SHTF Survival: How to Prevent Infections

Storing medical supplies, especially antiseptic is a must when planning for an emergency event where hospitals and other types of medical care will be difficult to access. We all know that accidents happen, but when they get infected then they become life threatening.

Those that are preparing for short term and long term disasters more than likely have begun stocking up on certain supplies, such as bleach, water and baking soda mainly due to their versatility. But did you know that when these three items are combined together, they create a powerful antiseptic that can save a life? This antiseptic, otherwise known as Dakin’s Solution (diluted sodium hydrochlorite solution 0.5%) can be used to kill most bacterias and viruses.

This antiseptic was first discovered during World War I, when doctors on the battlefield were trying to find ways to kill germs and prevent bacterial related infections, such as gangrene and putrefaction from setting in. Doctors found that when they used Dakin’s solution before and after surgical procedures and for wound irrigation the patient’s condition improved. It was most beneficial after the wound had been adequately cleaned and foreign material and dead tissue had been removed.

Uses For Dakin’s Solution

  • Minor scrapes
  • Skin and tissue infections
  • Can be used before and after surgical procedures to prevent infection
  • Can be used as a mouth wash (should not be swallowed)
  • Used as a wound irrigator solution to clean wounds
  • Can be applied as a wet-to-moist dressing for wounds

Supplies Needed:

  • Sodium hydrochlorite solution at 5.25% (Bleach-unscented)
  • Baking soda
  • Clean tap water
  • Clean pan with lid
  • Sterile measuring cups and spoons
  • Sterile jar with a sterile lid
  • Label for jar to label antiseptic,date, time and discard date

To Make Solution:

1.  Wash your hands well with soap and water.
2.  Measure out 32 ounces (4 cups) of clean water.  Pour into a clean pan and allow water to boil for  15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. 
3.  Using a sterile measuring spoon, add 1/2 tsp. of of baking soda to the water. 
4. Measure the bleach according to the strength that is desired: 

     – For full strength – add 3 oz. bleach or 95 ml.
     – For 1/2 strength – add 3 tbls. + 1/2 tsp. or 48 ml.
     – For 1/4 strength – add 1 tbls. +2 tsp. or 24 ml.
     – For 1/8 strength – add 2 1/2 tsp. or 12-14 ml.

5.  Place the solution in a jar and close it tightly with a sterile lid. Cover the closed jar with tin foil to protect it from sunlight. 
6.  Throw away any unused portion of the antiseptic within 48 hours of use.  This solution can be made up to a month prior to using and stored away.

According to WebMD, “The body’s own wound-healing tissues and fluids can decrease the antibacterial effect of Dakin’s solution. Therefore, this solution is often used only once daily for minor wounds and twice daily for heavily draining or contaminated wounds… Additionally, protect the surrounding healthy skin with a moisture barrier ointment (i.e. petroleum jelly) or skin sealant as needed to prevent irritation.”

Additional Information on Dakins Solution

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 17th, 2010
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  • Dan

    To eliminate any potential confusion over an apparent typo, common bleach is sodium hypochlorite”. Also, concentrations vary by manufacturer, so if the bleach is (for instance) a 7% solution, some additional math would be necessary to follow the recipe for bleach at 5.25%.

    • nicmart

      Sodium hydrochlorite is not the same chemical as bleach.

  • laura m.

    Another new treatment (medical break thru) for serious infections- only if hospitals are open during a disaster, is to irrigate with Neutro Phase used for flushing out serious infections like Nec. Fasciitis or A-Strep. (drug co is Nova Bay Pharm.) But in a shtf situation, I printed info above for emergency cases if things shut down as this would be the only alternative to stop a serious infection.

  • nicmart

    There is a dilute bleach spray, Chlorox Anywhere, which it sells for hard surface sanitizing, but which could be used as an antiseptic. It has 0.0095% sodium hypochlorite, sodium chloride, and sodium carbonate.

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