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2 Medical Procedures You Can Do at Home—and Avoid the ER

Here are two tricks to remove a ring from a swollen finger and find a tiny speck in your eye.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

These two medical techniques are among the most popular I’ve ever shared here. They’re little-known but easy to master, and they often solve a couple of daunting, frustrating problems.

Since I published them over two years ago, readers have told me again and again that these tips have allowed them to avoid expensive doctor visits. So I thought they were worth recapping, to make sure you have them in your back pocket. They could save you time, money, and lots and lots of frustration.

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Coming Next Week: Everything You Want to Know About Fish Antibiotics

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

There will be no post this week because we’re putting the final touches on a special investigative report we’ve been working on for weeks.

It’s about a topic that’s often speculated about in the survival community: the possibility of using fish antibiotics in humans. Are these medicines safe for people? Are they effective?

We found some surprising, never-before-reported information. Stay tuned for more. (And if you’re not subscribed, sign up to the left to get a reminder when it’s published!)

8 Lifesaving Treatments That Should Be a Reflex

8 Lifesaving Treatments That Should Be a Reflex

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

If you’ve been reading The Survival Doctor for a while, you’ve learned a lot about survival medicine.

Yet all the long-term treatments in the world are useless if the victim dies in the first few minutes. So it’s important to continually return to the basics, to reinforce those quick, life-saving skills I believe are most important to remember.

After all, saving a life or limb in the short-term is often as simple as taking one easy step—but doing it quickly enough to make a difference. People die all the time just because no one around them knew the fix that would have turned things around.

To become a hero at-the-ready, memorize these eight quick treatments and tips. Share them with your friends and family so they’re prepared in case you’re the one who needs care.

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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.

Soldiers of the Connecticut National Guard’s 143rd MP Co, stationed in Afghanistan, say a prayer for the families and the community of Newtown, CT. (US National Guard photo, December 18, 2012.)

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

Paratroopers from 3rd Platoon, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division prepare to load a CH-47 Chinook Helicopter in the Bermel District of the Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, Oct. 13, during an air-assault mission to detain a known militant. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Andrya Hill, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs.)

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 [… 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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Can Cayenne Pepper Really Stop a Heart Attack?

Can cayenne pepper really stop a heart attack? | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about deciding what to do if you have chest pain far away from expert help. As usual my readers contributed some thought provoking comments. Two suggestions in particular inspired me to write additional posts. Last week I discussed so-called cough CPR. This week, it’s cayenne pepper.

The claim that cayenne pepper can stop a heart attack in its tracks is found far and wide on the Internet. So I decided to check out, as best I could, whether there’s any truth behind the headlines.

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