05 August 2011

10 resources for self-reliant health and medicine

Being into self-reliance, I read Backwoods Home Magazine pretty regularly. One of their columnists, Jackie Clay, recently had an article on medical kits which I thought was great information to share. It occurred to me that it would be helpful share some of my other favorite resources on self-reliant first aid, health, and medicine too.

Bearing in mind that this page contains just my non-professional opinions, let's start with the Backwoods Home article by Jackie Clay. The title says it all: Medical kits for self-reliant families. Clay starts off giving pointers on creating a family medical kits (including a table of suggestions for a large medical kit), and then talks about learning to use the kit you create. She finishes up this long article by covering some real life medical treatment basics, including how to treat hypothermia, wounds, colds/flu, sprains, and slivers/spines. This is an excellent overview of the materials and skills that your should ideally have.

(Incidentally, Backwoods Home Magazine offers a ton of good self-reliant information, and you can buy single back issues or collected anthologies for each year of their publication.)

On the topic of first aid, there's a pretty handy website that provides basic (and free) online training for first aid and CPR at www.firstaidweb.com. The presentations are easy to use and according to the website,  all Basic Life Support procedures demonstrated in their free online course adhere to the same guidelines as the American Red Cross®.

Speaking of the American Red Cross, they have a pretty helpful online presentation that covers not only first aid kits and their use, but also talks about emergency preparedness planning as well. There are lots of linked resources within the presentation too.

While we're talking about medicine, self-reliance, and preparedness: it's helps to read up on how to handle medical issues in situations where normal professionals aren't available (e.g., if you're away from populated areas, or if there were some disaster or emergency that makes it difficult or impossible to see a professional). You can find a number of downloadable books along these lines at http://hesperian.org, including these:
Note: the above links are to the online versions of these books. You can visit Hesperian's "Downloads" page to save a PDF copy of these books, as well as a number of other health and medical titles. Adobe Reader is required to read PDF files and can be downloaded at no cost. Hesperian books are simply written and well illustrated so that people with little formal education can understand and use the health information provided. The linked page also includes most of the titles in Spanish too.

Another free online book that you may what to check out is How and When to Be Your Own Doctor by Isabel Moser and Steve Solomon. (The link provided above is to the Project Gutenberg copy of this public domain text. You can also download a PDF version that's a bit easier to read, in my opinion.) This book may not be for everyone, as it leans pretty hard toward alternative medicine. Still, the sections on Diet and Nutrition, Fasting, and Vitamins and Supplements all have some good information. However, caveat emptor.

Of  course, I prefer to have real books around too, and two that I regularly refer to are Doctor Yourself and Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition. Both of these books are helpful in taking charge of your own health. But, don't think that I'm just into alternative medicine or refuse to see a doctor. Not at all. I don't use these (or any other resources) in isolation, nor do I avoid traditional medical doctors.

However, I find it very helpful to have some idea of what might be wrong when I go see a physician. Plus, once a diagnosis is made, I like being able to read up on the problem and find out what solutions are available from both modern Western and natural/alternative medicines. Assuming personal responsibility for my health in this way is a major part of my self-reliance.

Well, that's a lot of my favorite resources on this topic... what do you prefer? Do you have some favorites you can share below?

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