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Must have Items for Your Winter Survival kit

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Winter mortality rates have been dramatically on the rise since the last few decades. Almost half of excess deaths during cold weather happen because of coronary thrombosis. The rate rises as soon as two days after symptoms escalate due to a cold spell. Half of the other winter deaths result from respiratory diseases.

Exposure to cold rapidly increases the risk of contracting such diseases. It is important that you prioritize health and safety to survive cold weather. Stocking several essential items in advance can help you adjust to the winter months. Some of these items are listed below:

1. Food: Store food that is rich in calories and has nutritional value. It is also vital to stock foods which do not require electricity or gas to be prepared. Dehydrated meats like jerky are flavorful and a good source of protein. Canned products like vegetables and legumes provide necessary vitamins and minerals.

Make sure to stack power bars, dried fruit, and nuts so you can munch on something while stuck. Dried fruit can last for a long time when stored in an airtight container.

2. Water: Ensure that you have access to drinking water. Water shortage problems are common in areas that are affected by power loss in the winter. Large water containers are available at low prices online and can be more useful than plastic water bottles that are for single use only.

If you are traveling, do not keep your water containers in the trunk since they will freeze. To make tea or coffee, carry insulated water bottles which are easy to stack.

3. First Aid Box: If you haven’t already, prioritize getting a first aid kit prior to the arrival of winter. It is useful both for indoors and while traveling. Some essential items which should be there in your first aid kit include plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, cleansing wipes, antibiotic ointments, safety pins, and disposable gloves.

4. Medicines: Evaluate medicine needs of your family members and purchase non-perishable ones for your winter survival kit. When weather conditions are extremely bad, it may be difficult to procure medicines.

Medicines include allergy medication, cough medicine, painkillers like aspirin and paracetamol, and others depending on your personal needs. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers in case of a medical emergency like a stroke, accident, or a heart attack.

5. Toiletries: Basic toiletries are first to sell out before any disaster strikes which is all the more reason you should get them in advance. Stack enough toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and personal hygiene products for yourself and your family in your survival kit.

6. Power Source: Most places that experience heavy snow or blizzard may encounter power failures. In such cases, it is good to invest in an alternate power source. A backup generator can be found in many homes.

You could also keep a power cord which you can connect to your vehicle’s electricity. You may also have a backup battery to power your phone or use a device which helps you generate your own power.

7. Blankets: You need an adequate number of blankets to keep you and your family members warm. Consider getting a Mylar blanket. These are lightweight and portable blankets which can be folded and kept in tight spaces. Mylar blankets are made of plastic sheets which can retain nearly 90% of our body’s heat. They are also affordable and will be very handy if you are snowed in.

8. Warm clothes: When faced with damaging winter weather like a blizzard, you cannot only rely on your fleece jacket. Get yourself a heavy parka or fur coat. Invest in a pair of durable and waterproof boots. Use mittens and scarves to protects your hands and neck.

9. Shovel: Stack a shovel for cleaning out snow. Buy one that is lightweight and has a length comfortable for you to use. Keep one in your house and one in your car for cleaning when you are at home or on the road. Make sure you are buying one that will easily allow you to lift and remove snow.

A quick tip before using a snow shovel: spray the top of the shovel with nonstick cooking spray. This will help the snow to slide right off after being picked instead of getting stuck at the tip.

10. Light sources and batteries: Flashlights operated by batteries or cranks are useful additions for your winter survival kit. They are portable and can help you see in the dark in case there is a power outage. Flashlights are also safer to use than candles.

Make sure your flashlights have batteries installed. Keep extra sets of batteries since natural light will be your only source of light in a power outage.

11. Radio: Radios can provide you with updates on the weather and other announcements that will keep you in the loop of what is happening around you. A radio is also a source of entertainment which you can use to survive hours of boredom. Get a radio that is powered by batteries or solar energy. Check your car’s radio intermittently to make sure that it is operational.

12. Tools: When you are stuck at home for a long time due to hazardous weather conditions, you may have no help in getting repairs done. It is helpful to stack a set of tools which will come in handy should you need to fix things around the house. You can get a toolbox or one device containing different tools which can be easily carried around.

