Usually, just a few germs will not kill you. But when you are in a situation where hospitals are not accessible. Running water is not working and food sources are scarce even the smallest infection can be life threatening.
Survival hygiene is one of the most over-looked but important prepper skills to master.
A few of the instances in SHTF are compromised water supply, waste dumped anywhere, a clogged sewage supply system, various vermin disseminating diseases such as wildfire, and even taking numerous lives.
When facing SHTF, staying completely clean can keep you alive. But the question arises – how can you keep away from such a compromised scenario, and what kind of survival hygiene strategies should you implement?
Survivalists generally need emergency medical & self-defense training, preparing to become self-sufficient, stockpiling water and food, and building structures like survival retreats or underground shelters that might help them survive through the catastrophe.
For overcoming SHTF, the first step is to develop survival hygiene tactics and maintain good hygiene.
Table of Contents
Why Does Good Hygiene Matter So Much?
Good hygiene is equivalent to good health.
Surely this is not rocket science, as when you keep your entire body clean, you are protecting yourself against bacteria and viruses that may create serious harm if not taken care of.
However, the real problem lies when faced with the SHTF scenario.
What are the survival hygiene tricks you should abide by?
When in survival mode, one cannot expect a similar level of cleanliness that you enjoyed once.
But just by making a few adjustments and understanding what to concentrate on, you and your family members can avoid contracting various nasty diseases.
The key lies in staying prepared before and even compromising to the extent required.
Ways To Take Care of Your Hygiene During SHTF
Wash Your Hands
It is obvious to keep your hands clean. This is because, on average, you usually touch your face more than 20,000 times per day.
Washing your hands from time to time with soap is one of the best ways to keep your hands clean. Other alternative ways of doing so can be rubbing hands with alcohol, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizers.
With no soap, a pinch of vinegar or even a diluted bleach solution can work the same way.
Here we will list some key times when you should wash your hands:
- Before touching your mouth, eyes, or nose
- Before & after caring for someone suffering from vomiting or diarrhea
- Before, in the course of, & after preparing the food
- Before & after treating a wound
- After using the toilet
- After sneezing, coughing, or blowing off your nose
- After touching the garbage
- After replacing diapers
- After touching pet food
- After touching animal waste, animal or animal feed
Survival Hygiene When There Is A Limited Water Supply
The cornerstone of good hygiene is having access to a good water supply.
Not just to keep yourself hydrated but also to conduct the listed things such as:
- Doing Dishes
- Washing Clothes
- Watering Garden
Here, We Will List Ways to Maintain Hygiene with a Limited Water Supply.
At Least Bathe Twice A Week
In about seven days, your body gets grimy. This is why we recommend you to bathe at least twice a week (at least wash down with a clean rag) if you have adequate time and water available. This is one of the best ways to kill bacteria and viruses.
Additionally, there are a lot of other advantages attached to it:
- Lowers muscle tension
- Boosts immune system
- Enhances blood circulation
- Lowers stress
- Calms the nervous system
While bathing regularly seems good, it is for sure a luxury when in an SHTF scenario. However, note not to go overboard with water consumption while bathing.
Remember, you will still require precious water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning utensils.
Figure Out A Way To Wash Clothes
When discussing the subject of remaining clean, laundry is a crucial aspect to note.
Unless you have a solar power system or generator, your washer will not work in case of a power outage.
Try and adopt some crucial outdated techniques as per your preference.
A few of the techniques which you may follow are:
- Beat the clothes over rocks or stone, for those living near a river or stream
- Use washboard & bucket
- Hand wash in sink or bathtub
Ensure to Clean Your Teeth
Clean your mouth well at least once a day.
For those with adequate supplies, twice a day would be a better option. Use toothpaste to brush your teeth. In case you run out of toothpaste, you can use baking soda as an alternative.
In case you face a situation when none of such resources are available, just pick up your toothbrush and gush it through your teeth to eliminate the buildup that is accumulated in your teeth.
Once you have brushed, use clean water to rinse your mouth.
Wash Your Hair Thoroughly
In the ongoing SHTF scenario, how can you clean your hair?
You do not require to use shampoo daily. However, when your hair requires in-depth cleaning, the use of specific home remedies can work wonders.
