These Are the Diseases That Will Run Rampant When the SHTF

Most people like to think that if society collapsed, the most common cause of death would be at the hands of other people. They like to imagine that the apocalypse will be filled with action packed shootouts and marauding gangs of looters. Obviously there would be a lot of violence if society collapsed, but the truth of the matter is that violence would be a secondary concern.

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Mother Nature Has Plans of Her Own

This is evident if you only take a quick look throughout history. During the most tumultuous times in human history, it wasn’t violence that killed the most people, but disease and starvation. Even during war, when violence reached its apex, most of the soldiers didn’t die from violence, and that remained the case until the 20th century. During the American Civil War for instance, for every three soldiers who died on the battlefield, five died of disease.

It’s important to remember that if society were to collapse, it would be tantamount to traveling back in time to when modern amenities didn’t exist. And without those amenities, there are a ton of pathogens that can kill you. So before you blow your entire prepping budget on guns and body armor, consider some of the many unglorified ways that the collapse of society could cut you down.

These are the Seven Likely Causes of Death When the SHTF

1. Superbugs

The world was a hell of a scary place before the invention of antibiotic medications. Any nick or scratch could lead to an untreatable infection, and communicable diseases often ran rampant. Nowadays our antibiotics can treat these diseases, but just barely. As various strains of bacteria become immune to these treatments, we’re rapidly approaching a post-antibiotic world that looks an awful lot like the old world. If society collapses then these souped up diseases are going to be unleashed without any inhibitions. Tuberculosis, staph, typhoid, strep throat, MRSA, and E. Coli will become all too common.

2. Water-Related Illness

If society collapses, people are going to suddenly find themselves reliant on local water sources, and unfortunately those water sources are going to be contaminated. It’s often the case that natural ponds and stream are already unsafe to drink, but the same disaster that cuts off your tap is going to make that water even more dangerous.

Without running water, people will be forces to leave their waste in their immediate environment, where it will likely mingle with local water sources. This among other unsanitary conditions can cause a whole host of water-borne diseases including gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, intestinal parasites, Diphtheria, cholera, typhoid, and even polio. Here are 9 common water-borne illnesses to prepare for in a disaster scenario.

3. Mosquitoes and Rats

It takes all the might of modern civilization just to keep certain pests in check. But when the garbage trucks stop showing up and the swimming pools turn green, you can bet that the rats and mosquitoes will proliferate like crazy. And they’ll be carrying diseases that are the stuff of nightmares. Rats will carry the hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, and the plague; and in North America, mosquitoes will most likely be carrying dengue fever. Here are some tips to rat-proof your preparedness supply closet.

4. Cold Weather

A lot of people will be forced to go without adequate shelter after the collapse. So when winter arrives, you’re going to see a lot more weather related ailments. We’re all very familiar with flu season, but most people don’t realize that cold weather conditions can spawn numerous diseases, most of them respiratory related. Between the lack of sunlight, people crowding indoors, and the poor circulation caused by cold weather, there will be more cases of strep throat, pneumonia, croup, bronchiolitis, ear infections, and the stomach flu. To prepare for this, understand that hospitals and medical care may not be available (or too dangerous to get to). You may want to consider storing natural remedies, herbal poultices and tinctures to assist in these cold weather ailments.

5. Malnutrition

In a roundabout way, malnutrition would probably be the leading cause of disease after the SHTF. That’s because your diet is tightly linked to the quality of your immune system, so if you’re not getting enough calories, protein, vitamins or minerals, you’re more susceptible to every ailment under the sun. However, malnutrition is most associated with conditions like scurvy, rickets, pellagra, goiters, and beriberi.

6. Cadavers

The collapse of society would destroy every kind abundance that the modern world provides us, and in return, the only thing that would be in abundance are the dead. Dead bodies, especially the kind that were infected with disease to begin with, pose a serious health threat. Without a functioning society, and with bodies piling up faster than they can be buried or cremated, these cadavers would litter our towns and cities, and would most likely pose a serious threat to local water supplies.

7. Disease

Overshadowing many of these medical ailments will be disease. In fact, many believe that disease would be the real killer if the world fell apart and would dwarf the number of casualties caused by violence. Diseases are opportunists and tend to surface at a time the conditions are right for them to flourish. A long-term emergency would be just the right time, wouldn’t you say? These 10 diseases could become common medical emergencies. Make sure you have a well supplied medical closet and a sick room prepared for these issues.

There is a Silver Lining

As bleak as that sounds however, there is a silver lining. Prepping to prevent disease and infection is a lost less intimidating, and a lot more affordable than preparing to face-off against your fellow-man.

In fact, it’s as simple as stocking up on very general supplies that you should be accumulating anyway. Having plenty of food, toiletries, basic medical supplies, and water purification tools, will go a long way toward keeping you safe from the ravages of disease.

Resources:

The Prepper’s Blueprint: A Step-by-Step Preparedness Guide to Get Through Any Disaster

The One-Year Pantry, Layer by Layer

The Prepared Home: 50 Essential Items to Put in Your Ultimate Survival Medical Kit

52 Weeks to Preparedness: An Emergency Preparedness Plan For Surviving Virtually Any Disaster

The 4 Most Likely Ways You Can Die If the SHTF

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 13th, 2017
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  • IM Sayldog

    Might I add that there will be a whole lot more of the kinds of personal creepy-crawlers that are already seeing an upsurge even during these pre-collapse days. Things like head lice and bed bugs will require special attention and the preps to deal with them. Is there a fine toothed metal head lice comb in your preps?
    And I would also urge post-collape restraint in the culling or hunting for food of feral felines. They may be our best defense against rodents in a prolonged SHTF world.

  • Rob

    Since there will be no trash pick up, dig a latrine or at least a hole both for trash and bathroom needs. You aren’t finished yet, pour lye on whatever is in there. A couple of other ways to keep rats (thus their fleas) away is either pour urine around or from personal experience, they don’t like tin foil and wires.

  • wandakate

    Informative, however what about thousands that will die from lack of medicine? Many people take prescription medicines for many things, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure just to name a few, depression medicine, ADHD medicine for children, and what about pain killers? Also many are on kidney machines, or even oxygen.
    In a SHTF situation they’re NOT going to have access to any of these things, thus death will follow them in a short span of time.
    I was thinking also about people who smoke, drink beer, wine, alcohol, do drugs, none of those things are going to be available when this happens, therefore you can expect many crazy people out there who will have withdrawal symptoms from lack of their “habit” goodies. Not to mention children, teenagers and young adult who wouldn’t know how to survive without their almighty cell phone and their texting and e-mailing constantly.
    People I venture to say will be a hazard for sure. How crazy will they be when they can’t get their “fix”, whatever it may be? Food for thought.
    Our only preparedness that will last is our eternal preparedness/ spiritual preparedness. Making sure we know where we’ll spend eternity would be on my high list of priorities…

  • Ken Lowder

    The biggest thing to prevent outbreaks is sanitation. Biblical sanitation as found in the old testiment. Folks hated the “Jews” because the didn’t succumb to things like the rest of the folks during the Middle Ages. The common excuse was ‘witchcraft’ but biblical sanitation was the real reason. Add some herbal oils and honey for wounds and life will be less hazardous.

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