Monday Musings 12/7/2015: Health Benefits to Use Before the End of the Year

Health Benefits to Use Before the End of the Year

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.  Can you believe it’s the last month of 2015?  It feels like 2015 just got started, now it has flown by.  It’s time to think about year-end activities again.

First the blog updates…

Health Benefits to Use Before the End of the Year  Part of year end planning is to assess your health benefits and figure out what you may lose out when the year ends.  Look at your health plan and review your benefits closely.  A lot of people don’t use their benefits and can possibly lose these opportunities to get healthy or boost your preparedness efforts.

  1. Medical checkups – Most health plans allow for one yearly checkup with your primary care physician.  Have you gone this year?  How about your spouse and kids?  Now is your chance to have your health checked and make improvements.  Part of being prepared is getting healthy and fit.  Also if you feel your job is unstable and staff cuts are on the horizon, it is even more imperative that you use your medical benefits now while you have coverage.  The same goes for the rest of the benefits outlined below.
  2. Dental evaluation – Again, most dental plans allow two cleaning visits per year, either at no cost of low cost.  Don’t miss out one getting your teeth professionally cleaned.  You may also find out you have some needed dental work.  This will allow you to make plans for next years’ expenses.
  3. Flexible spending accounts (FSA) – I can write a whole post about just flexible spending accounts.  They are a “use it or lose it” benefit.  If you have money left over in the FSA, it does not carry over til next year.  Review your balance and the covered expenses.  You could potentially use any remaining dollars to boost your first aid kit: thermometers, blood pressure monitor, Ace bandages and many other items are covered.
  4. Eye exam – Just like medical and dental checkups, many health plans also cover eye exams once per year.  Have your vision checked, as well as your family’s.

Giveaways coming soon…

I finished reading Jim Cobb’s Prepper Hacks and will be posting a review and giveaway this week.

I am reading Ted Koppel’s Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.

Now for the links…

How to Save Money with a Home Brewing Hobby

More Attacks Are Coming: “The Intent Here Was Jihad And It Was Carefully Premeditated And Planned”

25 Ways People Earned Money During the Great Depression

The Many Different Types of Locks

25 Natural Remedies for Diabetes

Take care and have a great week everyone!


© Apartment Prepper 2015

Money Saving Tips for Building a First Aid Kit

Money Saving Tips for Building a First Aid Kit

Building a First Aid kit does not have to be cost prohibitive.  You can assemble it as inexpensively as possible with the following tips:

  1. Reuse or recycle.  Use a recycled or re-purposed item as your main container Check Goodwill or discount stores for a handy bag or box that has lots of room such as a backpack, video camera case, tackle box, etc.
  2. Stock it with freebies.  The last time we went to the doctor’s office, they were giving out pocket sized hand sanitizer gel and body wash for free.  You can also get a lot of freebies at health fairs, conventions or even at company sponsored charity events such as 5k runs, walk-a-thons etc.  At the last 4th of July community celebration, emergency clinics were giving out free toothbrushes and ice packs with their logo.  I am not advocating free-loading or taking stuff that is not meant to be given away.  If you are a participant in an event, the sponsors are happy to give out free merchandise to promote their products.
  3. Try customer service.  Another way to get freebies is by calling the customer service line of your favorite brands and commenting about the product.  A lot of times, the companies give out free samples.   Also check websites of products you want to try; I’ve received free samples by signing up for their newsletters or filling out a quick survey.  Before you give out your email address, set up a separate email account just for this purpose.
  4. Use coupons when buying First Aid supplies; or take advantage of sales combined with coupons at pharmacy discount stores such as Walgreens or CVS.
  5. Buy in bulk  If you have friends or family who are similarly interested, you can buy the supplies in bulk and split the cost with them.  For example, Costco and Sam’s both carry boxes of Band-Aids and single use packets of medicines that usually have too many in a pack for one family.   But if you get together with others, you can spread out the cost and still have a lot to split among yourselves.
  6. Take advantage of grocery store pharmacy offers.  Last Sunday, I saw a coupon in our grocery store’s weekly flyer offering a $25 store gift card for a new or transferred prescription.  Make sure you bring the coupon with you when you pick up your prescription or you will not get the offer.  Use the gift card you receive for buying First Aid and emergency supplies.
  7. Buy generic brands.  I used to worry that generic allergy medicine may not be as good as name brands, until my own primary care doctor admitted he buys Kirkland pain relievers and allergy medicine from Costco for his own family.  I tried them and found them to work just as well.
  8. Pack some extras.  Instead of tossing away your old pair of glasses, include it as a backup pair in your kit.  It may not have the newest prescription or frame, but it is better than nothing if your current pair breaks or gets lost.  You should also include a month’s supply of your prescriptions in case you are unable to pick up refills in an emergency.