Essential tools which you want to keep are pliers, duct tape, tarp, and a knife. Pliers, bottle openers, and screwdrivers are also helpful.13. Freeze alarm: Having a freeze alarm handy will alert you if your home has lost power before you walk into it. A freeze alarm sounds a few times to tell you if the temperature in your home has dropped lower than your surroundings. It will also indicate if the power has gone out. It will help you strategize on how you can equip yourself to deal with the challenges inside the home.

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What to Do When You Can’t Afford Food

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The times are tough, and as the pandemic continues to affect us all in many different ways, this article feels like a necessity to show all the other options out there you can opt for to make your life that extra bit more worth living.

Families are struggling, and on the top of the list of struggles comes the challenge of buying food. This is a growing problem, and it seems that the end is not in sight. If you cannot cope and cannot afford even the essential food items, there may be some other options that can help you out.

Ask

Sometimes, the easiest thing can be the most challenging thing to do. Asking for food is the hardest decision that someone can take. Nevertheless, you can always ask restaurants, grocery stores or markets and many such places. While asking, also make them understand your situation very clearly and explain that the circumstances are challenging for you. Some organizations go from restaurant to restaurant and take leftover food from there and distribute it later to people who don’t have money or are homeless in dire need.

Basic budget

Mapping out your budget is the first thing you should do. List all of your living requirements on paper or digitally, and start with food. Only think about the things that you genuinely need to live and budget accordingly. Once you have a budget set, make it your duty to never go outside of this budget.

SNAP benefits

This is primarily a USA program, but you can find similar programs for your country. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helps people get benefits based on their state and income. People will apply to this for many reasons and can be eligible for many reasons, so don’t take it from here but go directly to the Government website and get more information. Suppose you can apply and get approved. You will get a notification with all the information and details, including the period you will continue to receive those benefits. 

WIC

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Another program is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Congress is the one who controls this, and it gets funded through individual states. 

There is a list of criteria that you must meet if you want to qualify for WIC. The requirements include categorical, residential, income and nutritional risk. 

Free lunches

There are many programs specifically made to help people who cannot afford food in their houses. Free lunch summer programs, soup kitchens, or 24/7 kitchens that stay open solely for people to get food are some of the most important options that you can take advantage of. You need to be aware of these programs as they are placed there specifically to help you. 

Food banks

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If, by chance, you do not meet the eligibility criteria for any program, the above solutions will come to your aid. Another organization that helps is local food pantries. They are charitable and not for profit organizations that give away food to people without money or with very little and still cannot afford to buy the absolute necessities. A statistic to put things in perspective, food banks in the UK are helping up to a million people not starve, and the number in the United States of America is probably even higher. 

No matter how you may feel about going to food banks and asking for help, be reassured of your health and safety. 

Coupon expert

Become an expert coupon collector! These are your best friends during trying times. Stores give you coupons, and there are apps on the play store that have coupons for many stores in your neighbourhood. Vouchers can also give you advantages like buying in bulk at low prices or having discounted items that will expire in a week or so. 

NGOs

There are many not for profit governmental organizations that have a scheduled time and place where they distribute food. Going there and having your lunch or dinner is always a good option. 

Apart from NGOs, there are churches, mosques, gurudwaras and various other temples, depending on where you live, which will offer you free food and other benefits if you go to them and ask for help. 

Dumpster diving

As weird as it sounds, dumpster diving is a legitimate thing that people engage in. Dumpster diving is basically what it says. Dive into a dumpster and find sealed packets of food that many restaurants and hotels often throw out, or even grocery shops. These products are usually thrown out because they seem or look bad or are past their sell-by date. 

Nevertheless, however harmful this option may seem, you are doing what you need to do because you need the nutrition and the strength to get through the hardships you are facing right now. 

Stock on pantry items

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If you have even a little money, you can stock up on ramen noodles, crackers, flour, beans and rice. Such items go a long way in feeding you and keeping change in your pocket. These items can also be kept for a long time, so there are no chances of them going off anytime soon, and you can ration them out with no problem at all. 

Social services

Another measure that you can take is contacting social services or their offices, letting them know of your predicament, and asking for their help. They will usually give you food assistance by giving you an EBT card which works like a debit card and is primarily for buying groceries and related items.

Getting a job

Getting a job is the most challenging solution, but if you can make it happen, it will not just solve your food problems but also your living. Even if you get little money from your job, there’s always some food worth eating that you can buy from loose change.

