INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Say Buh-Bye to This Bacterial Bad Boy

We enjoy pure, clean water and take our city sanitation services for granted, but what if that were no longer the case?  Did

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you know that millions of people die each year from diarrhea and the dehydration it causes?  What if a simple case of the stomach flu led to serious complications because your water source was tainted and you didn’t have access to medical care?  Just a 10% decrease in your body’s fluids will result in death.

Two must-haves for your emergency bags and First Aid kit are anti-diarrheal medicine and a simple rehydration concoction you can mix up in your own kitchen.  A few months ago I assembled forty of these packets and have tucked them into my pantry, vehicle emergency kit, and have even put a few in the glove compartment of my husband’s truck.

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt

That’s it.  Some people add a bit of Kool-Aid to provide flavor, but it isn’t necessary.  When this sugar/salt combo is mixed with a liter of clean water, you have an effective rehydration fluid that will go a long way toward helping someone recover from a bout with the stomach flu.

I don’t know about you, but I am not fond of talking about diarrhea and even less fond of dealing with it, but it’s such a simple thing to prepare for that it doesn’t make any sense to overlook it.  Add some ginger ale to your pantry and some saltine crackers (watch out for their expiration date), and you’re all set to deal with this bacterial bad boy.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(29) Readers Comments

  1. Saltines get stale waaay too fast. It makes me sad. I'm trying to figure out how many packets of salt and sugar from restaurants it takes to do this. I'll let you know when I get it.

    • I know! I was so bummed the first time I opened a box of Saltines and they smelled so nasty bad. I haven't tried repackaging them, which is something I preach and should practice with saltines! My kids love those things, and, believe it or not, think they're a real treat!

  2. Repackaging helps– a bit. Try making your own. They won't keep any length of time at all because the family will eat them as fast as you can make them.

  3. I found this off Yahoo Answers:

    Wheat flour & white flour are a bit different in consistency, so I am not sure if you would get the desired product. Try this recipe:

    Homemade Saltine Crackers

    2 c. flour
    1 tsp. salt
    2/3 c. milk
    2 tbsp. butter
    1/2 tsp. baking soda

    Combine the dry ingredients, cut in the butter, then stir in the milk. Round into a ball and knead for few strokes. Divide dough into several pieces and roll out very thin on a floured board. Lay sheets on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and prick with a fork. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
    2 years ago

  4. Thanks for the recipes.
    If you add Kool Aid, is it the unsweetened pack?
    Gotta try those crackers…my youngest son is a carb junkie! :)

    • I think the Kool-Aid could be either sweetened or not. There's already plenty of sugar in the mixture, but a little more wouldn't matter.

  5. When you say T for the measurements is that a tablespoon or teaspoon? I know I sound a right 'doh' but need to get it right!

    • Capitol T's are Tablespoons. Small t's are teaspoons in almost all recipes.

  6. I'd stick with unsweetened coolaid. Actually, if you're really dehydrated and excess of sugar can make it worse (you do need *some* for your body to process the salt, but e.g., chugging a juice won't do it). I got the warning from a friend of mine who is a PhD in pediatric pharmacology…. but here's a couple of links worth scanning:

    If it's diarrhea and fluids can be held down I would try extensive hydration therapy to keep up with the loss of fluids and only use Imodium if I thought that battle was being lost… chances are there is something nasty your body is trying to get rid of and the Imodium will delay it. It's a judgment call if that is a good thing or not.

    The nato oral rehydration solution ($3 per pack!!) also contains potassium chloride (NuSalt) and Trisodium Citrate which I think are more or less optional. A banana would take care of the potassium and is binding as well. Rice helps too, and less complications that Imodium.

    I've seen very few cases where Imodium was truly needed despite some nasty bugs in some pretty undeveloped parts of the globe.

    • Great advice! Thanks!

    • My local store sells Mylar-packaged portions of pureed banana in the baby food dept. Would this work as a binding agent (we puree it when we chew, right?) in addition to the potassium? Trying to think of a storage-friendly way of having bananas on hand- rice, no prob! Just a question, why are we concocting a solution when they sell propel/ gatorade single-serve powder packs?