You’ll find lots more money saving tips in my new book, The Penny-Pinching Prepper, available now.

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How to Protect Your Family from Enterovirus D68

How to Protect your Family from Enterovirus D68This post is by Bernie Carr,

We’re now hearing that more states have been reporting cases of the Enterovirus D68, the virus that has been sending many children to the hospital due to complications.  This article discusses symptoms to watch and how you can protect your family.

What is Enterovirus D68?

The symptoms caused by the virus start out similar to cold:  sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, coughing.  Many cases turn out fine, and the sufferer recovers on his or her own.  However, a percentage of cases develop complications, such as trouble breathing.  According to the CDC, the virus had not been very common in the past.  IN recent weeks, many states such as Missouri, Illinois, Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, etc. have been reporting that hospitals’ emergency rooms are full of patients with respiratory problems.  The virus especially affects babies, children, and teenagers.  Children with asthma are most at risk.


Just like the common cold, there is no specific way to treat patients afflicted by Enterovirus D68; you can only relieve the symptoms by taking over the counter remedies such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), Motrin or Advil (ibuprophen).  If symptoms worsen and the person has trouble breathing, see a doctor as soon as possible or go to the nearest emergency room.


Prevention is the best way to protect yourself and your family.   (Note:  I am not a medical professional – these are steps I personally take to keep from getting sick.  If you are unsure and need personalized advice, see a doctor or medical practitioner.)

Avoid crowds   Being among lots of people increases your chances of getting contaminated.

Frequent handwashing  Get everyone in the family in the habit of washing their hands as they come home from public places and before eating.  If you cannot wash your hands right away, use antibacterial wipes.

Stop touching your eyes and face  It is very hard to keep kids from touching their faces, but you have to try to teach them this lesson.

Disinfect surfaces around you  Keep a box of antibacterial wipes and clean door knobs, light switches and other commonly touched items around you.  Keep a canister of Lysol wipes at the office and disinfect your desk, keyboard and phone on a regular basis.

Stay home if you are sick  Avoid going to work or sending the kids to school if you notice any symptoms.  Staying home and getting plenty of rest will not only help with recovery but also prevent spreading germs.

Bolster your Immune System

  • Get enough sleep and rest.
  • Relax and avoid stress.
  • Exercise at least three to four days a week.
  • Eat a healthy diet.  Avoid eating processed foods too frequently.  Include fresh vegetables and fruits in your menus.  Take vitamin supplements if you feel you don’t eat well enough.

What to stock up

You hope no one in your household catches anything but keeping a few items in your emergency kit will help you avoid having to go to the store if someone does get sick:

  • Over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, Advil, Nyquil as well children’s versions of these remedies
  • Thermometer
  •  Extra boxes of tissues
  •  Cough drops
  •  Decongestant
  •  Canned juices
  • Apple cider vinegar – This home remedy has helped me prevent several colds since I first tried it.
  •  Canned chicken soup – I know home made is best, but sometimes you just feel too sick to make anything and canned chicken noodle soup will do in a pinch.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil – Eucalyptus oil relieves congestion in a pleasant way.  Just add a few drops to a warm,moist wash cloth and breath in.  In an upcoming article, I will discuss some really effective essential oils that can be added to your home’s emergency kit.


© Apartment Prepper 2014


Spark Naturals Essential Oils
Back 2 School Kit

All Natural Pain Relief PowerStrips Test + Giveaway

Before All Natural Pain Relief PowerStrips became a sponsor, I tested the product for myself to see if it works.

What are PowerStrips?  PowerStrips is an over the counter pain management product.  It is an adhesive strip that contains fermented red Korean ginseng, colloidal silver, Alpha 3 CMP marine phytoplankton and germanium.

How to use PowerStrips

They are simple to use:  Just peel off one side of the backing, apply the sticky side to the affected area, smooth it out.  Then peel off the other side of the backing and press down some more.  Keep it on for one to two days at the most then replace.

The Test

I was having some pain on my right knee after starting a running program.  I had it checked out and the doctor suggested wrapping it for support and taking some over the counter pain reliever.  I didn’t want to keep taking Advil or Tylenol, so I tried out the PowerStrips.  I am the skeptical sort and always test out products I mention, and I was trying out the PowerStrips before they became a sponsor.

