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.
Eating a restricted diet can induce all of them. The kind of diet many of us will be eating after a societal collapse.
Nyctalopia: Night blindness, vitamin A deficiency
This may seem like an odd one to include here but I do so for a good reason.
In any kind of collapse situation we will need all our senses more than ever before and vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness. It also increases the risk of death from severe infections such as measles and diarrhoeal diseases.
Liver is one of the best foods for topping up vitamin A but pregnant women should be careful how much they consume as too much can cause fetal blindness syndrome where the child will be born blind.
Nyctalopia, night blindness is one of the first signs that someone may be lacking in vitamin A. If vitamin A intake is not increased at this time then the outer layers of the eyes become dry and thickened. They will become cloudy which will lead to total sight loss.
The sufferer’s skin will become dry and rough and they become more prone to infection as time goes on. Lack of vitamin A damages the lining of both the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract making them less effective barriers against infection.
Your mother telling you that carrots help you see in the dark is true…to an extent. The vitamin A in carrots is slightly different in its make up to the vitamin A in liver and while carrots can maintain eye health they cannot provide enough vitamin A to reduce or reverse eye damage that has already occurred.
Vitamin A can be found in the following foods:
· Liver/liver pate
· Chili powder
· Red pepper
· Cayenne pepper
· Sweet potatoes
· Dark leafy greens
· Butternut squash
· Dried herbs of most kinds
· Dried apricots
· Cantaloupe melons
Vitamin A deficiency will be easier to deal will in a collapse situation, as there is a wider variety of food it can be obtained from.
It’s important that pregnant women get small amounts regularly rather than a diet that is consistently high in vitamin A. Most vitamin supplements aimed at pregnant women do not contain vitamin A for fear that extra amounts of the vitamin, added to dietary vitamin A may affect the health of her unborn child
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.