Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Emergency Preparedness 1 - The Power of Salt

In a perfect world, we would all just get along, singing praise hymns as we frolic joyfully throughout our happy lives. Unfortunately we live in this world where the unthinkable can and does happen. That bites. However, there is a next best thing. It's called being prepared. There are many emergency survival instruction guides and videos out there, and I applaud them all. Here, I would like to focus on good general first aid tips just in case you find yourself in a survival situation.

The power of salt - One of the basic survival things to have around is probably already in your kitchen -salt. Salt has multiple uses ranging from allowing your body to retain water to prevent dehydration (as seen in sports drinks), to sanitation, to help in the healing of wounds and mild skin irritations. The power of salt rests in its ability to attract water molecules to itself. If you find yourself in a situation where you are at risk of being dehydrated, salt can definitely slow the process, thus helping your body hold onto water that's already there. Gatorade has about 110mg of sodium per 8oz. That would make it 0.22 teaspoons, but who cares about these exact laboratory numbers when in an emergency anyway. So to simplify, estimate a big pinch of salt for a 2 liter bottle (of Coke or whatever soda bottle you have lying around). Now, be careful not to put too much! Since salt attracts water, too much will suck the H2O right out of your cells. That is why drinking sea water will eventually kill you, when lost at sea. Now, for sanitation purposes, salt kills most bacteria the same way it does a slug. It is very effective for wounds. Putting salt can help minimize bacteria in and the surrounding tissue, as well as cauterize the injured area by drying it up.