Beware Of These Three Diseases After SHTF Collapse

Disease will become a major health problem following any prolonged SHTF collapse whereby today’s modern infrastructure and systems of sanitation become crippled or non-existent (for any variety of reason), even if only somewhat temporary…as during a regional disaster.

We as a modern society take entirely for granted the fact that there is ‘clean’ safe-to-drink running water from our taps as well as a sanitation system which flushes away our waste water from our sinks and toilets. But just imagine for a moment what things would be like if these two expectations were dashed and ceased to function altogether. The results will surely bring on potentially deadly disease…

When modern indoor plumbing no longer works and sanitation practices are no longer a convenient and simple thing, people will become sick.

The following digestive diseases can each be caused by consuming / ingesting food or water that has been contaminated with human feces (from poor sanitation conditions). For example, consuming food having been handled by contaminated hands from lack of proper washing after defecation. Similarly, water having become contaminated due to cross-contamination with human wastes – perhaps as simple as contaminated hands having handled the water supply in some way (retrieving and handling a bucket of water from some source, etc..).


Typhoid is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, and is a bacterial infection which gradually brings on a high fever. Diarrhea and vomiting are not common with Typhoid, however weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, and headaches also commonly occur with the fever. Without treatment, symptoms may last weeks or months. Treatment includes antibiotics – typically Cipro.

Avoidance is the key!


Cholera is an infection of the small intestine with classic symptoms of large amounts of watery diarrhea. Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Treatment includes antibiotics such as Doxycycline and Cipro.

Avoidance is the key!


Dysentery is a type of gastroenteritis – an inflammation of the intestine (colon) causing diarrhea with blood, and is caused by a number of types of infection such as bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms, or protozoa. Treatment includes antibiotics such as ampicillin, amoxicillin.

Avoidance is the key!

If we as a modern society are circumstantially forced back in time – a time before our modern conveniences of clean and readily available water supplies and functional sanitation systems – then many or most will be faced with disease from contaminated food and water. It may be difficult to imagine a time when our infrastructure is not fully functional, but it is possible. And if it should occur, even if only temporary, you could be up $hit’s creek without a paddle…

What can you do in this regard for preparedness?

1. Water purification. You must procure water filtration systems. In other words, a good water filter. More than one (two is one, and one is none). During a time of collapsed infrastructure, your water source may either be gone, or contaminated. You WILL need a drinking water filter – or face certain sickness.

2. Proper handling of sewage. If your toilet does not flush, you better have a plan, because $hit happens and it has to go somewhere. Even without running water, you can still flush a toilet. However if sewage systems back up, you’re in deep doo-doo without an alternative plan.

3. Hygiene. Cross-contamination between waste and food-handling is a primary cause of the diseases listed above. You MUST maintain good hygiene prior to handling food and water. Think about how you would clean your hands after having ‘done your duty’. Perhaps a bucket of water containing some bleach (for example). Here are some disinfection tips with bleach.

4. Alternative water source. If infrastructure is not working, where will you get your water? You better think about it. Your life WILL depend on it.

Hopefully this article has got you to thinking about your preparedness plans for prevention of the diseases listed above.

Here’s an article about my primary in-house drinking water filter, of which I own two (as well as various other portable filters).

With all that said, I’m curious to hear your input regarding how to deal with these issues.

Here’s a thought… Imagine living in ‘the city’ if this should happen??!


  1. Makes sense to avoid these diseases by taking precautions mentioned above, however, based on the way things are starting to develop, it might be a good idea to get those antibiotics now along with Tamiflu. If kept in a dark cool location they should have at least a two year shelf life. These will most likely Not be available at any price after SHTF event. Bulk first aid supplies like alcohol swabs, disposable rubber gloves, and antibiotic cream is available at Sam’s Club.

    I also read an article recently at our Federal Govt is buying a lot of Potassium Iodide!!!

