Ok What is that smell?

SHTF Laboratory Ok What is that smell?

 

Last time we talked about the tools used for a SHTF lab and some of the items needed. And one set of tests that  a survival medic could handle. This week we’ll tackle a different avenue of lab diagnostics to build upon what we learned last time. The basic microscope and looking at a smear of stained blood on a slide will give you a few things. Are they anemic or are they infected. If they don’t have a lot of red blood cells they are anemic or have a leak. If they have a large amount of white blood cells they are probably infected. So with that bit of information we charge bravely into the world of microbiology. We are not going to get into a long discussion of sepsis. That is a HUGE subject that is worthy of a class all it’s own. But with our trusty microscope you can determine what type of infection and there are tables of what antibiotic works on what infections. A blood smear will not always show an increased white count, until the infection has a firm hold. For this news letter we are going to stick with some simple and common infections that as an old medic we could treat without having to pull a solider from the field and send him to the TMC.

Let’s start with what may be the most common SHTF infection. An infected wound. And probably one that was improperly cleaned and closed.

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Something like the above image.

So here we have 3 choices.

  1. Do nothing and hope for the best.
  2. Randomly select an antibiotic and hope for the best.
  3. Do a Gram Stain look at the bacteria and select the best for the job.

But wait Gram Stain? Yup Gram stain.
Grams Stain is a two color process that will dye the 2 types of bacteria. Gram Positive and Gram Negative.
Gram Positive will be purple after the staining process and Gram negative will be pink. For the most part. G+ bacteria are not pathogenic (Harmful) to humans. But don’t let that fool ya!

And G- are normally dangerous to humans
The colors do not tell which antibiotic to use. They tell what the bacteria are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is a gram stain. What is important about this is 1. the colors 2. the shapes and 3. the organization. By organization I mean are the bacteria in Clusters, Chains or Tetrads The way the “hang out” and the color is how to tell them apart with out a huge expensive microscope and YEARS of training in morphology.

Here are some images of different types of bacteria and how they join

First are some Gram Positive Cocci

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Gram Positive Rods. Now Rods can  appear in clusters and Groups, They are categorized by shape and connection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember what I said about Gram Positive ,  Normally NOT being fatal to man? These guys are.

Gram negative.  G- are Cocci and Rods like G+  But they also have

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still with me here? I know that this is bordering on information overload. Wait until the class then!! This is to show you what you can do with minimal inexpensive equipment. With a microscope some glass slides and 20 bucks in stains that if stored properly will last for years. You take a guessing game and potentially lose a patient to a educated choice and save a person AND at the same time conserve precious resources. By that I mean not throwing costly and hard to find antibiotics at an infection and hoping for the best.

The next common infection SHTF is the UTI Urinary Tract Infection.

The UTI is a very common infection and today we think nothing of. Go to the doc, they dipstick your urine send the rest off for culture and give you some Sulfa. AND 3 days later it still burns, your urine is still cloudy and you have a fever.? Why? Because your doc just did a guess since most UTI’s respond well to sulfa drugs. And he got buried in work and never read the lab report and to find out that what he thought was an E-Coli  infection (The majority are) it turned out to be A Klebsiella pneumoniae. And cephalosporins work better. But by this time you’re feverish, dehydrated disoriented and well maybe dying. IN SHTF you may not have the luxury of agar plates and antibiotic sensitivity testing. But urine in a conical tube, swung on the end of a 1 yard string will pull enough of the solids to the bottom and a quick gram stain will show that instead of the skinny rods of E-coli you have the fat rods of K-pneumoniae. And your little book of antibiotics will show you to use a cephalosporin.

But what if your patient as swelling and PAIN in certain joints and not all like arthritis? The joints are red and PAINFUL and they have never had it before. Think peeing in a cup and looking at under a microscope may help?
It may. If you see these little guys in it

 

These are Uric Acid crystals.Normally the kidneys gather the uric acid and dump it out of the body. But if the levels get high enough to cause pain you will sometimes see them in the urine.

 

 

 

 

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As you can see Ditch Micro is a HUGE subject. And one that I have been seriously thinking of doing a class on. So tune in this week to Cat Ellis The Herbal Prepper  on her show on Prepper Broadcasting network as her and I talk a bit about this very topic.

1 Image courtesy of The Medical Labs Portal

2 Images courtesy of UPenn Antibiotic Manual

3.  Image courtesy of Mad Techs

2 comments

  • Cheryl

    I am a master herbalist through Dr. Christopher’s School of Natural Healing and a 30 year student of natural healing. Especially in a survival situation, but for me in any situation, I would not use anti biotics. (Anti =Against…Bio = Life) A clove of raw garlic minced and swallowed like a pill with a couple crackers before and after, every 2 hours while awake, work better, in my opinion, than an antibiotic with no possibility of developing resistance. I did my thesis on garlic and have 30 years of extensive field work with it. Garlic does not care what strain of harmful bacteria you are dealing with. It works by depriving the bad bacteria of it’s outer membrane which suffocates it. Colloidal silver is another option though it works slower in my experience than raw fresh garlic.

    I bought a colloidal silver generator where I can make 10,000 ppm colloidal silver by the quart in 3 hours time. I did this because in an epidemic, I would soon run out of supplies. This is my insurance. It’s good to have more than one way to tackle an illness.

  • Freya Swan

    So, how good is garlic for bacteria that is internal and requires a systemic? Herbs are best when they come in contact with the effected tissue. Unless the infection is topical or somewhere in the mouth or digestive tract, garlic isn’t going to effect much change.

    Why not add more options to your herbal repertoire? Garlic is awesome, but it isn’t right for all cases.

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I am currently an Electrophysiology Tech, I work on the electrical system of the heart. I am also past EMT- P, An old combat medic. An Emergency medicine instructor, Wilderness survival instructor, Firearm instructor, prepper, scoutmaster and dad.

I have been in the medical field since 1982. I’ve seen the ravages that bullets will do to a body, and what sickness will do with out the proper training and medications. Currently I am watching how our medical system has been brought to it’s knees by greed and stupidity. I am not a doctor, and cant give medical advice or diagnose.
But I can show you how you can take care of yourself, friends and family.

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