If there’s anything that COVID has shown us, it’s the fragility of our medical system. Early on in the pandemic, before we really knew what we were dealing with, health officials started calling for lockdowns so that the hospitals wouldn’t be overrun.
That first lockdown was extended over and over again, but the hospitals were able to keep up with the number of COVID patients coming to their doors. Later, when the second surge of cases came, they didn’t do so well and they haven’t done any better with the third surge that is still going on as of this writing.
Part of the problem was capacity. Hospitals are businesses and they are built to handle the number of cases they expect to receive. Empty hospital beds, just like empty hotel beds, don’t generate any revenue; so hospitals can’t afford to just have a few hundred extra rooms and beds, “just in case.”
Another piece of the puzzle was that during the first surge of the disease, hospitals all but shut down for anything but COVID, sending other patients home and canceling other services, especially elective services, to make room for COVID patients.
But that had its own price, as people didn’t receive the medical help they needed for other ailments. Eventually, the hospitals had to stop that policy as it was affecting the health of patients who were not getting the services they needed.
That, in turn, led to the shortage of hospital beds in the second and third surges of the disease. As cases started rising again, hospitals were taxed to their limits, trying to take care of their patients. More and more people with COVID were sent home to recuperate, saving the beds for only the most severe cases.
Keep in mind that I’m talking about a disease that kills only two percent of the people who come down with it. As of this writing, just shy of 13 percent of our total population has been diagnosed with the disease. That means that only 0.2 percent of the population has died of it.
What would happen if a more easily transmitted and more deadly disease swept across our country? Would we see something like the Black Plague, where medical people were abandoning their posts out of fear for their own lives? Would we see a total collapse of our medical system?
What Should We Each Do in Such a Case?
As a society, we have become perhaps a bit too dependent on our medical professionals.
I don’t mean to malign them in any way, but we expect to go to them for every little problem, seeking an answer.
Yet that wasn’t possible through most of world history and even today there are large parts of the globe where people rarely go to doctors. They either treat family members at home or possibly end up dying.
How do we make sure that we don’t die, should we be faced with a medical collapse? Our first actions can have much to do with whether or not we will be counted amongst the survivors.
If our medical community collapses, one of the biggest impacts will be that we won’t be able to get prescriptions from our doctors. According to the latest estimates, something like 60 percent of Americans takes a least one prescription medicine for some sort of chronic disease.
While I’m sure that not all of those chronic diseases are life-threatening, I’m also sure that a good percentage of them are. As soon as it even looks like a medical collapse is about to happen, it only makes sense to get your doctor to prescribe extra medications so that you can stock up.
But it shouldn’t stop with just those medications that are needed for chronic conditions. Without the ability to go to the doctor or hospital, people will be treating themselves. That will cause pharmacy shelves to go bare of both prescription and non-prescription medicines quickly.
Beating the rush is about the only way to ensure that you will have those medicines on hand, even if that does add to the shortage.
An important part of this is stocking up on common antibiotics if you can. There are a lot of infections and diseases for which doctors prescribe antibiotics. We need to be ready for those, having the meds on hand for them. Fortunately, a few antibiotics will take care of most situations.
Build a Family First-Aid Kit
Illness won’t be the only thing to be concerned about in the wake of a medical collapse; injuries are a very real issue as well.
I’m not talking skinned knees and minor cuts here; I’m referring to the more major injuries we can receive from an axe, chain saw or gunshot wound, as well as broken bones that can happen while working or through an accident.
There’s actually a lot we can do in these cases.
Unless it is a serious enough injury where a doctor is actually needed, first-aid will often be sufficient, allowing the body to heal itself.
Proper first-aid is even more essential, stopping the blood flow, cleaning the wound and preventing shock. Without that, the patient might not even make it to competent medical care.
While it is at least somewhat possible to use makeshift first-aid supplies, if those aren’t organized together in a kit, precious time could be wasted, while a family member is losing blood. Better to have a kit ready, with everything organized in such a way that it is easy to find. That way, your chances of saving a life are better and you might not need that doctor.
If the medical collapse happens because of another pandemic, then the most logical thing for any of us to do is to self-quarantine, regardless of what the government says. I realize the lockdowns weren’t popular, I didn’t like them either.
But back in 1819, when the Spanish Flu hit, people self-quarantined if someone in the family came down with the disease. They didn’t need to be ordered to do so, they just did.
But that’s not really what I’m talking about. The best defense against any disease is to isolate yourself from anyone who might be a carrier of that disease. Since it is common for people to be infectious for a couple of days before there are any overt symptoms, there’s no real way of knowing who might be contagious and who might not be.
Therefore, the only true protection is to isolate yourself from everyone you can, ensuring that they can’t transfer a disease pathogen to you.
I’m not really a fan of vitamins. Perhaps that’s because my mother was big on vitamins and she overdid it when I was growing up. Nevertheless, I readily admit their usefulness in protecting the body, especially in how they can help fortify the body’s immune system.
Garlic is one of the most amazing substances there is, being an antiviral, antibiotic and antifungal all rolled up in one. My wife and I started taking garlic capsules as soon as we heard that COVID started. Other great natural antibiotics include oregano, ginger, honey, and turmeric.
In addition, we started taking vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, all of which fortify the immune system. If medicines are scarce, we’ve got to use what we can and fortifying the body’s immune system, so that it can overcome any infection seems to make sense.
Learn About Herbal Medicines
Speaking of garlic and vitamins, I’ve become more and more of a believer in herbal medicines as I’ve grown older. Modern medicine is actually an outgrowth of herbal medicine, with the big pharmaceutical houses artificially reproducing chemical substances they find in nature, which have curative properties.
They have to do that because they can’t patent something that they find in nature. But if that’s the case, then wouldn’t the substance found in nature actually be better?
The big problem with herbal medicines is that it is inexact science. If you need a pharmaceutical medicine for blood pressure, the doctor writes a prescription, detailing what medicine, how large a dose and how often to take it. But with herbs, all you can find is something like “These herbs can help with blood pressure, make a tea out of them and drink it.”
No dosage, no frequency, just do it. That doesn’t make most people very comfortable.
At the same time, pharmaceutical medicines can be concentrated, when compared to herbal medicines, allowing them to be more effective. Since we have no idea how much garlic to take, so as to equal the antibiotic strength of any of the common antibiotics on the market, herbal cures may not seem to be as effective.
But if a medical crisis ever comes that’s serious enough, the only medicines we might have access to are those herbal cures. So regardless of their failings, they’re something we should endeavor to learn about, just in case we need to use them.
Finally, there are a number of common chronic medical problems which are directly associated with being weight. We have an obesity epidemic in our nation today and it is one of the prime contributors to why so many people are taking prescription medicines on a regular basis.
If we can lose enough weight, it will help eliminate problems with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Considering that medicines for those conditions might be difficult to come by during a medical crisis, then losing weight, even though a starvation diet, is a better option than having a heart attack.