  2. sanitation, not exactly a glamorous “prepper” subject
    but without a doubt ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT

    one of the reasons the Soviet army had so much trouble in Afghanistan
    was sanitation or rather the lack thereof

    “Throughout the Soviet war in Afghanistan, up to 33% of the personnel in the Soviet 40th Army were affected by an infectious disease every year. Of the 620,000 Soviets deployed to Afghanistan during the conflict, 415,932 or 67% were hospitalized for some kind of serious illness or disease. These illnesses included infectious hepatitis, typhoid fever, plague, malaria, cholera, diphtheria, meningitis, dysentery, heat stroke, and pneumonia.[35] A great number of these casualties were directly related to poor hygiene, poor waste removal, or poor drinking water. ”

    “Active leadership by a professional Non-commissioned officer corps could have prevented many of the sources of disease. For example: Soviet troops were often forced or chose to drink from natural water sources or local wells. The quality of these sources in many cases was very poor and contained high bacteria levels, typhus, and amoebic dysentery.[36] To combat the spread of illnesses caused from drinking from local sources, the Soviets issued a pantocide water-purification tablet. These tablets were effective when used properly. However, soldiers in many cases failed to wait the required 30 minutes for the tablet to purify the water while others simply found the taste of the treated water to be repulsive and refused to use them.[37] Many of these casualties may have been prevented if small unit leaders had enforced discipline in their soldiers regarding such disciplines as field sanitation and drinking from approved water sources.”

  3. Anyone have any idea of the dosage level of the fish antibiotics?
    To low and they won’t do any good.
    To high and it may not work out well.
    To high of a dosage of tetracycline will blow your kidneys out.

    1. Being for fish doesn’t matter. Medicinally the same as for humans. Dosage should be as appropriate for what you taking and what you are trying to cure.

    2. I stay away from tetra and get the other antibiotics from Thomas Labs.
      They came in handy when my sickly husband got a nasty bronchial infection.
      I still keep bottles of Vitamin A, and bottles of elderberry.
      I just today removed one of each from the freezer. I have a small plastic tote filled in the freezer and don’t forget the acetaminophens.

  4. These are rapid onset infections that kill you or at least make you wish you were dead; and most often discussed/prepared for by preppers.

    However, there is a long term seldom discussed class of diseases that preppers do not seem to grasp or prep for. These are the diseases that seldom kill except in the very long term. But life becomes miserable and general antibiotics are not effective. These are the parasitic worms, tapeworms, flat worms, round worms and hook worms, etc. People die from the long term debilitating effects, they are unable function in day to day life.

    I found studying these in my microbiology classes were very interesting by their life cycle and very worthy of prepper study also.

    1. @ No Joke
      Ok, here is a really stupid statement/question and maybe someone can help me out on this one. One of my buddies smokes “hand rolled cigarettes” (Tobacco not pot) and my dog has a knack of eating one ever once and awhile. The comment is always “well he won’t have worms anyways”. So, if the SHTF will tobacco help in the “worm” situation you described?

      1. I had read somewhere a long time ago that farmers would feed their animals tobacco as a worming agent. I wish I could remember where I read it.

      2. I also understand that diatomaceous earth is used for worms. It might be a good idea to keep some on hand.

    2. There are many natural anti-paracytics that are available to use, and safe… I use oil of Oregano..for an adult, me @160 lbs I take up to 30 drops a day. It is easier to break into three equal doses and put in a little tomato sauce..a child’s dose 70-120 lb would be half of mine and a small child’s one half of the child’s dose.. The good thing, I only need to take it one day usually.. also used for decongestant and helps break up bronchitis… look it up many uses…
      Also, my Grandpa raised corn, cotton, logged, plowed and all other things he had to do to rear a family during the depression and during the war… His work required a team of farm animals, usually mules, and he reared 5 boys as well. Dad said each spring when the sorrel and poke sallet came up the boys got a large “bait” , the mules each got a 1/2 plug to a plug of Day’s work chewing tobacco…It dewormed them and then they put back on the weight they had lost thru the winter from parasites. So yes, tobacco does deworm, and Dad also gave it to “my Pug brother” . He loved the stuff and never had worms.

  5. About 25 years ago a friend picked up Giardia at Yosemite. This was before it became common knowledge that the water was infested. The doctors had to open him up to clean out his intestinal tract. They also found parasites from his all expense paid trip to Indochina. He didn’t describe the procedure as being at all pleasant. Easily avoided these days.