  7. I use Imodium *only in an emergency* ie. Going home on the train and can't get to bathroom quickly. Mom23wolves is right, you have to let your body get rid of it. If you don't you can rupture inside. Pepto-Bismol is good for treating bacterial infections besides coating your stomach –Imodium won't.

    Ginger Tea is great for an upset tummy!

    • Years ago a friend said you could throw an Imodium into a swimming pool and it would turn into cement. Pretty perceptive for an engineer! LOL

  8. A tablespoon of carob powder mixed with applesauce (or whatever else you have on hand that the sick person can keep down) is an effective treatment for diarrhea. My midwife recommended I try it during my 2nd pregnancy and I've kept carob powder on hand ever since.

  9. A note on the Immodium — my husband fought Irritable Bowel Syndrome for years and practically lived on Immodium. It seemed necessary at the time. Then later he developed Diverticular Disease, which was even worse and ended after several years of suffering in the removal of nearly half his colon. The surgeon who treated him told us that the Diverticular Disease probably began because of the overuse of the Immodium, that it caused a backlog that literally began to destroy healthy tissue. So now I only keep Immodium for emergency use — like maybe once a year and only for a day or two. Just because it's sold over-the-counter doesn't mean it can't be detrimental to your health.

    • Two words: Glutin sensitivity. Get him off wheat and processed foods.

  10. The packs of rehydrating mix are just an inexpensive way to have it on hand. Also, sugar and salt have a shelf-life of forever as long as they're kept dry. I'm not sure about the commercial mixes. Re: bananas. Check the ingredients on that pureed banana and see if it's all banana or if other fillers have been added.

  11. Dried bananas can be re-hydrated by simmering in water or juice. I do this to make banana bread from the dried ones. Comes out just lovely.

  12. Pingback: Survival Family: Let’s not forget the kids

  13. Pingback: Family Survival: Let’s not forget the kids

  14. A treatment to slow down diarrhea in kids and adults who are not vomiting is called the BRAT diet. B for bread and bananas,R for rice,A for applesauce and T for tea(weak tea).

    • BRAT diet= Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast

  15. The best thing I ever found for diarrhea is called Bacid. It's a probiotic that the pediatrician recommended when my kids were teething and developed the most horrible diarrhea. Anyway, one dose would usually take care of the problem without causing any further tummy troubles…we still keep it on hand. It's great for treating tummies that are unsettled from antibiotics.

  16. If you are medical professional and/or can be taught how to do it, being able to insert a nasogatric tube to rehydrate someone can be a lifesaver, especially if they are weak, vomiting or in and out of conciousness (or too old or young to understand or follow directions). For those unfamiliar, a nasogastric or NG tube goes in through the nose and into the stomach. It's taped in place on the a persons face and you can put liquids down the tube for the body to absorb. Again, it takes skill to ensure it's not in the person's lungs, but a cheap $15 stethescope can be used to confirm tube placement. This would be a lifesaver in a true TEOTWAWKI situation. Ask a nurse or doctor how to do it and never attempt unless you have been trained appropriately.

  17. Storage friendly way of having bananas on hand-you can buy freeze dried bananas in the dried foods section of many grocery stores, and I've seen them online at most everywhere that sells emergency foods (refer to thesurvivalmom's "resouces" link. Some of the nutrition (and thus, the potassium) is lost during processing of any type. Baby food is heated at very high temperatures before packaging/canning and although some nutrition is lost during the freeze drying process, I would think anything that is freeze dried would retain more nutrition than the baby food would, but that's just my thinking on it (research it online to be sure).

    Personally, the reason I would (and often do) make my own solution is because it costs next to nothing compared to oral re-hydrating solutions like pedialyte. There are several different types of gatorade now on the market but they usually have too much sugar, which can actually make you more dehydrated ( Refer to Mom23Wolves's post- it is 100% accurate in every regard).

  18. yogurt works great

  19. where can I purchase little packets?

  20. I good, natural treatment for diarrhea is rice water. Cook some rice as usual but double the amount of water. Drink the excess water after the rice has cooked.

  21. Check out local hobby stores. A lot of them carry small bags in various dimensions, perfect for making up packets of vitamins, dry solutions etc.

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