Many people have to decide between giving up food and giving up on other basic needs, and sadly, they believe that giving up food is the way to go. One might think they can live without food but cannot live without shelter. You shouldn’t have to decide between either.

The above solutions are just some suggestions to help make your life a little easier if you ever have a food issue.

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Setting up Your Survival Backpack: What and Why?

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A survival backpack or survival kit is a kit that contains every necessity that you may need in the event of an emergency to survive for an indefinite period until everything gets better again. 

Survival backpacks need to be durable to withstand the four elements, i.e., rain, water, fire, and earth. You should also be comfortable strapping it on yourself and trudging through the wilderness. It should be compatible with your body size. 

You are now coming to what you should include in your survival backpack and why.

Water 

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Water is an essential survival element, without which you would not last more than a couple of days. What you should put in your backpack are two things, a water container, and a water purifier. 

While finding a natural source of water like a river or a lake, you should also keep in mind that water will most definitely be contaminated with all kinds of viruses and bacteria. The first thing to do would be to treat it with either purification tablets or use a water filter. Whichever is handier and more comfortable to get. After that, you can pour the now purified water and put it in the water container or bottle you brought along.

Shelter

Come nightfall, you will need a place to rest and boost your energy. As much as you may like fantasizing about sleeping under the stars with nothing but the grass beneath you, it is a little impractical. This is precisely why you should carry items such as a space blanket, which helps you keep warm. The next solution is a sleeping bag. A sleeping bag will also keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night without any issues. 

You can also go ahead and use a tent. When choosing a tent, you should keep in mind that it should be lightweight, waterproof, and spacious enough to accommodate you and your friends.

Food

You should pack ready-to-eat meals and packages that are easy to take care of and lightweight not to affect the backpack’s weight. Canned meats, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, and more canned stuff are excellent options. Ready-to-eat canned meals are also available. Pack many energy bars, granola bars, and candy bars because they are high in nutrients, especially calories and carbs.

A fishing kit might also be a good idea if you want to carry one. It is an easy way to get fresh food whenever you might want to ration out your meals. All you need for the kit is some bait, line, and hook, after which you can tie the line and hook to any decent-sized stick you may find.

Cooking Utensils

While talking about food, you should also have the necessary utensils to prepare it. A regular cooking kit contains one small pot, a cup, two to three metal plates, and some fork and spoons. In almost all the methods, cooking food requires heat, for which you need a stove and, give or take two to three fuel canisters. 

A fire starter is also needed as it helps build the fire for cooking while also providing heat. Bring along matches and a lighter in case the matchsticks do not work. Do not forget to keep the matchsticks and the lighter in a waterproof container or a waterproof package.

Clothing

Clothing takes a vital place next in your survival backpack because you never know what weather you may face. Some suggested clothes include two pairs of underwear, woolen socks, thermal wear, extra shirts, a rain jacket or fleece jacket, or preferably both, and hiking boots.

First Aid Kit

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First aid kits are another must-have for your backpack. They can be used to treat injuries in an emergency. It should include items like bandages, tourniquets, scissors, antiseptic wipes, a roll of gauze, aspirin, sutures and needles, antibiotics, and allergy medicines.

Knife

A knife is both a useful tool and a good option as a self-defense weapon. It has many uses and should be added to your backpack. It has various usages, from cutting bandages to opening cans to prepare food and so on. 

Shovel

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A small shovel makes all the difference in the world. You can use it to dig holes or dig trenches, even a fire pit. It comes in the handiest when you are attempting to build a shelter. 

Saw

Another great tool that should be kept considered is a small saw. A saw will make the cutting branches and gathering wood that much more comfortable and less time-consuming. For example, sawing wood logs to build a campfire or sawing long branches from a tree to help in making a base for the shelter.

Tape and Cord

Duct tape is an excellent addition to your backpack. It is the ideal go-to for any repair because it is waterproof and durable. You can use it instantly to temporarily fix your clothes, your tent, or any other materials that need repairing. 

A cord is a rope that is used to tie anything together. You can use it to connect your wood or tie together a tent making it a temporary shelter. It can also be used to hang washed clothes on; you just need to find two suitable trees and stretch and tie the cord from those two trees. 

Personal Items

Last but not least, the things that you should carry in your backpack are:

  • Identification documents
  • Money
  • Phone and charger
  • Self-defense items (might include pepper sprays and stun guns)

Identification documents include your passport, identification papers, driving license, contracts, cards, and so on. 

