Friday, February 12, 2016

The Zika Virus Meets its Match

The Zika Virus Meets its Match

The Zika Virus is spreading rapidly throughout South America. Just recently it spread to Florida, and now it's been confirmed in Indiana, Tennessee, and Ohio, too. It's spread most commonly by mosquitoes. If you're traveling to a warm area with mosquitoes, or if you just want to be prepared for summer, you'll want this high quality mosquito net with you. It's lightweight and durable, not to mention it's plenty big!

What Are the Symptoms?
Lets say even with a great mosquito net you think you have gotten infected. How do you know? What are the symptoms of the Zika Virus? I got the following from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:
  • Only 20% of infected people actually get ill
  • Fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), also muscle pain and headaches
  • Symptoms last anywhere from a few days to up to a week
  • It is rare that someone be hospitalized by the Zika virus 
Source: CDC. Public Domain
Am I at Risk?
The Zika virus isn't a problem for healthy individuals, but it can cause microcephaly in babies whose mothers get the virus while pregnant. Microcephaly causes abnormal shape to an infant's head and to their brain development. I pulled this microcephaly symptoms list from the CDC website:
  1. Seizures
  2. Developmental delay, such as problems with speech or other developmental milestones (like sitting, standing, and walking)
  3. Intellectual disability (decreased ability to learn and function in daily life)
  4. Problems with movement and balance
  5. Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing
  6. Hearing loss
  7. Vision problems
Is There a Cure?
Currently there is no vaccine. One should take care of themselves as a normal sick person would if they do get the virus. Rest and plenty of water will help.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

4 Ways to Prepare for Economic Collapse

Economic Collapse

Economic collapse. What does it mean? Will it happen? Can we stop it? These are tough questions. There is really good evidence showing that we are headed towards a global economic catastrophe. On the other hand, we may find a way to pull ourselves out of our huge global debt. No matter what the answers are, you need to be prepared. Why? Because an economic crash could be personal as well as global. The good news? You can prepare for both global and personal economic failure at the same time. That's because there are basic financial principles that everyone should live by. Here are 4 simple steps to be better prepared financially. This isn't a comprehensive list, but it's a good place to start.

1. Be debt free- Don't spend more than you make. If you do have to go into debt to buy a home or get through college, than pay it off as soon as you can. Make a habit of never carrying a balance on your credit card. Instead of buying a new car look for a used one. Being debt free relaxes a lot of your time and worries. If the market crashes then you'll be glad of having done the next step.

2. Have cash on hand- Whether you're fired or the world enters financial collapse, having cash helps you survive. Use it to buy groceries and pay the bills. As far as how much you should save, most people recommend enough cash (or other easily liquidated asset) to survive on for 3-6 months. If the global economy dives then you'll want even more, though, so it's up to each person how much they save.
3. Create an adequate food storage- The key to this one is taking it little by little. If you don't have a lot of money to buy a bunch of food storage all at once, then set aside some money each month to buy a little. To start, buy foods that your family normally eats. Once you have 3 months of that built up, start a long term storage plan. Focus on long-lasting items, such as rice, beans, wheat, oats, and pasta. Don't forget, you also need clean water!

Emergency Preparedness Gardening4. Learn how to be self-sufficient- Learn to plant a garden, harvest it, and store what you harvest by canning it. Those are the most important and basic things to do to become self-sufficent in a failed economy. Once you have those down, then you can consider how to survive without electricity, how to build a home with raw materials, etc.  You could also consider taking courses in martial arts or gun handling. Self-defense in a global crash is a very real necessity. In a personal financial crisis knowing self-defense techniques can make you confident and help you get back out there to find a new job. In addition, consider trying to find ways to have a secondary income. Learn valuable skills such as carpentry that you could use to get hired and earn extra money. My scoutmaster had a saying about how to be prepared: "The more you know the less you need." So true.
Although these are very simple steps, sometimes they can be complicated and difficult to accomplish. Don't try to do them all at once. Little by little you'll be ready for anything. Share this blog post on social media so your friends can see how simple it is to be prepared for hard economic times!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Best Ways to Filter Water in Any Situation

The Best Ways to Filter Water In Any Situation

It's a cocktail from your nightmares: diarrhea, giardiasis, fluorosis, adenovirus infection, amebiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and cholera. What do all these have in common? They are all diseases that dirty drinking water can give you. If you want to avoid them, you need to purify your drinking water. There are many methods that come in many shapes, sizes, and prices. Which one is best for you? This guide gives you your best options based on your circumstances.


You want something lightweight but still effective. Generally you only need to filter one person's worth of water since each backpacker has their own filter.
Iodine Pills
  • Iodine pills: They are affordable and easy to pack, but have a bad aftertaste
    • Cost: $7.00
    • How to use: Drop two pills into 1 quart of water. Let rest 30 minutes before drinking
  • Portable Filter: If you want good tasting water, this is your best bet. They cost more and take up more space, but last for a long time
    • Cost: $15.00 to over $100.00
    • How to use: Usually you just have to pump from a water source into your container. Some are bottles or straws with the filter built in
  • UV light: If you want a really easy method you can get a pen that emits UV light. It doesn't get rid of dirt, but kills all microorganisms
    • Cost: $50 - $70
    • How to use: Insert pen in 1 liter of water and turn on for 90 seconds


Camping generally requires more purified water than other scenarios, but you don't have the weight restriction that you have for backpacking.
  • Boiling: you can purify large amounts of water at a time without effecting the taste, and it's free!
    • Cost: $0 (assuming you already have a pot and a lid, don't forget the lid)
    • How to: Heat the water until it is at a full boil, by that time it is ready

Home Use

If the water in your city isn't that great, there are options to purify it. There are filters, these don't require electricity, which is good for emergency situations. For day to day use, there are also distillers.
  • Filter: There are plenty of mechanical filters either in the form of a pitcher or attached to the faucet. These filters work really well. 
    • Cost: $20 to over $600
    • How to: If it's a pitcher filter, then you only need to fill it up slowly and let it work. Others you have to attach to your faucet or plumbing system
  • Distiller: While this method is the most thorough and safe, it also eliminates healthy minerals in the water, so be careful
    • Cost: $100 to over $1000
    • How to: The best models will have you fill them up and then they just run automatically

Emergency Preparedness

In an emergency situation, have several of the options listed above prepared to purify water. "One is none and two is one." You don't want to be stuck without a backup plan, so redundancy is important. Just make sure you don't take two of the same, instead take two different ones. For example, I would carry a lightweight backpacking pot for boiling water. This gives me long term safe water. As back up I'd carry either a bottle of iodine pills and/or small backpacking filter.

There it is, a simple guide to filtering water anywhere!

A person holding a cup in the wilderness