Regardless of what you are preparing for, and regardless of what stage you are at on the preparedness journey, something that will never change is that people get sick.
Although many people have a medical kit that an accident and emergency department would be proud to own, that alone will not be enough.
You need to have a basic working knowledge of the medical problems that can occur from nothing more complicated than everyday life, especially when that life is lived under conditions that are so very different from those we are used to.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are not the most riveting subject but a working knowledge of the most common, and some of the most dangerous deficiency diseases is an absolute must for those trying to survive in a world without medical assistance.
Rickets is caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, or of calcium or both. It causes muscles and bones to become soft and if this occurs in a young child it can cause permanent deformities, such as bowed or bent legs.
Although for many years it was relatively rare in the west it is once again on the increase, predominantly in women from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. These women wear clothing that is all encompassing. There is generally less sunlight in the United States and the UK than there is in their homeland and so the sunlight they are exposed to in the privacy of their own homes/gardens is both weaker in strength and of less duration than they are used to. This leads to a vitamin D deficiency and in some cases is giving rise to Rickets.
The children of these women are predominantly breast-fed and this can have the knock on effect of the babies developing Rickets due to their mother’s vitamin deficiency.
Without Vitamin D calcium cannot be properly absorbed into the bones where it ‘meshes’ and gives the bones strength.
Although vitamin D is present in a wide range of foods it’s not bio-available, the body cannot use it. Sunlight converts it into its active form, which the body can use.
This makes a mockery of highly priced food products that state they have extra vitamin D.
They can fill the whole box with vitamin D but unless you put into the sunshine it won’t do you a bit of good.
Obviously the area you live and the length and severity of winter can have a major impact on the sunlight we receive.
Although vitamin D will be converted to its bio-available state far quicker during the height of summer than it will in mid-winter even weak winter sunshine will do the job, but it will do it at a slower rate.
Children, particularly if they are for whatever reason on a diet that is limited in vitamin D should be encouraged to wrap up and get outside even in winter. Just having their faces exposed for a few minutes a couple of times a week will give them a boost that’s essential for maintaining bone health.
Vitamin D is provided by the following foods:
· Cod liver oil
· Fortified breakfast cereal
· Soy milk
By making sure some or all of these foods are included in your diet the vitamin D will be ready and waiting for conversion to its bio-available form when you go outdoors.
Many deficiency diseases will be very difficult to avoid in a long-term collapse. Humans need a wide variety of foods, from all food groups in order to sustain themselves.
Great care should be taken now to plan and procure as wide a variety of foodstuffs as you can in order to avoid these debilitating and in some cases life limiting conditions.
Without exception the addition of fresh foods to our diet is the best way to ensure we are not deficient in vitamins and minerals in the long term.