First thing I noticed when I opened the package was a slight pungent scent.  The best way to describe it is, it smells like herbs.  (I’m told the scent is from the Fermented Red Korean Ginseng ingredient.)

I applied the PowerStrip on the knee and waited.

After about an hour I could feel the knee pain easing up.  I could actually feel some relief from the pain, just as I would have had I taken the Advil or aspirin.  I left the strip on for a couple of days.

After that I knew it was time to replace it, as I was starting to feel some discomfort.  I replaced the strip and again, I felt better.  My knee is better these days; but if they act up again, I would use PowerStrips all over again.  (Note:  I am not a medical professional, so if you have chronic pain, see a doctor – this article is just to relate how this particular product worked for my knee pain.)

I don’t mind taking one or two OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen but taking too many pain relief pills for an extended period of time can cause life threatening illness such as heart or circulation problems, intestinal bleeding, liver problems etc.

I was telling my brother about them and interestingly enough, it turns out one of his colleagues swear by PowerStrips for his chronic back pain.  I think PowerStrips provide a good alternative for pain relief.   They are light-weight, easy to use and have a two year shelf life.  For these reasons, they would make a good addition to your first aid and emergency kit.

Now for the giveaway…

We are holding a giveaway for the All Natural Pain Relief PowerStrips.  Please leave a comment below:

What chronic pain or condition would you try out PowerStrips for?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Wednesday, July 30th at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.



Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

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Own the Summer of Survival Complete Collection - Your Survival Skills Library



Living Ready Pocket Manual: Book Review and Giveaway

LR First Aid CoverSurvival Doctor James Hubbard, MD has written a new book, Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival.

This book will give you knowledge and skills to potentially save a life during an emergency or disaster.   Dr. Hubbard gives easy to follow step by step directions on what to do in such situations as:

  • choking
  • severe wounds
  • bites
  • burns
  • dehydration
  • hyperthermia and hypothermia
  • poisoning
  • broken bones and joints

In high stress situations, you don’t need a lot of complex explanations and jargon that will only confuse you.  This books gives an average person exactly what’s needed to take action and follow through.

There is also a section on what to include in a first aid kit some of which I found lacking in my own kit.  Dr. Hubbard also reminds us to keep additional water for first aid purposes such as cleaning wounds.  There is also a section detailing what types of antibiotics target certain illnesses.

You never know when you’ll find yourself as a first responder in a disaster.  The book is well-organized which makes it easy for someone to use in an emergency.  It is small enough to keep in a bug out bag, or a hiking backpack.  I think this book would also make a great gift for non-prepper recipients.  I am sure by now you’ve concluded I highly recommend Living Ready Pocket Manual.

For additional reviews of Living Ready Pocket Manual, click here.

Now for the giveaway:

One winner will be chosen to win a copy of Living Ready Pocket Manual.


Just add your comment below:

 Describe a first aid emergency that you’ve experienced.

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, January 18th at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.




For easy ways to become more prepared, read my book:

For low-cost ways to prep:

10 Household Items that have First Aid Uses

This post is by Bernie Carr,

In case of an injury, you should have a well stocked first aid kit. But in case you or someone you know gets hurt without a first aid kit nearby, it’s good to know there are a few household items that can be used in an emergency.

1. Sanitary napkins and tampons – The individually wrapped sanitary napkins and tampons are actually good to keep in a first aid kit. They can be used as a makeshift bandage for wounds.

2. Elmer’s Glue or Shoe Goo – These types of glues can be used to remove a sliver. Place a drop over the sliver and let it dry. Once it is dry, pry it off and the sliver should come off with it.

3. Super Glue – For a minor wound, super glue can be used to seal a cut. Clean the wound and spread a thin layer of super glue on the cut, being careful NOT to get any glue inside the wound. It can cause some skin irritation. (Note: The glue manufacturers do not recommend this use for their product, as there are medical versions available. But we’re talking about when there is nothing else around and no medical help is available. Do your own research and use your best judgement)

4. Duct tape – Duct tape can be used to care for blisters: cover the blister with gauze, then cover it with duct tape. Don’t let the duct tape touch the blister, just the gauze. You can also wrap duct tape around a sprained ankle to give it some support. If you have a cut and no adhesive bandages, use duct tape over a clean gauze (or use that sanitary napkin or tampon) to secure it in place. Just don’t place the duct tape directly over the wound.

5. Non-sudsing ammonia – A half water, half ammonia mixture can be used to relieve insect bites

6. Liquid dish soap – with some water, use to clean cuts. Or freeze dish soap in a ziplock bag and use it as an ice pack.

