Like Rats? I don’t.

CAUTION. Long article so stock up on tea and biscuits.

Them damn things are everywhere and we’ve had the black, brown and the weirdest of dappled thing which executed a perfect back flip tucked double somersault as it thought it could run along the fence at the end of the garden with immunity from prosecution but caught a 22 behind its ear.

I loath them but know that for every one you see, the experts guess that there are at least ten watching doesn’t exactly surprise me. Probably the worse thing for me is their ability to survive on stuff that would make a goat puke and that they thrive in disaster, let alone war. That and how easily they grow immune to rat bait (poison), although that is a direct result in not leaving the bait down long enough to kill all comers!

The health dangers they pose are well-known but how many prep for them?
Do you know how to trap them, how to drown them, what to do without poisons?
After all shooting them (although fun and deeply satisfying) is a waste of ammo and even with a 22, that ‘fun’ can led to unwanted attention.

I’m a fan of snare and dangle when it comes to austere trapping rats as it occasionally catches something edible and sort of safe. but what are you facing aka know your enemy.

Teeth that can chew though steel, carriers of disease which demand antibiotic treatments which means, in an austere scenario, exposure to their urine, waste (poo), oil from their fur, ticks and fleas they can carry, or by consuming ‘nibbled’ or contaminated food could be fatal.

An adult can weigh 1 to 2 pounds, and a body that can grow to 10-14 inches long excluding the tail. Having said that they can squeeze through the smallest of holes.
Why work easily in both the day and night.
Add something that is strongly Neophobic (an inbuilt fear of anything new) and trapping them ain’t easy.

This is no push over folks!

So what’s the common things to think about to discourage them?
One of the usual is to keep clean, uncluttered accommodation.
Keep your store rooms secure and contents in glass or steel bins.
Never leave food stuff just lying around.
Clean up and put away when preparing and cooking.
Wash raw or foraged foodstuff before preparation.
Eat then, not later, and clear away before carrying on your day.
Transport waste WAY AWAY from where you are living before going to sleep or when leaving your shelter for ANY length of time.
Difficult as it might seem, protect your water sources and storage.
That also includes washing bottles AND CANS before opening and drinking from them.

It’s said rats won’t attack you. WRONG!
Cornered, or you stationary for too long, or when asleep, and you are fair game to a rat.

First Aid When Bitten or Scratched.
Control the bleeding and clean the wound with soap and warm water.
Clean inside the wound, being sure to rinse away all the soap.
Cover the wound with a clean, dry dressing.
You can put antibiotic ointment on the wound before covering.
Rat bites often lead to infection.
If the injury is on a finger, remove all rings from the injured finger before it swells.
Watch for these signs of infection: Redness, Swelling, Localized Heat, and Weeping pus.
If infected think Antibiotics.

So what can you catch?

  • Streptobacillary rat bite fever.
    Symptoms usually occur 3-10 days after an infected rat bite.
    Muscle ache, vomiting, joint pain, headache, fever, and rash are common symptoms of .
  • Spirillary rat bite fever.
    Symptoms may occur one to three weeks after an infected rat bite.
    Repetitive fever, an ulcer at the site of the bite, swelling, swollen lymph nodes and rash.
  • Leptospirosis and Hantavirus. The saliva of rats carries these two.
  • Tetanus infections.
    Cause. From a scratch, bite, cut, or graze, and contact from anything dirty, which may be what a rat has been foraging through.
    Symptoms of tetanus appear anytime from a few days to several weeks.
    The average incubation is seven to 10 days
    Common symptoms include:
    Spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, Stiff neck and abdominal muscles, Difficulty swallowing, and Random pain.
  • Plague. From what it carries in the form of ticks and fleas.
    Bubonic Plague.
  • Sudden onset of fever and chills, Headache, Fatigue or malaise, Muscle aches. Visually – swollen and tender lymph nodes — called buboes — in the groin, armpits or neck.
    Septicemic plague occurs when plague bacteria multiply in your bloodstream.
    Symptoms: Fever and chills, Extreme weakness, Abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
    Bleeding from your mouth, nose or rectum, or under your skin. Shock!
    Blackening and death of tissue (gangrene) in your extremities, most common in fingers, toes and nose. BARRIER NURSING.
    Pneumonic plague affects the lungs and it’s airborne (droplet infectious).
    Signs and symptoms can begin within a few hours after infection.
    Difficulty breathing, Nausea and vomiting, High fever, Headache, Weakness, Chest pain, Cough, with bloody mucus (sputum). Respiratory failure and shock within two days of infection. FULL BARRIER, respirators, the works.
    Needs to be treated with antibiotics within a day after signs and symptoms first appear. Or it is likely to be fatal.

