Earlier this summer, my kids developed poison ivy. Upon investigation, we found a healthy patch of the stuff in the back corner of the yard, right next to the swing-set. As my husband is highly allergic to poison ivy, it was my job to pull up and discard the patch before the kids got into it again. Precautions were taken by wearing long pants and gloves. Afterwards, my clothing was immediately removed and washed. During my shower, I scrubbed down with Dawn dish soap, but it didn’t matter. Within a week I had poison ivy rash up and down both arms and on the trunk of my body.
Now as Survival Moms, we like to think we’re prepared at home for many medical problems, and most of us just aren’t the type to call the doctor at every sneeze, or rash. Two weeks later, I had exhausted every home remedy and my eye started to swell shut. I knew the poison ivy was winning, and I turned to my health care provider for a steroid treatment. After I started feeling better I started to evaluate the experience. These are a few strategies that I think can be applied to any minor medical issue or injury.
Educate yourself about poison ivy
The very first thing I did was read up on poison ivy. What were the common symptoms? What was the usual progression or stages of the illness? What were some uncommon symptoms? This way, I was prepared for what was coming, both for my kids and myself.
Now, we had plenty of access to Google searches, but I also have several books on my shelf in case we had not. These including Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook by David Werner and Carol Thuman, and NOLS Wilderness Medicine by Tod Schimelpfenig and Joan Safford. These books cover injury and illness situations where there is limited or no medical care available. But I also have an older copy of Mayo Clinic Family Health Book that I found at a library sale. It is more focused on visiting the doctor, and using modern medicines. Having the variety a great selection for home reference should be a must.
Find out the danger signs
During my searches, I also made notes of the most serious symptoms, or when it might be time to call a health care professional. For poison ivy, some of those symptoms included difficulty breathing, poison ivy rash spreading to private places on the body, or eyes swelling shut. That way, I was prepared to instantly recognize if the illness I was dealing with had taken a turn for the worse, and I could act immediately. If this was a SHTF scenario, I think this would be the most crucial step. Sometimes health care is not available in an emergency situation, so you’ll want to think through whoever or whatever you can to be on standby for extra help. Possibly a neighbor with nurse’s training, or locating an epi-pen or other “advanced” treatment, depending on the illness or possible danger signs.
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The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.
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