72 Hours: How To Prepare For An Emergency

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It is always amazing as to in how many situations in healthcare and life in general, The First 72 hours, could be THE ONLY 72 HOURS! In this post, I am going to explore a few such situations, which are very common occurrences globally, and which if not dealt with decisively, lead to a lot of misery, pain, morbidity and sometimes ultimately, mortality. Through this post, we are going to learn how to prepare for an emergency, but one that is often not recognised as such. We will then be able to keep a self help kit at home, which we could call “The 72 Hour Kit”.

The right thing

When faced with any of these problems dear Reader, it is crucially important for you know that every hour that ticks by, could mean that you or your loved one will end up with an undesirable outcome. Action HAS TO BE TAKEN within 72 hours; 48 or even 24 hours is even better in these situations. So when problems like these crop up on a long weekend, say on Friday evening, often victims or their families decide to seek help on Tuesday, when services are running normal. But of course, the 72 hours will have elapsed on Monday evening, and absolutely no help would be available beyond that. The Science has shown that intervention has an efficacy of almost zero percent after 72 hours in these situations.

The public, and Healthcare Workers, need to be able to take urgent and compassionate action no matter the day of the week or hour of the day or night, to nip these problems in the bud.

For some of the conditions, there are pharmaceutical products that can be bought over the counter, and links are provided at the end of this post, where purchases can be made.
The remainder of the investigations and treatments would have to be done at the nearest health facility, where a qualified professional can prescribe the intervention.

1. Herpes virus infections.

The two I wish to deal with are Herpes simplex Type 1 infection (“cold sores” or “fever blisters”) and Herpes zoster (“shingles”).
Cold sores usually begin with a tingling sensation that can last hours, maybe the whole day. Later, the tiny blisters begin to erupt around the mouth or on the lips. Often they are noticed the following morning.
Early treatment with ACYCLOVIR CREAM, ABREVA DOCOSANOL COLD SORE CREAM, or any other quality cream prescribed by your Pharmacist, or with HERP RESCUE, is very important. This prevents extensive blistering and actually, if you TREAT THE TINGLE, the blisters can be aborted and never erupt! These cold sore treatments are some of those items you should have handy in your “72 hours Kit”. One just needs to emphasise the importance of ensuring that stocks of emergency medications should always be checked for date of expiry, and be handled with the highest standards of hygiene. Hygiene is important in the use of cold sore creams, as infection can spread to those around you or helping you, or auto-infection can occur. The herpes virus can also develop resistance to the antiviral agents if not handled properly. Links to products from Amazon.com:

#Ad  AbrevaDocosanol Cold Sore Treatment 10% Cream



#Ad  Herp Rescue



Herpes zoster or shingles, which manifests on the skin along the distribution of a nerve root or a few neighbouring nerve roots, also starts off with discomfort or pain. It usually affects people over the age of 65, or the immunosuppressed (due to HIV, diabetes, cancer treatment, etc). When the blisters erupt, it is important to note the time. This type of (reactivated chicken pox) infection needs antiviral therapy BY MOUTH. Urgent presentation to a health facility is necessary, as the treatment is not indicated beyond 72 hours after the blisters erupted. Prompt treatment limits the extent of the eruption and subsequent scarring, and lessens the pain associated with the condition, including “post-herpetic neuralgia”, the very distressing pain that can persist when the skin lesions have healed.

For a detailed discussion on SHINGLES (what is shingles, shingles symptoms, is shingles contagious, shingles treatment), please visit this article.

2. Unsafe sexual intercourse, including Sexual Assault.
This presents a lot of dangers. But the possibility of pregnancy and contracting HIV infection are the two problems to be dealt with here.

The Morning-After Pill has been used extensively for a long time, to prevent unplanned, unwanted pregnancy such as would occur in the two scenarios under discussion. This pharmacological agent has to be used as soon as possible after an accident or an unfortunate sexual assault.
Ladies who encounter these situations, many a times go through psychological turmoil of varying degrees. They experience shame, or guilt, or anger, or any combination of these emotions. That is understandable. But it needs to be emphasised that professional help has to be sought urgently, as every hour lost can never be regained. The empathetic support of a relative or partner makes a world of difference.

