Have you ever considered personal hygiene tips? While many people spend the first part of prepping getting their water supply right, they often overlook the need for the water used for other things besides drinking. Yes, water is crucial to have when a disaster strikes, a person only able to survive for around 3 days without it.
But what about hygiene? That’s why I thought to include this article on personal hygiene tips to highlight this fact.
Dehydration isn’t the number one killer after a disaster, especially those events that also include exceptionally long recovery times. While a lack of water certainly creates problems in the short term, it’s the threat of disease that often follows many emergency situations, particularly since water is one of the key utilities so easily affected by disasters.
Think about the average amount of water an American uses on a daily basis, besides drinking. The number is staggering, around a hundred gallons.
If the taps stopped working in your home and you suddenly needed to use bottled water instead, or worse, have to find the water in a stream or lake, would you still use that much? The answer is probably no. It would be far too difficult.
But if you didn’t have that water to use, would your hygiene levels remain the same? One of the best ways of spreading disease is human waste. With a flushing toilet, it’s just a matter of pushing a button.
But what if there was no button to push? How would you ‘take care’ of business then? That’s where the following tips will hopefully show you the best way to prepare for such a situation.
Tips for Personal Hygiene for When City Water Service Fails
Tip #1: The Good Old-Fashioned Outhouse
Considering human waste is one of the quickest and efficient ways to spread disease, this solution has reason to be at number one. The first thing you’ll want to ensure during an emergency, is where to take care of business.
That’s where these toilets come in especially handy. It’s not like we’ve always lived with permanent flushing toilets in our homes.
Compared to history, the flushing toilet hasn’t been around for very long. They don’t even exist in some countries today. Back before they came along, toilets were situated away from the home, far enough away to remove any chance of the waste affecting the occupants.
It normally involved a hole dug in the ground and some sort of privacy shield. The deeper the hole, the longer it lasts. As long as you keep the hole a good 30 feet away from your home.
Tip #2: A Porta-Pottie
While an outhouse is a great option, what if you have nowhere to dig a hole? Many people live in high-rises and digging a hole for them is impossible. The answer is a portable version, one anyone can build and use with little issues.
Grab yourself a 5-gallon bucket and mount a toilet seat on it. Line the bucket with sufficient-sized plastic bags. As you use them, tie them off and replace them as necessary.
Tip #3: Clean the Germ-Spreaders
One of the most efficient tools to spread germs are your hands. We are often told to wash them often to avoid catching a disease and spreading germs. But with water in limited supply, there is one perfect alternative.
Antibacterial hand sanitizer is a wonderful invention, killing germs on your hands without the need for water. It’s fairly easy to make your self if there’s none specifically around.
All it takes is some rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel. Combine the 2 and you have a great homemade antibacterial hand sanitizer.
Tip #4: Wash Hands if You Need
If there is no way to get your hands on antibacterial hand cleaner, then washing your hands will need to do. It is still the best way to clean your hands, a simple bar of soap sure to kill the germs. But a common mistake people make in times of need, is to use water in a basin, shared between members of your family or party.
The problem with this is that the germs on everybody’s hands simply spread from one person to the next, effectively creating a cesspool of germs in the basin. Use a minimal amount of running water instead.
Tip #5: Bathe in a Bucket
Whilst bathing in a bucket isn’t possible, it is possible to use a scoop and a bucket, pouring minimal amounts of water over yourself between lathering up. It’s a much better alternative to a standard bath that uses 30-40 gallons.
Tip #6: Leave Your Hair Alone
While many of us tend to wash our hair daily, it doesn’t actually need it. It’s only because our scalp feels dirty and itchy when we miss a day or 2. But once your body is used to it, you’d be surprised how long you can go without washing it.
Tip #7: Don’t Hesitate to Stockpile
Hygiene is just as important as the other items on your list, and as such, stockpiling them now is a great place to start. A bar of soap here or a tube of toothpaste there. It all adds up and helps in the long run.