by Joshua Krause, Ready Nutrition:
Most people like to think that if society collapsed, the most common cause of death would be at the hands of other people. They like to imagine that the apocalypse will be filled with action packed shootouts and marauding gangs of looters. Obviously there would be a lot of violence if society collapsed, but the truth of the matter is that violence would be a secondary concern.
Mother Nature Has Plans of Her Own
This is evident if you only take a quick look throughout history. During the most tumultuous times in human history, it wasn’t violence that killed the most people, but disease and starvation. Even during war, when violence reached its apex, most of the soldiers didn’t die from violence, and that remained the case until the 20th century. During the American Civil War for instance, for every three soldiers who died on the battlefield, five died of disease.
It’s important to remember that if society were to collapse, it would be tantamount to traveling back in time to when modern amenities didn’t exist. And without those amenities, there are a ton of pathogens that can kill you. So before you blow your entire prepping budget on guns and body armor, consider some of the many unglorified ways that the collapse of society could cut you down.
These are the Seven Likely Causes of Death When the SHTF
The world was a hell of a scary place before the invention of antibiotic medications. Any nick or scratch could lead to an untreatable infection, and communicable diseases often ran rampant. Nowadays our antibiotics can treat these diseases, but just barely. As various strains of bacteria become immune to these treatments, we’re rapidly approaching a post-antibiotic world that looks an awful lot like the old world. If society collapses then these souped up diseases are going to be unleashed without any inhibitions. Tuberculosis, staph, typhoid, strep throat, MRSA, and E. Coli will become all too common.
2. Water-Related Illness
If society collapses, people are going to suddenly find themselves reliant on local water sources, and unfortunately those water sources are going to be contaminated. It’s often the case that natural ponds and stream are already unsafe to drink, but the same disaster that cuts off your tap is going to make that water even more dangerous.
Without running water, people will be forces to leave their waste in their immediate environment, where it will likely mingle with local water sources. This among other unsanitary conditions can cause a whole host of water-borne diseases including gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, intestinal parasites, Diphtheria, cholera, typhoid, and even polio. Here are 9 common water-borne illnesses to prepare for in a disaster scenario.
3. Mosquitoes and Rats
It takes all the might of modern civilization just to keep certain pests in check. But when the garbage trucks stop showing up and the swimming pools turn green, you can bet that the rats and mosquitoes will proliferate like crazy. And they’ll be carrying diseases that are the stuff of nightmares. Rats will carry the hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, and the plague; and in North America, mosquitoes will most likely be carrying dengue fever. Here are some tips to rat-proof your preparedness supply closet.
4. Cold Weather
A lot of people will be forced to go without adequate shelter after the collapse. So when winter arrives, you’re going to see a lot more weather related ailments. We’re all very familiar with flu season, but most people don’t realize that cold weather conditions can spawn numerous diseases, most of them respiratory related. Between the lack of sunlight, people crowding indoors, and the poor circulation caused by cold weather, there will be more cases of strep throat, pneumonia, croup, bronchiolitis, ear infections, and the stomach flu. To prepare for this, understand that hospitals and medical care may not be available (or too dangerous to get to). You may want to consider storing natural remedies, herbal poultices and tinctures to assist in these cold weather ailments.
In a roundabout way, malnutrition would probably be the leading cause of disease after the SHTF. That’s because your diet is tightly linked to the quality of your immune system, so if you’re not getting enough calories, protein, vitamins or minerals, you’re more susceptible to every ailment under the sun. However, malnutrition is most associated with conditions like scurvy, rickets, pellagra, goiters, and beriberi.
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