Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Review: The Survival Medicine Handbook
NOTE: In June 2016, a Revised and Expanded Third Edition was released. Links in this article have been redirected to the Thrid Edition so that you might obtain the best and most current edition of this book.
Original Review (September 2014)
The featured Book of the Month for September is The Survival Medicine Handbook by Joseph Alton, M.D, and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. I own this book, and consider it one of the few truly "must have" books in my survival library.
The Survival Medicine Handbook is a massive 554-page tome subtitled "A guide for when medical help us NOT on the way." I highly recommend this book, and consider it the second medical book you must have after a good general first aid handbook (and take a first aid/CPR course while you are at it). The book is now in its second edition (click on the image to the left to go to the Amazon.com page for the book).
In addition to the introductory material, the book is broken down into several sections.
Section 1 is on the principles of medical preparedness, and explains such concepts as the right attitude, what is medical preparedness, integrated medicine, and the difference between wilderness medicine and long-term survival medicine.
Section 2 is on becoming a medical resource. It looks at the survival medic, the status assessment, likely issues you may face, medical skills and supplies you will want to acquire, and even information on growing a medical garden.
Section 3 is on hygiene and sanitation (which both can be problematic during a disaster or grid-down scenario). It also includes information on dealing with lice, ticks, and worms, sewage issues, dehydration, and food poisoning, among other issues.
Section 4 is on dealing with infections, including abscesses, tetanus, hepatitis, appendicitis, and urinary tract infections. Section 5 deals with environmental factors, including heat stroke, hypothermia, allergic reactions, poison oak, ivy, and sumac, radiation sickness, and biological warfare.
Section 6 is on dealing with injuries, such as minor and major wounds, wound closure, blisters, splinters, and fishhooks, burn injuries, animal and snake bites, insect bites and stings, head injuries, sprains, dislocations, and fractures.
Section 7 discusses chronic medical problems such as thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, kidney stones, and even varicose veins, among other conditions. Section 8 covers a myriad of other medical issues, including CPR, headaches, eye care, hemorrhoids, and anxiety and depression. Also covered in this section are issues of birth control and pregnancy.
Section 9 covers medications. In it, the Alton's discuss essential over-the-counter drugs, what and how to stockpile drugs, pain medications, natural pain relief, and how to use antibiotics. There is also a discussion of expiration dates.
The book closes with a section of references (both print and video) and a glossary of medical terminology. It does have a very useful 16-page index. There are a number of black-and-white photos and illustrations throughout the book.
What I like about The Survival Medicine Handbook is that it is well thought-out, quite extensive, covering almost every survival medicine topic imaginable, and very detailed. Yet, it is still accessible by the general reader with little of no medical background (like myself).
About the Authors: Joseph Alton is a medical doctor, obstetrician, and pelvic surgeon, who has taught medicine at the University level. Now retired, he devotes his time to the topic of survival medicine. Amy Alton is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with a Master's degree in Nursing, and a Certified Nurse-Midwife. She also has a strong interest in gardening and medical herbs. Together, they are the husband and wife team behind the Doom and Bloom survival medicine website, and podcast. They also have an information-packed You Tube channel.