How Bleach Kills Germs

Created in the 1800’s

French Chemist and pharmacist, Antoine-Germain Labarraque, is credited with formulating a solution of sodium hypochlorite (commonly called bleach) widely used as a disinfectant and deodorizer. In 1824, he was called to the death bed of King Louis XVIII, who suffered from extensive gangrene. The body emitted a foul odor long before death, which the chemist was able to remove by covering the body with a sheet soaked in chlorinated water. Long before the germ theory of infection, his solutions of sodium and calcium hypochlorite were used to disinfect and deodorize latrines, sewers, slaughter houses and morgues.1 The first recorded use of chlorine bleach as a medical disinfectant was recorded at the Vienna (Austria) General Hospital when staff began using it to keep “childbed fever,” a severe infection that killed countless women after they gave birth, from spreading throughout the maternity ward.2 During World War I, a diluted solution was used for open wound irrigation and is still in use today as an effective treatment against multiple antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is also used to disinfect dialysis equipment, some surgical equipment, surfaces in hospitals and medical labs, and even some medical waste.

Explanation Discovered in 2008

The effectiveness of bleach as a broad spectrum disinfectant has been known for nearly 200 years. In 2008, Ursula Jakob led a research team that discovered why. It seems that hypochlorous acid, the active ingredient in bleach attacks proteins in bacteria, causing them to clump up much like a boiled egg. The researchers were studying a bacterial protein called heat shock protein 33. This protein becomes active when cells are in distress, similar to that of a high fever. When the researchers exposed the bacteria to bleach, the heat shock protein became active in an attempt to protect other proteins in the bacteria from losing their chemical structure. Many of these proteins are essential for bacterial growth. Inactivating them will likely kill the bacteria. Further, they discovered that in response to infection, the human immune system produces a strong oxidizer, hypochlorous acid, generated by white blood cells, which helps destroy bacteria. The same chemical hypochlorous acid, is in Bleach.3 In addition to disinfecting surfaces, bleach is often stored to be used to disinfect water in a disaster situation. The problem is that bleach degrades quickly. Clorox Bleach representatives recommend storage for about 6 months at temperatures between 50 and 70º F. After this time, it begins to degrade at the rate of 20% each year and could end up as salt water.4 Instead of storing  liquid bleach, store calcium hypochlorite in granular form. Pure calcium hypochlorite, is one of the best chemical disinfectants for water. It destroys yeast, other fungi,and viruses as well as bacteria. A 1-pound bag will treat up to 10,000 gallons of drinking water.5                  References


Billie Nicholson, Editor
March 2015

March Newsletter Articles:

Add Sprouting Seeds to Your Supplies

How Bleach Kills Germs

Salt – Fact or Fiction

Onions More Benefits Than You Know

Veggie Balls for Pasta from the Solar Chef

Every Day Uses for WD-40

Sun Ovens Teach Solar Energy Concepts

Starting Seeds and Caring for Seedlings

Ground to Air Emergency Code

If you go hiking or skiing, these symbols may be useful should you need to communicate with a rescue team from afar. You need to send a message your rescuer will understand. Keep a copy of these symbols in your jacket pocket or better yet, commit these to memory.

Symbol              Message

I                        Serious injuries, need a doctorEmergency Ground to Air Emergency Code

II                        Need medical supplies

V                        Require assistance

F                         Need food and water

LL                       All is well

Y                         Yes

N                         No

X                         Require medical assistance

–>                       Proceeding in this direction

Go to a large clear area on the highest terrain. Use whatever you can find as a marker that can be seen from aircraft or search parties.  Pick items that will contrast with the ground. When all else fails, remember the international symbol : SOS

Billie Nicholson, Editor
November 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude

A Winter “To Do” List  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints

Super size your rain water storage

Inviting pests to leave your home this winter, naturally

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing

French style Stew

Home-made Gel Packs

Have you ever had a sprained ankle or knee? Icy gel packs can offer relief of pain and swelling. They are most effective when they can be fitted around the swollen joint to cool the inflamed area thoroughly. You can make your own version of gel packs from everyday things around your house.