    1. The same thing happened to my sister who got it from her own well about 20 years ago. She has a shallow well and they still don’t know how the well got contaminated. Another good reason to keep antibiotics on hand.

      1. A simple solution for the well thing is an in line chlorinator and a charcoal filter at the faucet, know lots of folks who do that and never get sick.

        1. I can’t drink water with chlorine in it. It gives me a sore throat. Something I was reminded of on my trip down south for the past two weeks. It reminds me of when I used to go swimming in the pool as a kid, I always managed to swallow pool water and end up with a sore throat. So I had to buy bottled water while visiting family.

  6. I was recently out geocachin with my son and discovered a hand pump well near an old cemetary about a mile from our house. Nothing else around for about a mile. I already have filters and water back up, but I will definitely remember that well. I guess my point is you need to know your area. You may have overlooked something.

    1. Wonder it there is any formaldehyde or human fluids in the water???? Just sayin!!!! =)

    2. Would be interesting to go ahead and have that water tested.. and prime that pump! If well is up from the cemetary it is probably ok. but if the cemetary was put in after there is no guessing…best have it tested NOW. then you will know if filtering it is required…the well probably could use pumping out anyway to freshen it up…and you won’t know water is there til you pump some… Just sayin’

  7. Awesome Blog and you can never be too prepared and especially folks that live in the urban areas that rely upon a community water system.

  8. I lost clean/purified water for three days last month. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of water management as i discovered numerous unpreparedness gaps despite having on hand numerous filtering/purification measures in place. Like Mike Tyson said, your plan is only good until you get punched in the face, then it’s abandoned. One person in your household should be dedicated to oversight of clean water management. That can be a gradual hand off process to a peer/sibling. Before it’s to late, experience a weekend of zero water, record your everyday shortcomings, make necessary adjustments to your water management. I’ve divided water management in these categories….clean/purified water for drinking (human/dogs/chicken), cooking, bathing, clothes washing..grey water for gardening, flushing,fire extinguishing, etc. Countless web authors note methods of collection,storage, filtering and purification. Have backups to backups…two is one, one is none.

    1. That’s an excellent idea. Seeing how crucial water is to your everyday life. Now is the time to see where your weaknesses lie, not after a SHTF event.

  9. Timely article. Local groups here recently had a sanitation seminar. The 3 diseases listed here all fell within the province of that same.

    Disease in general is something there is no bullet we can buy to prevent in a systems-down situation. So many vectors. Sanitation is indeed a key ingredient to an increased chance of survival.

    I’d suggest that the general concept of sanitation also include pest control. Fleas, insects of many types, parasites within food and water sources all need to considered part and parcel of any sanitation effort in terms of self-protection. I’ve read that the simple mosquito net for example is actually more effective of a health preservation mechanism than any vaccination.

    Personally I fear some of the already extant sources of death in the disease-world. Malaria, yellow fever, tuberculosis and most of all influenza. Again, research has shown a definitive link between the bubonic plague and influenza as regards natural immunity found in survivor populations of both.

    All in all, in the long run – isolation of all infected individuals, protection of all clean resources, scrupulous attention to maintenance and the infra-structure used to harvest foor and water, store same, cook same will be of paramount importance.

    A final suggestion is all learn to make a simple chlorine generator to convert salt water into chlorine.

    1. If salt water is available, that would be a good idea…but not any salt water here, but some pond water, run off and stagnant pools..

  10. Anyone remember the HUGE to-do about Ebola outbreak? Makes ya wonder what happened to all that……….

    Something to keep in mind as we import 10s of thousands of refugees from the mid-east, and keep our borders open to —-> “Walk right in, sit right down, honey let your hair hang down, Everybody’s talking ’bout a new way of walking, Do you want to lose your mind?”

    As the saying goes, “Just another nail in the coffin”.

    1. LOL, only an old fogey like me would remember that song! Yeah, I heard about a new outbreak, but the news story after that was Gone With The Wind. Frankly, Scarlet, they don’t give a damn.