You’ll probably notice I haven’t listed treatments.
But you all have a copy of “Where there are no Doctors” to hand or an equivalent. Haven’t you?

So having scared you onto the toilet for a long sit, lets look at what rat ‘sign’ looks like.
They usually run along the same tracks leaving a telltale smear over time.
Their footprint is a four-toed front and five-toed back footprint.

Feet and that loathsome tail marks.
Tracks will have signs of gnawing along those tracks. (DIY Teeth Care)
Not forgetting rat scat and urine scent marking stains (Don’t sniff or touch!).
Scat is skinny pellets, usually about 10 mm long and 3 mm across but the size will vary.
Rounded tips. Fresh dark brown, but they get lighter with age.

PPE for rats.
Whoops, I meant what you should have when dealing with rats.
Gloves and HEAVY DUTY TYPE. Think welders grade, long wrist cuffs.
I also wear a pair of nitrile med.inspection gloves underneath as rat piss can soak through leather. Me, paranoid? You think!
A good quality FFP3 / N95 or N100 OIL RESISTANT mask.
Safety glasses, snug fitting wrap round.
When working in dusty conditions, contaminated material in the eyes is rather like mainlining bacteria into you.
BOOTS, rigger boots preferred. Steels with instep safety.
Why? Stepping on a nail could inject their ‘product’ into your foot.
Overalls, I use disposable hooded type. After all what’s a few dollars over your health.
I also tape the overalls to my boots and gloves. That’s not so much to stop the rats looking for nuts, but dust can reach you in a windy hazardous scenario.
A pair of tongs and a hammer handle.
NEVER pick up a rat, dead or alive with your hands.
They can be stunned by pellets or slugs and awake in your grasp.
They also twitch and can force-ably defecate and urinate in their death throes.
The hammer handle? A secondary wack on their head can save you from a stunned rat.
Lastly (but optional) Get your tetanus booster updated.

The only thing I haven’t talked about in-depth is trapping.
If you are a fortress type prepper, you’ll probably have traps as part of your inventory.
If you aren’t ‘home based’, you may have to improvise.
I’ll make a few traps up and photograph them. They all work although farm rats can get BIG!
If you cage trap, to kill them, DROWN THEM overnight. Only remember the water will be bio hazardous to you after their long soak.
If they are ‘trap dead’, burn the carcasses. Rats will eat rats.
Think of them like politicians and leave nothing for the next generation to feed off.

1300 words, whoops sorry, but they do present a clear and present danger to the survivor.


Ebola and politics

THE EBOLA outbreak currently raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo is in danger of spiraling out of control as a result of an ongoing election dispute, which health officials say is damaging public trust in the authorities.

This is what happens when you use the word “Democratic” and Africa in the same line.

The worst case scenario is that political instability remains, mistrust grows and then there’s nothing to stop the epidemic getting embedded into a big urban center and taking off as it did in West Africa ( Infectious disease expert Jeremy Farrar )

If I may, there is a solution to all this.
Remove ALL aid and just let Ebola do it’s thing.
What I’m being callous?
You can’t help those who won’t accept, reject, ignore, or attack help.
After all I’m looking at pictures of destroyed medical facilities by ‘demonstrators’.
As for those who want help? Time they sorted out those who don’t.

Ebola will burn out after ‘a little bit of population control’ with the only problem being keeping it ‘in country’. History has proven that.

Only please, let’s not send our troops in to a hot zone again.
All that does is endanger the civilized world when they return home.
That and before it gets too out of hand introduce a total block on travel to and from the hot zones. 10 years should just about cover it.

Ebola, an elegant and resilient disease

It’s been a while since I last talked about Ebola (EVD) but things aren’t getting better in Africa

Current status of infections.

The WHO quoted as reporting:-
As of 10 November 2018, there have been a total of 329 EVD cases, including 294 confirmed and 35 probable cases. To date, confirmed cases have been reported from 14 health zones: Beni (153), Mabalako (73), Butembo (34), Kalunguta (9), Masereka (4), Vuhovi (3), Oicha (2), Kyondo (2), Komanda (1), Musienene (1) and Mutwanga (1) in North Kivu Province; and Mandima (9) and Tchomia (2) in Ituri Province.

