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What’s So Bad About Moving a Broken Bone?

Bone Healing: What’s So Bad About Moving a Broken Bone?

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

If you’ve only ever seen a dried-up old bone on a skeleton, you’ve gotten the wrong idea about bones. Bones are very dynamic, and that fact impacts how we treat broken ones.

Last week, I wrote that it’s important to immobilize most fractures. Splint them, and don’t walk on them. (Make a cane or crutches if you have to travel for safety or to get help.) But learning why this immobilization is so important will help you remember to do it.

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When You Don’t Want to Set a Broken Bone (Read: Most of the Time)

When Not to Set a Broken Bone | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

It’s getting hot out there, so let’s cool off a little: It’s winter. You’re at your homestead, miles from the city. A severe ice storm has frozen your area. Large branches have crashed from the weight of the ice. The road is impassible, and there’s no phone service.

You venture outside, just a bit, to survey the damage. Wouldn’t you know it; you slip backward. Your outstretched arm braces your fall. Immediate, intense pain. To your horror, your forearm is now crooked.

You know you won’t be able to get professional help for at least another 24 hours. The pain is excruciating.

So, should you have a family member try to put this displaced fracture back in place?

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4 Tips to Survive and Adapt to the Heat

4 Tips to Survive and Adapt to the Heat

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Big news for the Northern Hemisphere. Summer will officially be here June 21. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, I’m a little early (or late). You might want to take a look at my cold-weather posts. But for us northerners, the heat is on.

For as long as I’ve practiced medicine, whether in Mississippi or Colorado, I’ve known that in those first few hot days I’ll be treating some otherwise healthy people for heat-related problems. In fact, just the other day, I saw a man in his early 20s with chest pain, headache, and just feeling awful. He’d been working on a roof. He’s done it for years with no problem. But around here, it suddenly went from a daytime high in the mid-70s to a high in the low 90s. He hadn’t had time to acclimate.

Fortunately, he got out of the heat as soon as the symptoms hit. With some water and cooling off, he was feeling fine in a few hours.

Probably, in a few weeks he’ll be working in the same temperature with no such symptoms. Why?

He’ll be acclimated.

No matter how many years [… continue reading]

Medical and Self-Help Treatment Options for PTSD

Soldiers of the Connecticut National Guard's 143rd MP Co, currently stationed in Afghanistan, say a prayer for the families and the community of Newtown, CT. (US National Guard photo)

This is part 2 in my series on PTSD. See part 1, “How the Brain Is Physically Changed With PTSD,” here.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Say someone is robbed at gunpoint, or they’re walking down the street and their best friend is shot and killed in front of them. We think to ourselves, “Poor person. How can they ever cope with something like that?” Certainly we expect they’re going to need counseling.

Soldiers in a war zone may face these same events over and over, for days or weeks upon end. Others are abused behind closed doors.

These people, and many others, are at high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Because so many people have PTSD in wartimes (like right now), we learn a lot during these times about treating the disorder, not only in soldiers but in the public at large.

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How the Brain Is Physically Changed With PTSD

How the Brain Is Physically Changed With PTSD | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

With Memorial Day just past, I thought I might write on a fairly common medical problem that affects many soldiers coming back from war: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The reason I find this appropriate for The Survival Doctor is soldiers are not the only ones who can be affected. This same disorder can hit anyone who has experienced a major trauma or trauma of a loved one.

Let me emphasize I do know that Memorial Day is meant to remember the men and women who have died in defense of our country. We should never forget and always honor their sacrifice, not only on Memorial Day but every day. But I think we should also not forget the permanently altered lives of the loved ones they left behind and those whose lives have been forever changed in any form from the direct horrors of war.

Why Do Some People Get PTSD and Others Don’t? [… continue reading]

4 Things I Learned From This Year’s CPR Course for Professionals

The Survival Doctor: 4 things I learned from this year’s CPR course for professionals

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Every two years, to update my skills, I retake a basic CPR course sponsored by the American Heart Association, along with their Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support course for health care professionals. And it never fails, I always learn something new and remember things I shouldn’t have forgotten. Here are a few highlights from this year.

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Beyond Antihistamines: 5 More Allergy Meds That May Work Better for You

5 types of allergy medicines that may work better for you than plain antihistamines

Part 3 in my three-part seasonal allergies series. Click here for part 1 (how allergies work). Click here for part 2 (how to choose an antihistamine).

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Have you chosen an antihistamine to try out or to store in your survival stash? Well, we’re not done yet. You may want to add an additional medication or two to your seasonal-allergies arsenal.

That’s because antihistamines don’t do the trick for everyone. But there are other types of allergy medications that might. They can be used in addition to or instead of antihistamines (and each other). It’s a mix-and-match world. Just be aware that each med you take brings its own risk of side effects, interactions, and so on. Read up on precautions before diving in.

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How to Choose the Best Allergy Medicine for You

How to Choose the Best Allergy Medicine for You

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

This time of year, allergy-medicine aisles see a steady stream of sniffling souls turning over box after box to figure out which of the million medications will give them the best relief.

Despite their varied names and colorful labels, most of these boxes boast similar claims: They’ll fix your sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose. That’s because most of them contain one form or another of the same type of drug: an antihistamine.

Antihistamines are the go-to medicine for most people with seasonal allergies. The different types of antihistamines all work in a similar way. Which type works best for you depends on a few factors, including simply which one your own unique body prefers.

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How Allergies Work

How Allergies Work

Part 1 in my seasonal allergies series.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

For some of us, the spring season is a beautiful trap. It entices us outside with such great weather but hides an unseen danger—pollen.

But truth be told, it’s not the pollen that’s the trouble. It’s the body’s reaction to it. In about 30 percent of people, the immune system goes way overboard to protect them from pollen, which their bodies see as an invader. This is called an allergic reaction.

There are medicines that can combat the miserable symptoms, but to understand which ones you might want to store, it helps to know how an allergic reaction works so you’ll know what you’re trying to combat.

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3 Age-Old Wound-Dressing Questions, Answered

How to dress a wound to better promote healing and prevent infection.

Part 2 in my modern wound care series. See part 1, on the latest advice for cleaning a wound, here.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

How many cuts and scrapes have you gotten in your life? Probably quite a few. Yet, to this day, do you know whether it’s better to keep a wound covered or let it air out?

Simple wound-care questions like that have left even doctors debating the answers. So earlier this year, an article in American Family Physician, the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, offered some answers. For the article, three researchers from Thomas Jefferson University looked at a number of studies on wound care and formulated guidelines based on the findings. Here are some highlights.

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