Components Needed

  • Water
  • Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • Water tight freezer bag – quart size



  • 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of alcohol to the plastic bag and seal it.
  • Place bag in the freezer for 3 hours (put it in a small bowl to keep it upright).
  • The alcohol will not let the fluid freeze solid, it stays slushy, for a better fit around an injured joint.
  • When needed, remove the bag from the freezer and apply it to the swollen area.
  • Elevate the injured area above the heart if possible. Cold compression and elevation work together to prevent the injured area from swelling.
  • To prevent frost bite or cold burns, place a towel or wash cloth between the plastic bag and the skin.
  • Alternate 20 minutes with the cold compress and 2 hours without the compress for 3 days or until the swelling completely subsides.
  • If the swelling is severe, you can reapply the compress after 30 minutes for the first 1-2 hours after the injury occurs. IF SWELLING PERSISTS, SEE A DOCTOR.

Billie Nicholson, editor
November 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude

A Winter “To Do” List  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter.

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter.

Super size your rain water storage

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing

French style Stew

Will the Paramedics Make It?

Israeli dressing Paramedic Multi-Purpose Wound Dressing

We can all be prepared to take the initiative to save a life, should we be faced with a life or death situation. Here are three critical first aid procedures that can be accomplished with one dressing.

Israeli Bandage – invented by an Israeli military medic and manufactured in Israel, these bandages are designed to stop blood loss in non-fatally wounded people. Since the tactic for caring for wounded on the spot has become a life saving technique, the Israeli dressing is the bandage of choice of US military medics, emergency medical services and law enforcement personnel.  Available in 4, 6 and 8” wide, this bandage has a sterile non-adhering dressing that can be removed without reopening the wound. A pressure plate  is placed directly over the wound to stop bleeding. The wrapping techniques applies pressure.

It also has a C clamp to hold the bandage closed without tape that can be secured by a simple sliding motion with one hand. This can be self applied.  The Israeli bandage can be used as a splint with the addition of a straight solid object to keep the broken limb immobilized or serve as a partial tourniquet. One form of this bandage has two pads to deal with through and through wounds. The exit wound often bleeds more profusely than the entrance, so place the largest pad over the exit wound and adjust the second to cover the entrance wound. Watch this training video.

Add Wound Dressings to Your First Aid Kit


Additional Articles in the April 2014 Issue:

  • A reminder to review and rotate three types of items in your 72 hour emergency kit.
  • A discussion of the importance of “duck and cover” in surviving a nuclear attack
  • What are your plans to provide protein in your diet in an emergency situation? Here are some items to add to your supplies
  • Are members of your family hearing impaired that might not hear a smoke alarm?
  • Our featured contributor this month is Tess Pennington of She shares an article about Bio Mass Briquettes. Now you’ll have an environmentally friendly use for those shredded documents.
  • Sun Ovens are a perfect partner for bio mass briquettes, here’s how …
  • Some of our friends have complained that their yards were so shady that they doubted they could grow anything in a garden. In answer to their questions, here are some plants that can be grown in shade. Don’t give up on your yard either. Read more
  • Speaking of gardening, do you use Epsom salts? Here’s why.
  • Our Solar Chef has included a wonderful recipe for Solar Stuffed Shells. Give it a try, these are yummy.

Billie Nicholson, Editor
April 2014

Natural Remedies to Add to Your First Aid Kit

A first aid kit should contain more than just bandages and antiseptic creams. There are a variety of items in your kitchen cabinet and perhaps on your window ledge that can be added to first aid kits.*