A total of 205 deaths were recorded, including 170 among confirmed cases, resulting in a case fatality ratio among confirmed cases of 57% (170/294).

It’s no longer isolated, it’s spreading. Yet I’m not so worried about them who live there, I’m more concerned about foreign health workers who fly in to help others.

For instance:-
Two new health workers were affected on 9 November 2018, bringing the total number of health workers affected to 30, including 29 confirmed, and three deaths.
That is important especially regarding workers who are coming back into in country.

We had a couple here in the UK. a nurse had it, was ‘cured’ but relapsed and was re-hospitalized. Why? Because Ebola is an elegant virus as it can hide, it appears ‘cured’, then erupts again.

My concern is with our healthcare system.
It’s in chaos, undermanned, being run down by not enough funding, and diagnostically (for some) an absolute nightmare. We have a standing doctor count which is partially made up of clinicians coming from various countries, with different levels of training, some with dubious qualifications, but I won’t go into the numbers of foreign fake and poor doctors that have been struck off.

I can go further and will hightlight a current and critical failure which could help this virus. The government hasn’t sourced enough flu vaccines, which it uses (supposedly updated) every year. So the media is warning of a bad time this winter. That actually isn’t unusual now as UK resources and effectiveness is horribly regional in its quality and effectiveness.

So what are the symptoms of Ebola (EVD)?
FIRSTLY people with Ebola are not contagious or infectious until after they begin showing signs and symptoms of the disease.

The first signs of EVD are fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and a sore throat.
Curiously the same symptoms as flu.

The chances are most doctors surgeries won’t even bother to see you UNLESS you point out you’ve been in an Ebola Hot Area. Even then there are few hospitals with the facilities to diagnosis that illness from a blood sample and unless the sick are contained as soon as they become symptomatic, everyone they come into contact with is in danger.

Do I need to worry, does anyone?
To me EVD isn’t very clever as it kills an average of 50% it infects BUT those who are ‘cured’ aren’t, and in my mind, may never be ‘safe’ to approach again.

Especially if medical care drops to austere post apocalyptic levels.

As a prepper trying to work out our salvation, I think in terms if CBRN.
Chemical, Biological, Radio-logical, and Nuclear contaminates.
As Ebola is so aggressive BUT can hide in a living host, just when would it be safe to interact with anyone? Some are talking years but there are others diseases that can lay dormant for years like Anthrax. The spores can sit in soil for decades.

To me most biological agents are TEOTWAWKI territory and a possible stand off scenario where the only choice is isolation, possibly for ever.

Day whatever and I feel terrible

SWMBO reckons I’ve had this damn cold for over a week!
If this had been a simple zombie virus I wouldn’t be feeling anything by now but oh boy, this I’m feeling big time.

My nose looks like I’ve taken 50 grade sandpaper to it, and toilet rolls are on the shopping list AGAIN as I’m using one every couple of days as nose roll.

Menthol and Eucalyptus suckers are expended (that’s way into dangerous as they are keeping me breathing), our second jar of honey is only half full (warm milk and honey for the throat), paracetamol is rattling well inside me, and the bed gets stripped everyday as it’s getting too damp to simply air!!

A plus is my weight is down to 170 lbs. 77 kg.

I curse you hospitals for letting little old grannies in with flu type bugs hawking and coughing all over the other patients and family in an airless waiting room.

The consolation is we’ve had the flu jab.
The bad news is it has just been announced that it wasn’t right up to date.

Gawd I miss boat living!

Dirty Hospitals

More than 3 million operations and cancer treatments a year in England may become life-threatening without antibiotics. Public Health England warned that cases of antibiotic-resistant blood infections have risen by more than a third in just four years.

Probably sepsis being the rising star in hospitals.

Truth is if you enter an NHS hospital you will be exposed to all sorts of pathogens before you even sit down! Then, on sitting down, will bring you in to contact with droplet infections from the furniture, let alone the other people present, let alone opening doors, and not forgetting the biggest sin bin of the lot, their public toilets.

Only it doesn’t stop there.
Once on the wards, it takes an exceptional hospital to have a clean floor, washing facilities, and common rooms. Nurses are chasing their tails all day coming into contact with everyone increasing the danger of cross infections. Few wear gloves as part of their duties, those who do never seem to change those gloves as they wander around!

