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  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12272

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

Emergency Medical Assessment

Dr. James Hubbard, The Survival Doctor

 How to Figure Out What’s Wrong

Picture yourself walking down a trail and you find someone lying down, unconscious. Or it could be inside or outside your house, on the side of a road after a wreck—virtually anywhere. But let’s stick with the scenario of a trail. What would you do? Put yourself in the scene. What would do?

Go for help? Yell for help? Run over and actually try to help? Ignore the whole ordeal? That’s going to be a little awkward given the situation that you’re the only one around, but I’m sure it would be tempting to some. But, in fact, after you’re viewed all the segments in this video series, I hope they’ll prompt you not only to help out, but in some instances take charge, even in a crowd of people—at least until expert help becomes available, if that is an option.

Okay, have you thought about it? Someone’s unconscious. What you should do?Emergency Medical Assessment

Your Safety First

First is make sure you’re safe. Make sure whatever might have injured this person isn’t going to injure you. I mean, you’re not helping anyone if you get injured also. In fact, you’re doing more harm because now there are two victims to save. So, look for possible falling rocks, animals, other people who may wish you harm. Next, if you deem it safe, go over and check the person. Yell, “Are you okay?” Shake their shoulder. Pinch their face.

You might get a pinch back if they wake up, but do whatever you can to wake the person … except, what’s the number one thing you should not do at this time? Do you know?

Do not move the person. Not even their head. Not even a little bit.

Only in dire circumstances, like a fire is coming right toward you, should you move the victim. Why? You don’t know whether there’s been neck or back trauma. If you move a person with a broken neck, for instance, and the person pulls through, you could potentially have caused paralysis. More on how to protect the neck and back in my spine segment.

If you can’t get a response, check for any signs of life at all. Such as is the person breathing?

Check for Breathing

So how to check for breathing? Look at and feel the chest. Is it moving?

If the person is moving the chest or any other part, say a hand or foot, you can assume they must be breathing and the heart is beating. If the person is making any sounds, even a grunt, you can assume there’s breathing and a beating heart.

You should do this assessment within a few seconds. Also, about now, you want to shout for help and call 911 if it’s available. If someone’s with you, they should do it, while you continue to assess.

If There’s No Breathing

     If there’s no breathing, begin chest compressions right away. But why not check for a pulse? Current thinking is, unless you’re experienced in doing that, you may be uncertain of whether you’re feeling one and waste valuable time before you start compressions.

Why no mouth-to-mouth? Doing chest compressions alone has been found to revive as many people as combining it with artificial breathing. Again, this assumes you’re not a medical professional. If the person is not breathing, you can assume the heart is not beating. Start compressions.

If you cannot get 911 and someone is with you, they should immediately go for help or at least go until they get into cell range.

From “The Survival Doctor’s Emergency Training Course

Emergency Medical Assessment

October 2014

Additional articles in this month’s issue:

Prepper Camp™ Recap
What’s in Your Every Day Carry Kit?
How’s Your Battery Health?
10 things You’ll Regret Not Having Enough of When the SHTF by Elise Xavier,
Waste Not … Want Not… Making Apple Cider Vinegar
Escaping a Riot

Our Solar Chef presents Solar Apple Potato Soup

Survival Skills for Teens

Youth Need to Know, too.

Survival Skills for Teens


Have you discussed basic survival techniques with the young people in your home? If they were lost or were involved in an accident, would they know what to do? School is back in session and your children are away from home most of the day, now is the time to review these skills.

As your children grow up, starting at a very young age they learn their name, address and telephone number. They also learn how to dial 9-1-1. Let’s not forget riding a bike and swimming. Do they know how to find their way home in your neighborhood or town? What about basic survival skills?  What if your family went on a hike and somehow got separated, or an adult was injured? Would they know what to do? Teens were not born knowing everything, even though there are some who will argue that. Sharing these life lessons may be critical some day.

Teaching Survival Skills Builds Resilience

Before we get into some of the things they should know, let’s discuss how to share this as parents, guardians and mentors. The goal of raising children to become responsible adults involves teaching them more that reading, writing and arithmetic. They need to learn other skills, like critical thinking, leadership and teamwork. Sam Goldstein, a neuropsychologist and co-author of Raising Resilient Children, recommends a fourth “R”, that of resilience. It may be the most valuable skill of all.