7. Credit card, driver’s license or other hard plastic cards – You can use a card to remove a bee’s stinger: Scrape across the skin towards the tip of the stinger; this way it comes out the way it came in. Rinse with water.

8. Wooden ruler – use as a splint by wrapping around the injured are with a scarf, belt or bandanna.

9. Honey – has many first aid uses, use it as a remedy for burns by spreading it directly on the burn and cover with a soft cloth or gauze. Honey is also used to disinfect wounds and ease a sore throat.

10. Oatmeal – An oatmeal bath can ease skin rashes from poison ivy and other skin irritations from chicken pox, sun burn or eczema. Place oatmeal in a fine mesh bag or cutup pantyhose and seal, place in a tub and fill with warm water. Soak in the oatmeal bath, and run the bag of oatmeal across the irritated area for some relief.


© Apartment Prepper 2014


First Aid Kits: The Understated Necessity

Guest post by Frank Nielson.

An essential tool in everyone’s emergency preparedness arsenal is the lowly first aid kit. Although considered important, too often little thought goes into it. This may be because so many prepackaged kits are available in all shapes and sizes.

Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of basing our purchase more on the size and price and less on the contents. Then the kit is placed on a shelf or in a bag and not thought of again. It becomes just one more item we can check off our emergency preparedness list.  Part of the problem lies in our mindset.  We know it is one of those tools we need but we hope to never use.

Everyone should have at least a small first aid kit that contains the essentials necessary to respond to common injuries and emergencies. A larger more comprehensive kit should be kept in the event of a drawn out disaster where medical assistance by trained professionals is not readily available. Both of these are discussed below.

Small kit

Your basic first aid kit for your home or apartment can be purchased at a store or assembled by you. The important thing is that you make sure it contains the items you will likely need. Don’t just assume that a kit you purchase at the store is sufficient. Below are some basic supplies to include:

  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads along with adhesive tape
  • Tweezers
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Latex gloves, several pair
  • Thermometer
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Aspirin or over the counter pain reliever
  • First aid instructions
  • Safety pins
  • Space blanket

Large kit

Instead of your first aid kit, think of this comprehensive kit as your only aid kit. This kit should contain your basic first aid kit plus enough supplies to allow you to treat substantial injuries during a longer disaster where medical assistance is not available. Your training and comfort level in treating emergencies will dictate what you include here.  Aside from buying individual supplies online or at drug stores, these larger kits can also be purchased at many outdoor stores for individuals going on extended adventures such as river running. The basics of this kit should include:

  • Duct tape
  • Elastic wrap roll
  • Instant cold packs
  • Small plastic bags
  • Scissors
  • Water purification tablets or filter
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine, antihistamine(like Benadryl), EpiPen
  • Soap, hand sanitizer
  • Large gauze pads in a variety of sizes
  • Adhesive tape
  • Turkey baster or bulb suction device for flushing out wounds
  • Hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, sunscreen, bug spray
  • In depth instructions on caring for medical emergencies

In addition, leave room for any personal medications. Store an extra bag in your large first aid kit specifically for storing your medications.

In an emergency, knowledge is your best friend. It’s been said that in a stressful environment you don’t rise to the occasion, you drop to your level of training. Following that advice, it is in your best interest to educate yourself on the sort of emergencies you may be dealing with. For example, can you recognize the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke? Do you know the early signs of hypothermia? What is the best treatment for a concussion?

The string of recent disasters should convince us all of the importance of being prepared for an emergency. The kits described above should be used as a basis for your own kit. Your circumstances, needs, and level of expertise will determine what you include in each.

About the Author:

Frank Nielson is a retired medical researcher who now spends his days writing. Through his writing, he is keen on helping consumers find the best medical supplies and orthopedic supplies at an affordable price.

