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Watch Your Hands!
This entry was posted on February 25, 2013.
Last time I discussed washing our hands at every opportunity and in the right way.
This time, I want to touch on the subject of watching where we put our hands.
Having spent the majority of my life in the outdoor areas of North and Central Texas, I can attest that there is always ample supply of plants and critters who's only purpose for their existence (or so it seems) is to either poison you and or give you a rash such as poison ivy, poison oak, etc. And, waiting in the wings, there is always a bountiful assortment of snakes, spiders, cactus, briars, scorpions, fire ants, bees, wasps, hornets, etc. who are more than ready and willing to sting you, stab you, and stick you.
Having been exposed to all of the afore-named organisms (except spiders - a bite from a Brown Recluse or Black Widow certainly awaits me if I ain't careful) I can readily assure you that any of these exposures can ruin your day, and if you are in a Survival situation far from help and home, exposure to and your reaction to these things can be lethal to you and anyone with you.
A proper Survival mindset demands that we all take time to study the areas we will be traveling through to be aware of what sort of Creepy-Crawlies we are likely to encounter, not only at our destination, but anywhere in between where we may be stranded for an indeterminate period of time.
But no matter where you are and why you are there, it goes without saying that even if you are in your own back yard, you should always watch where you put your hands, and for that matter, where you put your feet.
When my wife and I were first married, we lived out in the mesquite and cedar breaks of Central Texas, not too far from Waco. We discovered, shortly after moving into what was basically a bedroom built into the side of an Airstream travel-trailer, that the place was already occupied by a large family of scorpions.
We learned quickly to shake-out our shoes before we put them on, to turn on a light before we walked across the floor at night, and most importantly, to check our water glass before we went to rinse our mouths out after brushing... yes, I almost drank one of the little monsters.
Despite all of our precautions, I still managed to get stung from time to time. I stepped on one in my bare feet... I rolled-over on them, I had one crawl in bed and sting me on the tip of my thumb. I can think of much worse places to get stung while in bed asleep.
Now, I know how my body will react to stings because of all the other things that have stung me. My last exposure was about 15 - 20 Yellow Jacket stings. Yes, I went into a mild anaphalactyc shock that did require a trip to the Emergency Room. Now, I set traps each spring for the little terrorists.
But, had I been in a remote area when I was stung multiple times, I may not have died, but I would have certainly been in danger, especially if I was already sick or injured.
Looking under rocks and tree limbs before we move them, shaking out our bedding before we get into it, shaking out our shoes and boots before we put them on, rolling-up our bedding tight after we get out of it for the day, looking for signs of bees and hornets.. these steps and many more can help lessen the chance that we will get stung or bit by something that could make us very sick.
I'm a big advocate of wearing gloves whenever working outside, and I also keep a pair of good gloves in my Survival / Bug-Out kits. They are too inexpensive not to keep some. A good thin but tough set of leather work gloves run about $5 and are an incredibly good investment for your Survival kit.
But if you do get stung by a poisonous insect, or bit by a venomous snake, getting out some if not most of the venom will help you heal faster and feel better quicker. An item I certainly recommend and carry in my own kit is the Sawyer Extractor Pump.http://www.adventuresurvivalequipment.com/the-extractor-pump-sawyer.html
And it works, if you follow the directions. And it is infinitely better to use this than to do the old "cut two lines in each big fang hole and suck it out with your mouth" movie-hero thing. What the movies never considered was that the "hero" was sucking out rattlesnake poison with a mouth that was full of gum disease, bleeding gums, gingivitis, trench mouth and rotten molars... in other words, he was just transferring some of the deadly poison from the victim's bloodstream to his. Now the hero and the victim can now share the same hospital room once they are rescued... if the hero lives, that is.
Seriously... learn about the poisonous wildlife of all types before you go into their habitat. Knowing how to avoid them is one more tool in your Survival kit.
BTW... Not all "Home Remedies" are useless... Chlorine bleach did dull the pain of scorpion stings and urinating on my foot after I brushed a jellyfish at Port Aransas did work on me, although I can certainly understand how the way I was staggering around while favoring my inflamed foot and then trying this remedy did look a lot different to a sober Police officer.
"Fortuna favet præparaverat - Fortune Favors the Prepared!"