We need to be empathetic, communicate with respect, be flexible and give undivided attention. Kids need to be given a chance to solve problems and make decisions on their own and help get projects done. Mistakes need to be used as learning experiences, with strengths recognized, and any corrections or discipline administered with love and kindness. Resilience means bouncing back.

What Survival Skills Should a Teen Know?

  • Not Panic – This is one of the most basic of survival skills. In panic-mode we make bad decisions. Frightened youth, with limited life experiences, may do things which could be life threatening.
  • Be Aware – Does your child know how to decide if they should run, hide or fight back? Are they aware of where you are going, whether walking or riding on a bike or in an auto? Do they know which places are dangerous to go to and what people and types of behaviors that may put them in a compromising situation? As much as we would like to keep our youth in a protective bubble, they need to learn to recognize that bad things happen, even to good people, and they need to know how to handle them.
  • First Aid – Do your children know how to stop bleeding, remove a splinter or treat a burn? Taking a Red Cross CPR/First Aid class or practicing some of the skills in that Boy Scout Book of First Aid you have in your Bug-out-Bag may be a good weekend family project.
  • How to Handle a Firearm – Every teen should take a gun safety course. A child who knows how to handle a gun safely is less likely to be involved in a shooting mishap. He/she may need to know how to use a firearm for a number of reasons.
  • Feed Himself – This skill can range from opening a can without an electric can opener, using a stove safely, harvesting and preparing garden produce, or hunting, cleaning and preparing game. They should know how to set up and use a Sun Oven®.
  • Self Defense – Do your children know how to defend themselves against an attacker; when to run?
  • Get Back Home – Another fun weekend project, day or night. Also, make a family fire escape plan.
  • Skills – Can your child use simple tools – hammer, drill, paint brush or screwdriver – something other than a game box?
  • Stay Warm – Can they build a shelter, start a fire and understand the importance of warmth?
  • Getting Help – Do they know who to ask and how to leave clues if they’re lost?
  • Pack Their own 72 hr. Emergency Kit – Youth should be responsible for selecting most of the items in their emergency bug-out-bag. This is another good family project that should be updated every six months.

Do you know all these skills?  Share them.      

Thanks to Mom with a Prep for some of these pointers.

Billie and Robert Nicholson
August 2014

Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:

Are You Water Competent?

Ebola Update by Dr. Bones


The Fascinating Fig

Sun Oven Demonstrations coming to a location near you

Are You Losing 40%

Meatless Monday Pasta Sauce

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:  editor@sunoven.com.

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.


1. http://livewellnetwork.com/Deals/episodes/Tips-For-Growing-Aloe-Vera-Plants-and-DIY-Aloe-Treatments/9042029

2. http://althealthworks.com/1624/how-to-make-your-own-natural-home-first-aid-kit-our-picks-for-the-best-healing-remedies/

3. http://azcc.arizona.edu/node/734

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clove

5. http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/garlic-benefit.shtml

6. http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/make-a-natural-first-aid-kit-meet-healing-head-on-with-herbs.aspx


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

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: http://www.ItsaDisaster.net  “It’s a Disaster …and what are YOU gonna do about it?”

Get Your Family “Trained”

Red Cross can help families “Get Trained” 

One quarter of Americans say they’ve been in a situation where someone needed CPR. If you were one of them, would you know what to do?

Getting Trained 

Studies have shown that being trained in hands-only CPR can make the lifesaving difference when someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest.

Join the millions of people we train each year by taking a 30-minute Citizen CPR class at your local Red Cross chapter. The course teaches how the hands-only technique can save a life.

Download the Hands-only CPR Ready Reference sheet depicting the steps of this technique in English and Spanish.

The Red Cross also offers courses that certify people in first aid, full CPR and using Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

What is hands-only CPR? 

Hands-only CPR is a potentially lifesaving technique involving no mouth to mouth contact. It is best used in emergencies where someone has seen another person suddenly collapse.

The hands-only technique increases the likelihood of surviving cardiac emergencies that occur outside medical settings.

How is full CPR different from hands-only CPR? 