A few home rememdies that can be used are (adding a small amount to water):
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Baking Soda
Survival Hygiene Related Strategies
Groom Different Body Areas
Believe this or not, grooming can assist you in remaining clean.
Here are a few grooming tips you should note.
- Keep your head as well as facial hair short. This is because less hair causes fewer parasites to deposit on those parts.
- Comb your hair regularly.
- Stop biting your nails.
- Trim toenails and fingernails. This will prevent several germs/bacteria from hiding underneath.
Consider adding razors, scissors, and nail clippers to your bug-out bag.
Treat All Your Wounds As Threat To Your Life
Every scrape, bump, cut, and even skin burn should be instant attention. Use soap and water, and other disinfectants to sanitize the area, which is affected.
After this, apply an ointment and then cover your wound with a bandage. You must avoid activities that get you unnecessarily exposed to dirt or pests in case of injury.
Your wound should get fresh air to breathe for it to heal faster (after it is cleaned).
Do Not Forget Your Feet
Keeping your feet dry and clean is crucial. This means you should avoid wet socks. If you do not do so, you might develop a disease, which you may not easily overcome.
Such diseases may be sores, fungus, blisters, and trench foot. For those with a fungal infection, usage of baking soda can help you get rid of it. Ensure to apply a paste of baking soda with water to the affected areas.
Wait until it dries before rinsing it.
Ensure to Prepare A Survival Hygiene Kit
Many preppers concentrate on stocking up with various things that are usually useless in emergencies.
Packing personal hygiene supplies are beyond important.
Survival Hygiene Products You Should Stock Up
Listed here are few of the top most crucial things to consider when packing your survival hygiene kit:
No survival hygiene kit is complete without the inclusion of soap. While there are ways of making soap, stocking a couple of such bars will be much easier.
Besides cleaning your body and hand, soap has other uses:
- Works as an insect repellent
- Good for cleaning wounds
- Effective in eliminating fabric stains
Baking soda is known as a holy grail for those trying to survive. It is precious in situations of SHTF owing to its versatile nature.
Baking soda can also be used for cleaning various things and best for maintaining personal hygiene.
By just blending in a little quantity of baking soda along with water, you can prepare the listed:
Thus, including baking soda in the stockpile is necessary and highly recommended.
As mentioned before, with baking soda, toothpaste can be prepared. But if you don’t have a toothpaste then you are in abit of a problem!
Surely using your finger can be an option, but a toothbrush works much better and is more efficient and cleaner.
Ensure to purchase a toothbrush for your survival hygiene kit and place it in a zip lock pouch or a hard plastic bag to prevent any kind of contamination.
Many of us tend to forget about sunscreen when preparing the survival hygiene kit.
However, this should not be the situation, as sunburns can hurt very much and can even slow you down on occasions when you require going a long way. Thus, making room for sunscreen in your kit is important.
Toilet paper for sure is a brainer and essential survival hygiene product.
There is good reason people hoard toilet paper first when a looming crisis is happening.
Besides the above listed essentials, you must also grab in the essentials listed below:
- Dental floss
- Hand sanitizer
- Scissors, razors, and nail clippers
- Laundry detergent
- Baby wipes
- Apple cider vinegar
- Disposable gloves
- Diapers, if required.
- Trash bags for disposing of waste products and garbage.
- Female hygiene supplies, if required.
Hygiene and sanitation are two different things; however, they are connected.
Few common hygiene-related problems are; food poisoning, gastrointestinal infections, skin disease, etc.
Waste Disposals Tips You Should Follow
Sort the Waste
Different kinds of waste require different treatment types. It means you require sorting through your waste and collecting them separately in bins. By doing so, you can avoid cross-contamination and even make disposal procedures easier.
In the SHTF scenario, you will have reduced food waste than usual.
Still, whatever waste you accumulate will attract animals and bugs’ attention. It is best to deal with excess food immediately.
Burning waste is a great option to keep things clean. Contiminated items can be burnt and therefore it hinders any spread of disease.
Be careful breathing in fumes from random items that could be harmful to you.
For those articles that cannot be burned, reused, or composted, one of your best options can be to bury all of them. Items like plastics, treated wood, rubbers, and metals are included in this list.
Note not to bury such items in areas where you would most probably grow food. Remember to mark the spot or arrange an area away from where you are planting or living.