  1. 120px-Aloe_VeraAloe Vera is a member of the succulent family, related to cactus. It has a reputation for healing and soothing burns. Keeping a plant growing in a kitchen window will make it handy to snip a leaf and apply it to burns. Aloe Vera can be used to make a mouth rinse and hand sanitizer. It is also soothing for sunburn. 1
  2. 800px-Large_CayenneCayenne Pepper can be used for wounds that won’t stop bleeding. Apply the powder topically over the wound. Mixing a teaspoon of cayenne to a cup of warm water and giving it to the person to drink has been reported to stop a heart attack in progress. 2
  3. gingerGinger helps reduce nausea or motion sickness and lower blood sugar levels (diabetics use with caution). Available in many forms: capsules, powder, tea, essential oil, crystallized or fresh rhizome, it has also been used for indigestion, gas or bloating.Sipping a tea made from boiled ginger rhizome has been shown to reduce nausea for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
  4. clovesClove Oil  has pain reducing properties. It is often used in dental emergencies. I’ve made a small pouch of ground cloves in gauze, tied with dental floss and tucked it under and around the inside of a broken molar. This provided pain relief and kept the side of my tongue from being sliced by the sharp filling until I was able to see a dentist. 4
  5. garlic clovesRaw Garlic Cloves have been touted as great medicine for asthma, coughs, difficulty breathing and other disorders of the lungs. It can be used to clear sinuses, stop bug bite itching, and relieve ear aches. 5
  6. peppermintPeppermint Oil is especially useful for headache and stress relief. Use a small amount of carrier oil, like almond, and a drop of peppermint oil rubbed on your temples, forehead, over the sinuses (avoid the eyes), and on the back of the neck to soothe headache.6
  7. Witch HazelWitch Hazel has been used for centuries by Native Americans as an astringent. In addition to treating acne and oily skin, it can be used to reduce eye puffiness and for shrinking blood vessels (did you know it is a major ingredient in Preparation H® hemorrhoid cream?) Witch Hazel is an excellent remedy for sore throats. Make a tea from leaves and twigs by soaking them in very hot water. Add a few cloves and soak for at least 15 minutes. Strain off the solids and gargle with the tea. Tattoo artists use Witch Hazel to cleanse a new tattoo. It cleans the skin of germs and bacteria and soothes inflammation.Dab it on cuts and scrapes to reduce bleeding and clean an injured area to prevent infection. Eases sunburn discomfort.

These are just a very few natural products to add to your first aid kit. We would love to know what other items you include. Send your comments to:

Billie Nicholson
March 2014

*Note: The author is not a licensed physician, the suggestions in this article should not replace the advice of trained medical staff and officials. This information is not intended as a substitute for a first aid course, but offers information that could be used when professional medical assistance id delayed or temporarily unavailable. All information presented in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and neither the author or Sun Oven International, Inc. can accept responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use of this information.









Treating Bug Bites and Stings Naturally with Coconut Oil

Jennifer Saleem


As the weather heats up, so do the number of bug bites and bee stings. No one enjoys getting nibbled on by our insect friends but for those times when you do find yourself dealing with the discomfort of a bite or sting, make sure you have some coconut oil on hand. I’ve documented 333 uses for coconut oil!
When coconut oil is applied to bites or stings, it forms a thin layer that protects the cut from dust and bacteria. With its anti-bacterial properties, you can rest assured that you are getting some much needed protection from any germs trying to take advantage of a little opening into your body! Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties so it can provide quick relief for itchy insect bites.

If you are dealing with a really deep or painful bite or sting OR you just couldn’t help yourself and you scratched it raw, there are a few other natural treatments you might want to consider using in addition to coconut oil.        

Aloe vera is a medicinal plant with many benefits. It contains vitamins and amino acids that help regenerate the skin. The gel can be applied directly to the affected skin in concert with coconut oil. I like to apply a layer of aloe then top it with a layer of coconut oil.
Garlic is a powerful antibacterial. It is nature’s antibiotic. Because of its powerful antibiotic property, garlic can cure more serious insect bites and stings. In disinfecting wounds, crush and juice a garlic bulb and apply directly onto affected area. A gauze and bandage application may be used to cover and protect the area.
Sweet basil leaves and seeds have many medicinal benefits, including the treatment of insect bites and stings. To treat insect bites and stings, juice out crushed fresh leaves and add water. Apply the juice onto skin directly on the bite or sting.
Of course, it is best to avoid getting nibbled on or stung in the first place.

