Don’t Forget to Take Out The Trash

Looking for a good multi-use survival tool? Don’t ignore those trashy thoughts…

Drum liners are meant to line 55-gallon barrels and drums, though they can be used for many other applications, too. Hand one of these generously sized plastic wonders to a crafty survivalist, and he’ll only be limited by his imagination. If you weren’t a believer in the utility of drum liners before, here are 15 good reasons to toss a couple in your survival kit.

1) Solar Still: Use a clear plastic liner it to build a solar still for drinking water production. Cut open the bag and lay it over a hole in a damp, yet sunny, location. This hole should have a container inside to catch water, and the drum liner should be buried around the hole’s top perimeter. The final touch for this solar powered water machine is a small stone in the center of the plastic liner, which should create a cone shape out of the drum liner cover, pointing at the container in the hole. A productive solar still can kick out several cups of water per day.

2) Cordage: Twist strips of the plastic into a serviceable—albeit slippery—cord.

3) Sleeping Bag: Fill a drum liner with insulating material to use in place of a sleeping bag. It’s even waterproof and wind-proof. Use leaves, grasses, clothing, or crumpled paper to keep out the cold.

4) Transpiration Bag: Place the entire drum liner over a healthy, non-toxic tree branch in a sunny spot. Tie the mouth of the bag shut around the branch and let the water vapor from the leaves condense and run to a low point in the bag for several hours. This water is ready to drink, though it will probably only be a few ounces. Move the liner to a new tree branch each day for best results.

5) Rain Jacket/Poncho: Poke a head-size hole in the bottom of a drum liner and pull it over you to ward off  rain, sleet, snow or wind.

6) Igloo Window: Igloos and snow caves can be dark, cold, gloomy places. With a panel of clear drum liner plastic, you can build a window to let in light while keeping out the wind and cold. Optimal placement for such a window is on the south side of the shelter, as it will receive the most sunlight.

7) Rain Catch: Place the liner in a hole in the ground or other low spot to catch precipitation.

8) Food Storage: Cut the drum liner into sections sized to fit the foods you have. Bundle up these plastic sections with string, twist ties or tape. They’ll keep your food clean, dry, and separated.

9) Brewery: A common brewing container in prisons is a simple plastic bag. Scale it up at home with a big drum liner, and you’ll be able to get your whole neighborhood tanked up. Mix up your mash, beer, or wine in a food-grade bucket, set it inside the drum liner, and loosely close it with a bag tie. Carbon dioxide will seep out of the bag opening, despite the bag tie, but it will allow the completion of fermentation and prevent spoilage after fermentation.

10) Shelter Door: Regardless of the survival shelter you have made, you’ll still need a door for warmth and weather-proofing. Attach a drum liner to the top of your door frame. Then you can go in and out under it, like the flap on a dog door.

11) Bug Harvester: Wrangle some bugs for food or bait after dark with a clear drum liner and a flashlight. Suspend the liner with the opening facing upward. Turn on a flashlight and drop it into the open bag. Wait for the bugs to arrive in the dark, close the bag, and squeeze out the air to examine your haul.

12) Boot liners: Turn the drum liner into boot liners by cutting the corner sections to wrap around your socks inside your boots.

13) Fish trap: Use a few sticks and string to build a small frame to hold the liner mouth open. Attach that frame to the bag. Poke enough tiny holes in the bottom of the clear liner to allow ample water to flow through the bag. Stake the bag in place underwater in a slow-moving waterway and watch the small fish and crawdads pile up.

14) Temporary Backpack: Sling the bag over your shoulder and haul your supplies from one camp to the next like Santa.

15) Flotation Device: A drum liner full of air will keep you afloat if you find yourself adrift.

I Thought That Squirrel Tasted Funny…

Nausea and Vomiting…

We are constantly being harassed and bombarded by invaders: allergens and “stuff” in the air that are trying to get a foothold in us and cause problems. One of our first lines of defense is to simply expel these invaders and send them back to where they came from. These defenses consist of sneezing, to blow them out of our nose; coughing, to rid our lungs of the pests; having bouts of diarrhea to clear out our intestinal tract; and vomiting, to empty the stomach and upper small intestine.