As for operating theaters?
You get wheeled there though open corridors, into a multi-use room, using instruments that have been ‘sterilized’ again, and again, so you’ve got to be wondering just when the time limit for reuse is ever reached!
Once out of the recovery room (never a ‘nice place’) you get wheeled back through those same corridors into the ward.

Only getting a dressing changed on the ward is fraught with danger.
An example. I saw a man having a shoulder dressing changed while a cleaner was DUSTING the curtain rail he was sat alongside.
Airborne dust mites plain to see in the sunshine.
One duster, the whole ward.
I stopped a doctor from examining a wound on me because he hadn’t washed his hands, let alone donned gloves, before touching me. There was an uproar about that too!

Bottom line? If you don’t have to go into these bio-hazardous buildings don’t.
Your home is probably cleaner and safer than the hospitals.
Hell I’ve been in military receiving stations in tents, and veterinary surgeries that work cleaner than most NHS hospitals do.

But is this purely the fault of bad management, under funding, or just shit standards?
Not entirely.
Antibiotic development is practically ZERO nowadays.
The money is in others drugs like statins and whatever else the medical world’s ‘must have’ money maker is. So actually the fault (if it can be apportioned on anyone) is Big Pharma and their profit margins.

Only something can be done about that.
For instance.
What if pharmaceutical firms could only trade in the UK or other ‘enlightened countries’ if it developed one new antibiotic every year?
A firm doing that would clean up against the opposition in quick time.
Thus you’re back into a competitive world forced to churn out new more practical drugs. That alone would produce new antibiotics at a faster rate than ever before.

Only that would take strong political will to enforce.
Politicians, strength of will, and who actually look after the people?
Na, nice thought but it’ll never happen.
Why? Big Pharma, like big business, own the politicians.


Go to hospital, get ill.

I’m livid today.
A week or so ago, SWMBO ended up in hospital for a check up with chest pains.


They treated her abysmally, failed to support her physically despite having a bad reaction to the morphine the ambulance had given her and from there it went downhill! It took three non English speaking doctors, from three nationalities, to work out a case of chronic reflux.

So when I went to pick her up having lost it with some jumped up little bedpan engineer who wouldn’t tell me what was going on over the phone, SWMBO was just a ‘little’ pleased when I walked into the room where she had been sat for over 4 hours on a seat that would have pleased the Marquis de Sade in it’s uncomfortable design.

She was discharged in minutes and out of the door some 30 seconds later.
Past the United Nations version of doctoring in the UK (not one white, English speaking in a form we could understand, doctor in the place) and down a elevator that banged and clattered like it too was on it’s last legs!

Only that wasn’t the end of it.
Opposite to her was an old dear who reportedly came in with the flu and was plonked on the same type of chair in the same open area as SWMBO with others who were extremely poorly. How stupid was that!
She coughing and spluttering over everyone going near her and probably filling the room with her virus laden coughing.

The hospitals answer to infection control appears to be give everyone a dose!

As a result, SWMBO’s picked up whatever bug the old dear had and boy is she suffering. Problem is, she being a sharing type of person, I’m going down with it too!

Strike two for me. I went with SWMBO to another hospital (Gloucester), the second UN casualty receiving hospital I have encountered, when she was having cancer treatment. I sat waiting for her in a common area, not drinking or eating, and still picked up a dose of Norwark viruses projectile vomiting and worse from the other end for sitting on a chair for all of 5 minutes.

So now I get funny looks when entering a hospital wearing a FFP3 face mask and nitrile gloves. That and washing everything I had on and having a decontamination shower on entering our home, carefully leaving my footwear outside for decontamination aka a wash down with the garden hose and loads of bubbles from the washing up liquid!

Sigh. I’m now remembering the Russian aid station my friends took me to years ago after being refused treatment by the ‘allies’ with fondness.
It may have been basic, but it was CLEAN, and super efficient.
Russian ‘English’ but understandable in an US accent sort of way.
Then there was the Chinese doctor I saw in Hong Kong.
Clean, bright premises, efficient, and speaking better English than I can.

Still we have worked out a plan for future treatment and it only uses minor injuries units close to hospitals we actually trust if either of us needs a deeper level of  treatment. One 15 miles away, one 17 miles away, and two hospitals 40/42 miles to the South and West of us.

Will we EVER call an ambulance again?Ask me another when I’ve finished
wetting my pants with laughter.