Here are some suggestions that I’ve found to be helpful in preventing potential bites by mosquitoes, bees, and other bugs:
1.  When you’re outdoors, wear light-colored clothing. Many insects use their vision to locate targets from a distance; dark clothing and rich foliage are prime attractants.
2. When working in the garden or hiking in dense foliage, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. Insects are less likely to stick around if they can’t access your skin easily.
3. Whenever practical, try not to be outdoors for long stretches at a time when you are hot. You release more carbon dioxide when you are hot, and this is a major attractant of insects, especially mosquitoes.
4. Try not to be outdoors after an intense workout. Vigorous exercise can result in significant lactic acid build-up in your muscles, and lactic acid is a strong attractant of mosquitoes.
5. Don’t eat salty foods. Salty foods can cause production of higher-than-normal amounts of lactic acid.
6. Wipe off perspiration on a regular basis. Perspiration attracts insects via the chemicals contained within. Perspiration increases the humidity around your body, which also attracts mosquitoes specifically.
7. If possible, stay away from pools of water. Even mud puddles and moist plants attract all kinds of insects.
8. Wear a natural insect repellent particularly one that is heavy with essential oils. Check out Carrie Raab’s post on essential oils as insect repellent for some great ideas.

Reproduced with PermissionJennifer signature


Honey, More than Just a Sweetener

honeyHoney is a viscous sweetener

made naturally by bees, from the nectar of plants, for their own consumption. After collection, the bees regurgitate the nectar into hexagonal-sided honeycomb cells made of wax and stored inside a bee hive. The constant fanning by the bees’ wings cause evaporation creating the sweet liquid we call honey. The color and flavor of honey will vary based on the flower nectar collected. Beekeepers harvest honey by collecting the honeycomb frames and scraping off the wax cap made by the bees to seal the honey in each cell.  Spinning the frames in a centrifuge extracts the liquid from each cell.

It is a versatile food staple and with a little care, can be stored indefinitely. Honey found in Egyptian tombs was still good after 2,000 years. Consider adding it to your emergency supplies.

Raw honey,

processed with a minimal amount of heat, contains many phytonutrients which provide anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. There are three key health benefits: it is a natural energy booster,  a great immune system builder, and  a natural remedy for many ailments

When you use it in cooking instead of sugar, reduce the amount by 1/2, reduce liquid by 1/4 cup and reduce cooking temperature 25º.

As a remedy for ailments, it can be used for hangovers, sore throats, sleeplessness, and cuts and burns. Mix it with vinegar for a self-detox, with cinnamon for bad breath and hair loss, and with milk to improve digestion. Do not feed it to babies less than a year old because of the danger of botulism.

Recent declines in honey bee populations

have researchers looking for causes. Their results show a complex mix of pesticide and fungicide exposure and bee pathogens as the problem.  Some regulatory agencies are considering stricter controls on agricultural chemicals used as part of the solution.

Billie Nicholson

Calling 9-1-1

Everyone should know what to in an Emergency.  Whenever there is an emergency, use the following tips to help decide if you should call 9-1-1 (or local emergency number) for an ambulance.

911 should be called IMMEDIATELY for any emergency which is threatening to life, health, safety, or property. This includes crimes in progress, medical problems, suspicious persons or activities. Fire emergencies, criminal offenses, drug activity, and domestic problems should also be promptly reported to 9-1-1.

Non-emergency requests for service should be directed to an administrative number. Add your local number to your emergency contacts. Listen to the recorded options and select the line # for non emergency. Stay on the line until a dispatcher answers.


Call if victim…

… is trapped

… is not responding or is passed out

… is bleeding badly or bleeding cannot be stopped

… has a cut or wound so bad and deep that you can see bone or muscles

… has a body part missing or is torn away

… has pain below the rib cage that does not go away

… is peeing, pooping or puking blood (called passing blood)

… is breathing weird or having trouble breathing

… seems to have hurt their head, neck or back

… is jerking uncontrollably (called having a seizure)

… has broken bones and cannot be moved carefully

… acts like they had a heart attack (chest pain or pressure)

… If you call 9-1-1 there may be a recording or delay while your call is being processed. DO NOT HANG UP — wait for a 9-1-1 dispatcher.

When you talk to 9-1-1 or the emergency number…

… try to stay CALM and describe what happened and what is wrong with the victim

… give the location of the emergency, your name and the phone number you are calling from

… follow their instructions in case they tell you what to do for the victim

… do NOT hang up until the 9-1-1 operator tells you to.

Since you are calling from a cell phone, your call may be disconnected if the signal is lost. Be sure to call back if you are cut off.

