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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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The Latest on Advanced Wound Cleaning: Beyond the Paper Cut

The Latest on Advanced Wound Cleaning: Beyond the Paper Cut

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

If you want to expand your survival-medicine knowledge beyond first aid but don’t know where to start, wound treatment is a great choice. Whether it’s during a disaster or just in your everyday life, you’ll eventually face a wound of some sort.

You can learn a lot of advanced but easy-to-follow treatment details from my two affordable, interactive e-books, The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Wounds and The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Burns. They cover gashes, bites, burns and more. I’ve also come across an excellent review regarding certain aspects of wound care: the Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines for Basic Wound Management in the Austere Environment, published last summer.

To create the recommendations in this report, researchers reviewed available studies for objective evidence of what works and what doesn’t. In this post I’ll go into some of their conclusions about cleaning a wound. Some of the findings may surprise you.

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The Survival Doctor’s Latest Tips on Tourniquets

This is the Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T, $28.99*). Note the stick you can use to wind the tourniquet tighter.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

A tourniquet seems so simple. At its most basic, it’s just a strip of strong material.

Its use seems simple too. You tighten it until the bleeding stops. Voilà. Life saved.

But thanks to studies conducted over the last several years, the guidelines on tourniquets have become more sophisticated, causing emergency professionals to change how they use these lifesaving devices.

Here’s the latest thinking, according to the research I’ve been reading. I’m eager to also hear from you if you’ve used a tourniquet in the field. What have you found works or doesn’t?

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How to Set a Broken Bone or Treat a Dislocated Joint

How to Set a Broken Bone or Treat a Dislocated Joint

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Broken bones and dislocated joints are pretty common injuries, and I have several posts on how to treat them in an emergency. But many people have asked specifically how to “set” a bone, meaning, I presume, how to straighten a broken arm, leg, finger, or toe if it is crooked.

The answer is most of the time, you should do nothing for a crooked bone or displaced joint other than splint it as-is until you can get to a doctor. Trying to move it around is likely to cause more damage.

But there are some injuries when, indeed, you may want to take that chance and try to set (straighten) the bone or put the joint back into place. And, of course, there’s always a chance you’re in a situation where expert help is many days away.

In those cases, the key to treatment is to apply traction—properly.

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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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Does Cough CPR Work?

Does Cough CPR Work? | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Last week I wrote about deciding what to do if you have chest pain far away from expert help. Several comments on that post and on Facebook suggested vigorous and repetitive coughing could be tried. Since that suggestion is found far and wide on the Internet, I decided to check out, as best I could, whether there was any truth behind it.

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Wilderness Heart Attack: Should You Walk or Wait?

Wilderness Heart Attack: Should You Walk or Wait? | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

If you have a heart attack in the wilderness, it’s judgment-call time. In my last post, I talked about the fact that you’ll have to weigh walking for help with waiting for help that you don’t even know is coming. Walking could damage your heart further. Waiting could postpone care too long.

In this post, we’ll go into the details of how I’d make the decision.

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