Anti-retroviral treatments have now been in use for decades to prevent HIV infection after unplanned or unsafe sexual intercourse, or accidents like condom rupture. The agents now in use are much safer than in past decades. Help has to be sought urgently, especially because counseling and blood testing has to be done before therapy can be instituted, to confirm that the patient does not already have HIV infection.
(Testing also has to be done where the Morning-After Pill has to be used, to exclude pregnancy.)

There could be several other instances where the 72 Hour Rule applies. Please, be mentally ready to take action to help yourself, a relative, friend or neighbour. Where possible, have unexpired medication ready at home.

In Criminology,

they advise us to take speedy action when a crime has occurred. Research has shown that the chances of solving a crime like theft or the disappearance of a person, dwindle drastically after 2 days. And hence Criminologists say, “The First 48 Hours, may be THE ONLY 48 HOURS”!

This is my message for now and indeed, for all of our lives! The aim of this post is not to suggest that other illnesses and ailments don’t require urgent action, it is to highlight the common conditions above, which in many instances are not recognised as having the urgency that they do have!


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8 Replies to “72 Hours: How To Prepare For An Emergency”

  1. Thank you for this reminder Doctor. It reminds me of my dear husband who just keeps on saying that it¡s not necessary to go to the doctor even if he is complaining of pain. But because of my ensistence, he ends up going to the doctor everytime he complains of pain. Hoping that this article will reach a lot of people to remind them how important it is to seek medical help especially in the cases mentioned above in the first 72 hours.

    1. Hi Julai,

      You are most welcome!

      You really understood the message of the article; thanks!

  2. Hello dear, what a wonderful content you have here, I believe that with what I’ve learnt as of today I’ll put it to practice, your article was amazing, it teaches us young ones a lot, in these given world there is a lot of uncertainty if what will happen next, and I believe that these post teaches us how to handle these uncertainty we face in our daily life’s, thanks alot

    1. Thanks.

      Prompt, decisive action is required in the situations discussed in the article.

      Stay blessed!

  3. Hello there,  thank you for this very detailed post,  as I read through this aticle I could remember an incident that happend when I was in college, when gun men broke in to one of the rooms in the female hostel and gang rape the girls and how the security of the hostel couldn’t come to their aid Is still a surprise but the next morning, the girls in the room refuse to open up that they were raped the only mentioned that their properties and all were taken,  though the school managemnet took actions an the criminals were caught but the girls who were raped were later discovered to have som e STDs,  which would have also been attended to only if they had opened up earlier, so most time also coreect communication in the first 72 is alao key I dealing with emergency.

    1. Thank you so much!

      Thanks for sharing this painful story. It reinforces the fact that what is addressed in the article happens to real people, every day, every hour! And in this case it happened to a number of people at the same time – what a tragedy! 😡

      We need to, as part of Life Skills Training, prepare young women and girls for this unfortunate occurrence, because it can happen to anyone! And where it has happened, we need to quickly engage skilled, empathetic Counsellors to help victims to, among other things, open up.


  4. I am also thinking that aspirin should be kept on hand in case of a heart attack.  Are there any other “72 hour” items that people should keep on hand?  You covered two important things but I’m wondering if there are more or if you are going to do another article as this was such interesting reading!  Well, I’m off to the drug store now!

    1. Hallo,

      Thanks very much.

      In this article, the intention was to bring to the fore, these few conditions that are actually not recognised as having the urgency that they do have.

      Yes, you are right. Aspirin is SUCH a lifesaver that is also so affordable! There are other medications too, for families or individuals who have specific health issues, that must absolutely be always at hand in the Emergency Kit e.g. Adrenaline or Epinephrine in the case of allergy or an extreme form of it called anaphylaxis.

      Thanks again.

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