If You’ve Always Wondered about Expiration Dates

Having started prepping a couple of years ago I am noticing that many of my supplies of medications are approaching their expiration dates.  We try to rotate our supplies, but invariably, some are going to expire.  I was wondering what to do when they get past their expiration dates when I received the following article from Joe Alton, M.D. aka Dr. Bones of

New Evidence on Expiration Dates

by Joe Alton, M.D. aka Dr. Bones of
Over the years, I have expressed my opinions on the bogus nature of the expiration dates stamped on medications in pill or capsule form.  I have cited the findings of the Shelf  Life Extension Program, a program meant to investigate the possible usefulness of the millions of doses of various expired medications stockpiled by FEMA for use in peacetime disasters.
In my original article, “The Truth About Expiration Dates” 2 years ago, I indicated these findings were no longer available to the public.  Now, a breakthrough scientific article has been published in the respected journal “The Archives of Internal Medicine”.  Below is the article in its entirety, with important sections in bold type:
October 8, 2012 — An analysis of 8 medications indicates that most of the active ingredients they contain were present in adequate amounts decades after the drugs’ expiration dates, according to results from a study published online October 8 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Lee Cantrell, PharmD, from the California Poison Control System, San Diego Division, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy, and colleagues used liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to measure the amounts of the active ingredients in the medications. The medicines, which had expired 28 to 40 years ago, were found in a retail pharmacy in their original, unopened packaging.
To meet US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, an active ingredient must be present in 90% to 110% of the amount indicated on the label. Drug expiration dates are set for 12 to 60 months after production, even though many compounds can persist far longer.
In the new analysis, 12 of the 14 active ingredients persisted in concentrations that were 90% or greater of the amount indicated on the label. These 12 compounds retained their full potency for 336 months (Dr. Bones 28 years) or longer. Eight of them retained potency for at least 480 months (dr. bones: 40  years). Dr. Cantrell’s team was unable to find a standard for homatropine, 1 of the 15 ingredients.
Only aspirin and amphetamine fell below the 90% cutoff. Phenacetin was present at greater than the cutoff in Fiorinal (butalbital, aspirin, caffeine, and codeine phosphate, but was considerably less in Codempiral No. 3. The authors attribute the deficit in Codempiral to conditions that led to preferential degradation of phenacetin because of its amide group, compared with codeine, which is also in Codempiral but is more chemically stable.
Three compounds persisted in greater than 110% of the labeled contents: methaqualone (in Somnafac), meprobamate (in Bamadex), and pentobarbital (in Nebralin). These relatively high amounts may reflect degradation of other components of the compounded drug, the fact that the samples were produced before FDA-instituted quality control measures in 1963, or inconsistencies of the analytical techniques between when the drugs were compounded and now. The new findings are consistent with the efforts of the Shelf-Life Extension Program, which has extended the expiration dates on 88% of 122 drugs tested so far. Extensions range from 66 to 278 months.
“Our results support the effectiveness of broadly extending expiration dates for many drugs,” the researchers conclude. They also point out that extending shelf life can significantly lower costs to consumers.
Limitations of the analysis, the investigators write, include an inability to confirm the storage conditions of the drug samples, as well as imprecise dating of the samples. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
For the preparedness community, this information is very important, as it lends credence to what I have been telling you all along:  Get your medical supplies together, and don’t throw out drugs in pill or capsule form just because they have passed their expiration dates.  We are anxiously awaiting lists of the 122 drugs that the Shelf Life Extension Program has tested, but you can expect them to be medications that will be useful in the aftermath of a catastrophe.

Joe and Amy Alton are the authors of the #1 Amazon Bestseller The Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Handbook.  See their articles in Backwoods Home, Survivalist, Self Reliance Illustrated, and Survival Quarterly magazines, and at their website at
Twitter:  @preppershow
Facebook:  drbonesand nurseamy
Doom and Bloom Hour Podcast on
In conclusion...  I will not be throwing out my expired medical supplies for now.  I’ll be awaiting the findings about those 122 drugs and will share with you as soon as I hear the results.  Our thanks to Dr. Joe Alton for sharing this article with us.

For more preparedness tips, read my book:

Bernie's Latest Book

Two E-books that Can Really Help You

Burns and wounds ebooks

Survival Doctor James Hubbard, MD has started an E-book Series and I was fortunate to read both:  The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Wounds and The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Burns.

Just as the titles say, you will learn how to deal with wounds and burns, when no doctor is available.  Of course certain types of injuries are best referred to a doctor as soon as possible but in an emergency when there is no one available, it is a good idea to know what to do.

Reading both books you will be able to:

  • identify various types of wounds and burns
  • supplies you will need
  • “natural” alternatives, that you should also have on hand
  • the best type of antibiotics for each
  • know what you should and shouldn’t do

You will not find any complicated medical jargon:  Both are easy to read and understand  non-alarming and very informative.

Wounds and burns can be life threatening if not treated properly.  You should keep this information accessible (in your smart phone, tablet or computer) in case of emergency.  Priced at $3.99 per e-book, they are well worth the price.