Sneezing, coughing, and diarrhea can be a bit of nuisance, but nausea and vomiting are things we would all like to avoid.

Two of the most common symptoms associated with illness and stress are nausea and vomiting. Their causes are many and include infections, viruses, food poisoning, appendicitis, and peritonitis, as well as motion sickness, intestinal blockage, concussion, migraines, and anxiety. These symptoms can also indicate very serious life-threatening illnesses such as a heart attack, meningitis, encephalitis, kidney disease, liver disease, brain tumors, or cancer.

Nausea is that vague uneasy sensation that you are going to vomit. Vomiting is the action by which the stomach contents are expelled out of the mouth. The sensation of nausea and the action of vomiting are controlled by the vomiting center in the brain, the Area Postrema.

The Area Postrema receives signals from four locales around the body. Three are in the gastrointestinal tract: the mouth, stomach, and intestines. These react to taste, as well as toxins in food which can cause food poisoning. The fourth locale is the brain, which constantly monitors the bloodstream for the chemicals of infections as well as certain medications that can cause nausea and vomiting.

The vestibular (balance) apparatus in the ears, when out of kilter, can also cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. And the brain can even induce nausea and vomiting from unpleasant sights, smells, and even thoughts.

Nausea and vomiting are symptoms of an underlying problem. Fortunately, the problem is usually benign and self-limiting. The primary concerns are the risks of dehydration from not drinking and electrolyte depletion from vomiting. If associated with diarrhea, the loss of electrolytes becomes an even greater risk. How do you get fluids into someone who is nauseous and throwing up?

The Principles of Managing Nausea and Vomiting

Try to prevent dehydration by taking small sips of a clear fluid often. This is preferred to drinking a larger volume less frequently because an upset stomach will only tolerate small amounts of fluid. Drink liquids such as water, ginger ale, fruit juices, or electrolyte drinks like Gatorade. Cold fluids are tolerated better than hot fluids.

Electrolyte solutions are commonly referred to as oral rehydration solutions and they contain small amounts of sugar (carbohydrates), salt (sodium and chloride), and potassium. Electrolytes are charged ions in the blood and tissues are that responsible for nerve and cardiac electrical impulses, muscle contraction, and gates or channels in cell membranes. They are vital. The most important electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium, and depletion of these will affect homeostasis (the ability to maintain stable internal physiological conditions).

Remedies for Nausea

Herbal

Dilute solutions of a ginger, peppermint, or chamomile tea will help to control nausea.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medications

Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) will help to calm the stomach and control diarrhea. Pepto-Bismol cannot be used in someone who is allergic to aspirin. It should also not be used in children and teenagers younger than 18 years old if there is a chance that the illness is associated with viral influenza or chickenpox, due to the risk of Reye’s Syndrome, a life threatening encephalopathy.

OTC antihistamines such as dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine, and meclizine may help with nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness.

Prescription Drugs for Nausea and Vomiting

A variety of medications for nausea and vomiting are used depending on the underlying diagnosis and cause. Two of the most common drugs for treating nausea and vomiting are Phenergan and Compazine. Both are available as suppositories so they will not contribute to the problem of nausea.

  • Phenergan (promethazine) suppository 25mg, one per rectum every 12 hours as needed for nausea and vomiting.
  • Compazine (prochlorperazine) suppository 5mg, one per rectum every 12 hours as needed for nausea and vomiting.

Once the patient is feeling better and their appetite has returned, advance the diet slowly with small quantities of bland food, such as the BRAT diet – Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Avoid greasy, hard-to-digest foods for 24 hours.

When to Seek Help

 The vast majority of the time the causes of nausea and vomiting are benign and self-limiting. However, it is time to seek help if the nausea and vomiting are associated with:

  • a fever greater than 102.5°F/39°C
  • a change in level of consciousness
  • seizure activity
  • bright red blood or digested blood (the latter looks like coffee grounds) in the vomitus
  • vomiting that is frequent and copious and causes the patient to become progressively dehydrated symptoms lasting more than 24 hours that are not easily controlled.