      1. @ Stardust
        Even more appropriate for the times we now live in??? —-

        “Perhaps – I want the old days back again and they’ll never come back, and I am haunted by the memory of them and of the world falling about my ears.” (Gone with the Wind (1939))

        Now who’s the old fogey?? :-/


    2. Check out the new story about Ebola. A nurse that had it back in December and was discharged as free of the disease back in January of this year just came down with it again. So much for immunity. Look up Pauline Cafferkey. She was at a primary school just before she started feeling bad and then went to a clinic and they sent her home to have bedrest for a virus. The next day she was much sicker and went to a hospital and then they figured it out. There are 58 or so people now being watched for symptoms. They are now thinking that some people hold onto this virus kind of like the the chicken pox/singles virus. Oh, this could really become a nightmare especially since it takes 2 days to 3 weeks to incubate…

      1. saw that in then news, about the British nurse who was taken by hazmat suits to hazmat type hospital care. They were shocked and confused at the relapse, etc…Oh yes, and the week before (ten days?) she had been in close and physical contact with the British Prime Minister’s wife. Suppose there may be some concerned folks.

  11. In 2004 my area was hit with Hurricane ” Charlie”. We were without power for several weeks. It was a good test of what I had prepared for.
    I was one of the fortunate people in that my house was on a septic system. And I had already planned on how to use rain water to keep the commodes going. And with a large in ground pool, I had plenty of fresh water to use. Cycled through a Big Berkly filter. Most of my neighbors where on a sewer system. That relied on power to run pumps, within hours after the hurricane most of them had quite a mess.
    Katrina was shortly after Charlie. And most of the news attention went to Katrina.
    But what I did take away from the whole situation, was simply that FEMA is worthless!
    If you wait for there help, you’re dead!

    1. That’s one reason why I am looking at solar, can live without electric, can’t live without water!
      I have a “pond” actually a 90k gallon reservoir that I keep chlorinated and filtered like a pool, want to set up a 12 v pressure pump with a few batteries and panels to charge the water system on our houses here at the farm if we lose county water. Real easy to back feed my water system up to the dwellings.

    2. I have a in ground pool and was considering getting a Berkey filter and use the pool for drinking water. How did the water taste? I guess it worked out okay.

      1. The water tests out fine. I have actually tested the municipality water against the pool water unfiltered. And the pool water is safe, the municipality water. Questionable.

  12. My great grandparents died from a Cholera outbreak in Greely, Co, leaving their son, my grandpa, to be put to work as a slave for his uncle back east. He ran away to live with a teacher’s family so he could finish school. He joined the Navy and married my grandma. His son, my father, caught cholera from a contaminated school well too close to an outhouse in the 20’s. He recovered while some kids died. All the school kids came down sick except one girl who brought her own drinking water from her home.

    Water testing is done on wells now, unlike my father and great grandparent’s days. There are concerns for well water, for not all are pure and free of contaminants. I tested many public wells every month during tourist season and found a short,uncovered or unsealed pipe can cause problems. The surface of the ground around it can contaminate the well from ants and insects and people using the public wells by putting contaminants near the opening of the pipe. The forestry made some errors when placing the wells too close to fish cleaning stations. People cleaned their fish at the well. Our problem was solved by raising the outside pipe 18″ above the ground and sealing it. Bleach is used to disinfect the well. With solar collected well water, chlorophyll can grow in the tank, so we bleach it out when it doesn’t pass the tests. Did this for 4 years.

    1. I read a book in the last year about the Cholera outbreak in London way back in 1854 or so, pretty crazy stuff. As Ken has mentioned, avoidance was key to survival. Some people who contracted cholera actually cured themselves by drinking large amounts of fresh, pure, non-cholera water. Something to keep in mind if worse comes to worse. If someone is interested in the book I can find it and post the name. It’s a fascinating study into how the “Broad Street” pump disaster started and spread.

  13. @NRP

    Let me draw some fire. Neither diatomaceous earth nor tobacco kills worms; when people are really sick they will try anything and so would I if I thought it would help. Swallowing tobacco will really make a person very sick. Diatomaceous earth taken internally will really wreak havoc with the cillea lining the intestines. I always encourage folks to read scientific journals about understanding disease and the therapeutic solution.
    Be well all.

    1. I was under the impression that tobacco was only used on farm animals. I never read that people should swallow tobacco. Thanks for the info on the diatomaceous earth though, good to know.