Full CPR combines rescue breaths with chest compressions and is the best option in some emergencies, including those involving infants and children, drowning victims, or people who

collapse due to breathing problems.

How else can I get involved? 

The American Red Cross wants to educate 5 million people about hands-only CPR. Will you help us spread the word about this lifesaving technique?

Click below the graphic below to access additional information about American Red Cross classes in your area.

Red Cross         Training 


October, 2011         Every Needful Thing                        Jason M. Carlton

Part II: Color Codes for Emergencies

Last month, we began a series on organizing your neighborhood to be able to work together in case of an emergency. (Part I: Organizing Blocks and Block Captains). This is part two of that series.

In light of recent events along the East Coast – Hurricane Irene and the earthquake in Virginia, our hearts go out to all those affected in the disasters. These types of events also serve as an important reminder about the swiftness and unpredictability of natural disasters. 

September is National Preparedness Month, so we have tried to provide articles that will help families become a little more prepared. I would like to personally challenge everyone to take at least one preparedness item from this newsletter (i.e., color-coded cards, water storage, making a family plan, etc.) and focus on completing that one element of emergency preparedness. 

Emergency preparedness isn’t something that should overwhelm you or put you in debt. It is most easily accomplished by starting in one area, completing that task, and moving to the next. 

Share what you are going to focus on in September by posting it on Sun Ovens Facebook page. Here’s the link: 


Jason M. Carlton 

Color Codes Save Time

Color codes


In an emergency, time is of the essence. The challenge is weeding out those who need immediate medical attention and those who need basic first-aid. If each household had three colored sheets of cardstock with their 72-hour kits, and if used properly, a lot of time can be saved in an emergency.

Immediately following a disaster, each household should evaluate their injuries and medical needs. Then, using the following descriptions of each color, place either a green, yellow or red sheet of cardstock on the front of their house where it can be easily seen from the street.

RED indicates an immediate need of attention – profuse bleeding, severe life-threatening injury, someone pinned in debris, etc.

YELLOW indicates a delayed need for attention – broken bone, minor cuts or abrasions, someone trapped in debris but not severely injured, etc.

GREEN indicates no need for medical attention or other immediate assistance.

While it is important to use the cards, it is almost more important the cards be used properly. A household using a RED card when the injury is a minor cut can delay responders reaching another household with greater medical needs. This triage system works effectively for the neighborhood only when it is used properly.

One of the ways neighborhoods can assure each resident has these colored sheets on-hand is by encouraging a local Boy Scout to center his Eagle Project around emergency preparedness. The distribution of these cards to each household can be part of that project

September 2011, Every Needful Thing                                                                      Jason M. Carlton

Evacuating with a Sun Oven®

Don’t Leave Home Without Your SunOven®

Sun OvenEvacuating with you Sun Oven® makes sense. Here’s why. You can pack it full of cold items to eat and drink in the shelter. They will stay cool for some time because of its insulated design. When the storm passes, you will be able to set up outside and make a welcomed hot meal. Don’t forget to take your WAPI kit to be able to pasteurize water, too.

October 2013, Every Needful Thing                                  Billie A. Nicholson, editor

A Sun Oven® in Your Preparedness Plan

Sun OvenDon’t get caught in an emergency situation without a Sun Oven®

Many people consider a Sun Oven® an essential tool in their family emergency plans. A Sun Oven® will enable your family to be better prepared in the following ways:

  1. Water Purification – Pasteurize or boil drinking water.
  2. Food – Boil, bake or steam food. This is the most fuel efficient way to rehydrate freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.
  3. Food Storage – Create your own food storage by dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and meats.
  4. Fuel Storage – Decrease your need for fuel. It is difficult and dangerous to store a large amount of fuel for an extended period of time. Using the sun on sunny days and the Sun Oven® as a wonder box (or retained heat cooker) on cloudy days reduces the amount of fuel you need to store.
  5. First Aid – Heat water for cleaning wounds and personal hygiene & sterilize medical instruments.

 The Sun Oven® in Action

Sun Oven - eggs

Sun Oven - bread

Sun Oven - drying veggies

September 2013, Every Needful Thing                             Billie A. Nicholson

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