5 Life-Threatening Injuries That Are Totally Survivable During a Disaster—if You Know How

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I get a gnawing feeling in my stomach when I hear stories of people who died from an injury they might have survived if they’d just known a [...]

By | February 9th, 2015|Bones, Cuts, Other Wounds, Skin|8 Comments

Disease-Scare Burnout? 4 Action Tips to Help Prevent Almost Any Infection

Disease scares getting you down? 4 action-based tips you can take other than just worry. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Scares … can be quite scary. And the scarier the news, the more it sells. So headlines emphasize the worst scenario. A few years back, a producer of a popular television program told me their crew called this phenomenon of headlining the latest bad health news their “scare of the week.” Well, OK, they’ve scared us. Now what do we do? […]

By | August 4th, 2014|Infectious Disease|20 Comments

The Top-8 Medical Uses for Vodka

Previously the top-7 medical uses! by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Thursday, the U.S. government banned liquids, including gels, in carry-ons to Russia. That means hand sanitizers. That means hand sanitizers that reporters and visitors on their way to Sochi for the Olympics probably packed because of tales of contaminated water. What to do? Even if you didn’t put sanitizer in your checked bag and Russia’s all sold out when you get there, remember, this country just so happens to be famous for … its vodka. Vodka is about 40 percent alcohol. Alcohol kills germs. So in a pinch, vodka = medical supply. […]

By | February 10th, 2014|Cuts, Infectious Disease, Skin|25 Comments

Small Items Could Prevent Major Misery in Emergency Shelters

Residents of Springfield, Missouri, gather in an emergency shelter during an ice storm in January 2007. by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Hurricane season is upon us. Some can take that literally right now. But my suggestions can be applied to any disaster, or any time you might have to spend a little close, quality time in a group shelter. Things that could prevent you from catching some nasty infection while you’re there. The CDC has great information on supplies that would be good to bring to an emergency shelter. It’s always a good idea to pre-pack so you won’t forget something essential, like a prescription medicine, at the last minute. I’d like to add a few infection-prevention items you might not have thought of. Things you can stuff in that won’t take up much room. […]

By | August 27th, 2012|Infectious Disease|52 Comments

Get the Pus Out! How to Lance a Boil

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Okay, I know you think it’s gross, but if you get a boil and it’s impossible to find a health-care professional, you’re going to want to know this. A boil is an infected lump in your skin that’s hard and filled with pus. It can be the size of a pea or golf ball. Something as simple as a single infected hair follicle can cause it. Or a cyst might get infected. A boil can not only be extremely painful, it can get you down. The infection can make you weak and give you a fever. There are other things to try first, but sometimes, a boil just has to be lanced. […]

By | February 28th, 2012|Other Wounds, Skin|314 Comments

How a Felon Could Make You Lose a Finger

This is a paronychia—an infection that stays around the fingernail. It’s not as dangerous as a felon (another type of finger infection), but it still needs proper treatment so it doesn’t get worse. by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. If you’ve ever had a hangnail that got a little infected, you discovered you have a lot of nerve endings in your fingers. And you found out you use your hands for just about everything. Hands you’ll especially need during disasters. Fortunately, most infected hangnails heal well as long as you keep the area dry and clean. (Gloves? Band-Aids?) But sometimes, rarely, an infected finger can get serious. The infection can run up the finger, into your hand’s tendons, and you have a dangerous mess on your hands—literally. Or the fingertip can become so swollen that it starts cutting of the circulation, putting you in danger of losing that finger. This type of infection is called, perhaps appropriately, a felon. Here are some tips to help you kinda know what you’re dealing with and what to do. […]

By | February 23rd, 2012|Other Wounds, Skin|504 Comments