      1. DE can be taken internally, BUt it must be FOOD GRADE! The other kind has too much silica… A little tobacco once a week will not hurt the dog. But I wouldn’t put that junk in my mouth for any amount of money, so no danger me swallowing any…

    2. @ No Joke
      No fire from this direction. Was a question, not a fact. Guess I’ll keep Blue from eating any more Tabacco?????

  14. I use diatomaceous earth for my pool filter, How and why would anyone ingest that is beyond me. I guess depressed times call for depressed action. I take action only that I can trust and rely on. Water is priority #1. Have many options lined up if one fails.

    1. It’s food grade DE sold at Tractor Supply. Was 20 lbs. bag for $14–don’t know what it cost now.
      I use it for several things around the house.
      No spiders or ants inside now.

      As a matter of fact, when BP caused the disaster to the Gulf Coast, I read articles of doctors suggesting DE for their children.
      I took DE for a few years, but now take Hemp Oil every day.

      By the way, I am 65 and take NO prescription drugs.

  15. Great article Ken. Boiling, Clorox and filters all are great things for water which is the second most important thing in my opinion right after air.

  16. Anyone know the formula for using calcium hypochlorite (pool shock) as a spray disinfectant?

    1. If you mean as a water purifier/filter, I have an easy to remember recipe most here know already as I shared earlier.
      1 to 2, then 2 to 1.
      1 tsp. CH to a 2 liter jug to make solution.
      Then 2 tsp. solution to a 1 gallon jug to make purifier.
      Yep–1 to 2, then 2 to 1.

      1. Oh, I like simplicity, so in a canvas bag I have stored:
        ‘unopened’ bags of CH(pool shock)
        2 tsp. measuring spoons
        1 (2) liter jug (fruit juice bottle)
        1 gallon jug (vinegar bottle)

  17. Some may want to check out “Lifestraw Community” at If you are interested in possibly helping a community maintain a reliable supply of drinking water post collapse. Good night!

    1. I have bought for my family but boiling is the best because it doesn’t depend on usables.

  18. I must preface this with I am not a druggie and I am not looking to bulk up. Does anyone have any ideas on how to prep for steroids to combat nasty infections? I would say most of us have had respiratory infections and if not for the methylprednisolone treatment you’re absolutely miserable. And if an individual is compromised in some way they quite possibly may not even recover on antibiotics alone.

    1. You might ask around about anyone with asthma. Many of them are on nebulized medications which are often steroidal. Nebulizers and be had that are battery powered. Asthmatics frequently have leftover medications that they might be willing to part with.

      1. Thanks me, hadn’t thought of that. It’s an important prep question that I’ve never seen asked. Will look into it.

  19. Good point about boiling. And that was Lifesaver Community. Lifesaver Jerry Can looks like an awesome idea. These two items are from the same company that produces Lifestraw.

  20. Thanks JJ, I was thinking more along the lines of a disinfectant. Like how much to a gallon of water for cleaning or disinfecting. As a cleaning solution. I assume that it would be a little more concentrated than the solution for water purification.

  21. I’ve stocked up on hand sanitizer thinking that it would be invaluable for keeping clean when water is short. Not sure if it would be completely sufficient for using exclusively after using the restroom. Maybe a hand rinse in a bucket w/ bleach and then some sanitizer for good measure? Yuck! The thought of no running water creeps me out!! But at the very least hand sanitizer would be good for using periodically throughout the day for general cleanliness for hands/arms. Especially right before handling food.

    It does have an expiration date. (This is due to the alcohol content. it does lose potency after a time.) I was able to find some with a date of 9/2017. I bought it last year, so that was pretty good. It also is very drying so stock up on some lotion too, or coconut oil.

    I’ve also purchased a case of industrial strength janitorial spray that’s supposed to kill anything and everything. Can’t remember the name of it right now, but keeping facilities clean will keep down spread of germs as well. There is also a kitty litter type of stuff that soaks up something like 2/3 times it’s weight in moisture. Anything to “control” the spread of waste/germs will be useful.

    Also, I’ve stocked up on baby wipes & those flushable wet wipes. When you can’t take a shower, those could really go a long way for hygiene, especially for women who are at a higher risk for infections and problems from poor hygiene.

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