One may never know what lies ahead, no matter how hard you try to be prepared for anything and everything that comes your way. But the above list details all the essential things that you should have in your survival backpack or kit, and it is always handy to make a list yourself and check the items off one by one as you put them in.

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Is It Possible to Survive Without Food for More Than 2 Weeks?

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Food and water are a staple for all human beings, and they are essential if you want to survive. The human body needs energy and nutrients from the food that we eat and hydration to function correctly. Hence, you will be surprised to know that we and our bodies can survive for many days without water. We can sometimes survive for weeks without food if our body adjusts to energy consumption and food intake. 

Eradicating the food intake for an extended amount of time is also simply known as starvation. After some time, as stated above, the body will eventually adapt to no food intake at all. It will function differently to minimize the amount of energy it burns.

According to the world’s recent changes, there have been multiple exciting pieces of research on starvation, some old research, and some new. It discusses compulsory starvation – as in you cannot afford to buy food at all – and voluntary starvation like a hunger strike in protest of something, fasts, and other instances. Some research examples are:

A source in Archiv Fur Kriminologie testified that the body could survive without food for a minimum of eight days and a maximum of 21 days. If there is significant water intake, the body can survive for up to two months. 

Another example from a research study corroborates with the above analysis: the body can survive up to 21 days without any food intake. After that, the person concerned will show several severe and lethal symptoms. 

What Factors Affect Survival

Think of the factors that would ensure our survival if we tried to survive without food. These factors include your age, body size, general health, fitness, genetic variations, and other health considerations.  

How Is It Possible to Survive 

Being able and willing to live for weeks with no food seems impossible to most of us. Even fasting for a day seems too long. Besides, it also makes us lethargic and very irritable. 

Surprisingly, your body will eventually adapt to the non-consumption of food if you do fasting intermittently. This makes it easier for people to fast to lose weight or fast for religious purposes without doing extensive harm to the body. Generally, your body takes about eight hours to change itself and how it functions if you do not go without food for this much time. 

Typically, your body breaks down the food you eat into glucose, and this glucose then provides the much-needed energy to the body so it can continue to function correctly. After the 8 to 12 hour mark, once the body realizes that there will be no more incoming food, there will be a glucose shortage in the body as there aren’t any resources to convert the food into glucose. Then, the body will, instead, start to convert the glycogen from your muscles into glucose. 

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When both your glucose and glycogen levels are all but gone, the body will turn to amino acids to provide the much-needed energy. This process of converting amino acids into energy will adversely start affecting your muscles. You can function for about three to four days of starvation before your metabolism starts acting up to save body tissues. 

To prevent this from happening, the body will find a new solution and turn to the fat stored and create energy through a process called ketosis. Because of this, you will undergo a substantial amount of weight loss. This is the reason why women do a crash diet and mostly fast. It helps in reducing body weight in a ridiculously little amount of time. Women have a higher fat content than men, which is why they can go without food for more extended periods. Hence, it is evident that the more fat you have, the more time you can survive while you starve. Think of polar bears who eat massive amounts of fat before hibernation. Once the fat stores have been completely depleted, the body will return to breaking the muscle tissue for energy. 

The Importance of Water

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It has been proved that water will help you survive while you reject food. Water is the solution if you want to survive more days without food. Remember to drink significant amounts of water to see a change. 

Even still, no matter how hard you convince yourself that water will help you go without food for more days, it will taper off, and you will see the side effects of starvation. Effects such as fainting, dizziness, low blood pressure, lethargy, organ failure, and/or heart attack will be seen in some extreme cases. 

And those who starve themselves for a long time have a challenging journey ahead of them in attempting to rewire their body. At this time, they cannot consume the usual amount of food at once. The body needs to be gradually introduced to solid foods to avoid any adverse or harmful reactions. When you can eat again, it would be best for you to follow a diet that is lactose-free, low-carb, low in protein, and low in sugar. 

In conclusion, while human bodies are strong enough and can function for weeks or even months-long without proper food, they should not be exploited. Going without food for prolonged amounts of time is not healthy and certainly not at all advised. The body needs all the nutrients and vitamins it can find, and if you deprive it of it willingly, you will experience the side effects listed above. So, do not try this, and if you do, certainly not for extended periods. 

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