ReadyMade Resources is a trusted source for your preparedness supplies:


Beware the Super Bug that’s All Around Us

This post is by Bernie Carr,

At the office today we heard about a colleague who was admitted to the hospital and won’t be back for a while.  She had a small wound that steadily got worse, leading to an infection, fever and now a hospital stay.  She had to be treated with IV antibiotics, and will need to wear a bag near the wound site to continuously flush the wound with antibiotics for a month.  Her husband who helped change her gauze bandage before they knew what she had, had a small shaving cut, and he caught it as well.  He was not hospitalized, but now has to take strong oral antibiotics.  The couple is in their mid-thirties, and were in good health until this incident.

Beware the Super Bug that's all around us

What Happened to Them?

My colleague contracted MRSA, which stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureos.  MRSA is deemed a “super bug” because it is a type of bacteria that is resistant to most common antibiotics such as Amoxycillin, Penicillin, Oxacillin and Methillin.   Her husband, who helped change her dressing, must have touched the infected bandage, touched his own skin and inadvertently caught it himself.

Judging by the reaction at the office, many people are not aware of MRSA.  So I thought I’d better do some research to spread the word about this highly contagious and potentially deadly (if left untreated) condition.

I found out there are two kinds:

HA- MRSA:  Healthcare Associated MRSA – the kind that is spread in hospitals, long term care facilities, nursing homes or other care centers.  Patients who are affected may have had surgery, or wears a catheter or had some kind of in a health care facility.  Average age of patients who catch HA-MRSA:  68 years old.

CA-MRSA:  Community Associated MRSA – this affects healthy people who have never even gone to the hospital.  Average age of people who contract it:  23 years old.

Of the two types, my understanding is HA-MRSA is more resistant than CA-MRSA but both can turn dangerous nonetheless.

How do you Catch It?

Both types share the following “C’s” to remember:

–         Crowding

–         Cuts

–         Contaminated surfaces or skin

–         Un- Clean surroundings

–         Contact with skin

Who is at Risk of Catching it?


-Anyone with a compromised or weak immune system

-Young children


-College students in dorms, children in child care centers, or personnel in military installations

-People who go to the beach where waters are known to carry the bacteria such as Florida or West Coast beaches

-Anyone who uses locker rooms or gyms

-Healthcare workers

-Hospital patients or long term care facilities

As you can see, a wide swatch of the population is at risk.  Some medical professionals believe the bacteria can be present anywhere, including our own nostrils.  Usually, nothing happens, but it becomes dangerous when it enters the bloodstream through a cut.

What are the Symptoms?

  •  The injured area becomes red, swollen and painful.  The area may become filled with pus and drainage may occur.
  • Other symptoms include headache, muscle aches, fever, and chest pain.
  • Worsening symptoms may include high fever, chills, difficulty breathing, joint pain, low blood pressure, severe headache and extreme fatigue
  • The infection can enter the bloodstream and cause blood poisoning, other organs getting infected and pneumonia.

See your doctor if you experience these symptoms.  Most of the time oral antibiotics can easily cure the infection.  However, if the infection continues or keeps getting worse even after taking the prescribed antibiotics, call your doctor to report your condition.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family

I don’t want you to become alarmed or paranoid, but just be aware so you can protect yourself and your family with these common sense steps:

  1.  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.  Also teach children proper hand washing technique.  Hand washing should last long enough to be able to sing “Happy Birthday,” or recite the alphabet.  If unable to wash your hands, wiping with an alcohol bases sanitizer will suffice.
  2. Do not share towels or razors.  You may not do this yourself, but again, teach your kids, as a lot of teenagers in locker rooms may do so.
  3. Treat any cuts, burns or insect bites or puncture wounds, even minor ones, with an antiseptic and cover them with a band-aid.
  4. Avoid touching anyone else’s wounds or use sterile gloves if you are helping dress a wound with gauze or bandage.
  5. Restrict usage of antibiotics, as widespread antibiotic use causes bacteria to become more resistant.
  6. Wipe down any surfaces when using machines at the gym.

In a long-term disaster, the spread of bacteria such as MRSA can only get worse with reduced sanitation and possible lack of medical facilities.  For your emergency supplies, stock up on band-aids, hydrogen peroxide, Bactine, sterile gloves for your First Aid kit.  Don’t forget to stock up on water for washing, soap, and antibacterial cleaners.

Disclaimer:  I am not a healthcare professional; all recommendations are for information purposes only and not to be taken as medical advice.  Do your own research or see your doctor for specifics about MRSA if you are concerned. 


© Apartment Prepper 2012

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