most commonly water borne illnesses:

  1. Giardiasis is diarrhea which is caused by Giardia intestinalis and can develop in two weeks after a victim’s exposure to these organisms. The Giardia intestinalis parasites can live in the victim’s intestines. They can pass outside the anus through feces. When outside, they can survive on surfaces for several months. They can become causes of diarrhea, greasy stool, abdominal cramps, and gas attacks.
  2. Amebiasis is another waterborne illness due to Entamoeba histolytica, a waterborne protozoon. A sufferer can experience severe abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, and weight loss. The victim can also suffer from liver abscess when the parasite invades the liver.
  3. Cholera is another waterborne disease that you should be careful about. It is caused by a viral intestinal infection through taking in water and food that is contaminated with Vibro cholerae. These bacteria can have a short incubation in your intestines. When it’s full blown, you can suffer from acute diarrhea that can cause complications such as kidney failure, dehydration, or even death. Cholera is accounted to about 118, 932 in Africa alone in 2000 and that tolled to more than 4000 deaths in the same year.
  4. Gastroenteritis is caused by parasites and bacteria in water and is sometimes known as a stomach flu, which is caused by the norovirus. Signs and symptoms include diarrhea, low-grade fever, and dehydration. Usually, the symptoms surface within two days after the victim’s exposure to the virus and disappear after two days.
  5. Cryptosporidiosis is another waterborne disease that is caused by Cryptosporidium parvum, a type of parasite that cannot be killed by chlorine. You can become infected by this disease even if you filter your water. Some symptoms that come with the disease include weight loss, mild fever, nausea, and vomiting.

You will noticed that these won’t make you sick right away. So if you find yourself in a short term survival situation, without the means to water glasspurify the water, you may want to drink the water if comes down to life or death. Then visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Microorganism are not the only thing that can cause harm. There are both mineral and chemical compounds that may be present in any water supply that could also hurt you. I recommend always having a water filter at home, in the car, and in your pack if you are backpacking.

What are Preppers?

Meteor Falling to EarthThe term “preppers” referrers to someone who prepares for the worse, whether it be for flood waters, nuclear war, or a zombie apocalypse. Sometimes the term is connected to a derogatory terms such as, ‘doomsdayers.’  Not all preppers are doomsdayers, most are normal, happy people who want to be ready for a crisis by planning and preparing ahead to protect themselves and their families. They prepare themselves with survival skills, primitive living skills, and supplies.

Preppers are realists. They understand that disasters can happen anywhere and at any time, with or without warning. They do what logical and reasonable people should do: plan and prepare in advance for the worse-case and most likely scenarios.

No one anticipated a 7.0 magnitude earthquake to hit Haiti in 2012 killing over a 100,000 people and leaving the area with little shelter, food, and clean water. The Japanese didn’t plan on the Tōhoku tsunami in 2011 carrying water 6 miles inland, nor were Colorado Springs residents expecting wildfires to destroy entire neighborhoods in 2012.

Though many crises are natural disasters, there are plenty of man-made disasters too. War, terrorist attacks, power outages, and industrial accidents just to name a few. The American Red Cross responds to almost 100,000 incidents each year. There are also personal crises such as, getting lost in the desert or mountains, your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, or you fall off your Caribbean cruise ship into the open ocean.

Let’s face it: Urban dwellers are not usually prepared for most major disasters. When the water stops flowing from the tap, the stores are out of food, there is no power for cooking or heating, most people are just helpless, scared, and don’t have a clue what to do.

So, the bottom line is this: Survival starts with an open mind and an awareness of the various situations that could occur. Once awareness develops, the next step is contingency planning, but for what type of planning and preparation is up to you!