… When calling 9-1-1 on a cellular phone, be sure to stop if you are in a moving vehicle. It is difficult to obtain all of the information needed if you are getting further from the emergency.

Calling 9-1-1

by Bill and Janet Liebsch

… Your call may need to be transferred to another agency because cell phone calls are sent to a 9-1-1 answering point based on cell radio coverage. Cell coverage areas don’t always match political boundaries, so most calls are routed to a 9-1-1 answering point that serves the majority of the area.


Reproduced with Permission:  from “It’s a Disaster …and what are YOU gonna do about it?”, by Bill and Janet Liebsch


Morgan County, TN ”911 Tips” version of above



     The definition of a “Samaritan” is a charitable or helpful person. Most states have Good Samaritan laws that were designed to protect citizens who try to help injured victims with emergency care. If a citizen uses “logical” or “rational” actions while making wise or careful decisions during an emergency situation then they can be protected from being sued.

To learn more about your state’s Good Samaritan laws, check with your local library, search the web or contact an attorney.

Tips on Reducing the Spread of Germs or Diseases

Whenever you perform first aid on anyone, there is always a chance of spreading germs or diseases between yourself and the victim. These steps should be followed no matter what kind of first aid is being done — from very minor scrapes to major emergencies — to reduce the risk of infection.

BE AWARE…this is an emergency situation – you could be putting yourself in danger!

… Try to avoid body fluids like blood or urine (pee).

… Cover any open cuts or wounds you have on your body since they are doorways for germs!

BE PREPARED…Stay calm and Think before you act

… Wash your hands with soap and water before and after giving first aid. If using hand sanitizer, rub hands for at least 15 seconds.

… Have a first aid kit handy, if possible.

… Put something between yourself and victim’s body fluids, if possible

…  Blood or urine – wear disposable gloves or use a clean dry cloth

…  Saliva or spittle – use a disposable Face Shield during Rescue Breathing

… Clean up area with household bleach to kill germs.

… and… HAVE A PLAN! Check the ABC’s, call 9-1-1 and help victim 

Airway. Open the airway by tilting the head back, gently lifting the jaw up, and leaving mouth open.

Breathing. Place your ear over victim’s mouth and nose. Look at chest, listen, and feel for breathing for    3-5 seconds.

Circulation. Check for a pulse using fingertips (not your thumb) in the soft spot between throat and the muscle on the side of the neck for 5-10 seconds.


Before giving first aid, you must have the victim’s permission. Tell them who you are, how much training you’ve had, and how you plan to help. Do not give care to someone who refuses it – unless they are unable to respond. Reproduced with Permission:  “It’s a Disaster …and what are YOU gonna do about it?”

Winter Storm Survival

winter stormWinter Storms can be Killers

Did you know that most deaths due to winter storms are indirectly related to the storm? People die of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. They also die in traffic accidents on icy roads.

You may be familiar with the terms frostbite and hypothermia, but it’s important to be familiar with the warning signs of each.


Frostbite is damaging to body tissue caused by that tissue being frozen. Frostbite causes loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.


The warning signs include:

• Uncontrollable shivering

• Memory loss

• Disorientation

• Incoherence

• Slurred speech

• Drowsiness

• Apparent exhaustion

If you notice any of the warning signs, start by taking the person’s temperature. If it’s below 95 F (35 C), immediately seek medical care. If medical care is not available, begin warming the person slowly. Warm the body core first. If needed, use your own body heat to help.

Get the person into dry clothing, wrap them in a warm blanket, covering the head and neck. Do not give the person any hot beverage or food; warm broth is best. Do not warm extremities first, as it can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure.


Wear a hat or wool stocking cap, because more than 50% of the body’s heat is lost through the head or neck area.

Keep your feet dry by wearing a thin pair of polypropylene socks underneath heavy wool socks. The wool socks will wick moisture away from your feet.

Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Also, mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.


When dealing with winter survival, the C.O.L.D. acronym can help you stay safe and warm.

• Keep your body and clothes Clean

• Avoid Overheating

• Dress in loose Layers of clothing that will trap body heat

• Keep clothes Dry


November, 2011               Every Needful Thing                             Jason M. Carlton


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