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How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

People in the neighborhood have been acting odd. Their bodies are jerking, their mouths are dripping, and they’ve formed a gang demanding to eat your brains. Uh oh. Welcome to the zombie apocalypse. Before you grab that hockey stick and go on attack, take just a moment to consider these tips to stay healthy and safe while battling the walking dead.

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Firstly, wash your hands. It’s easy to forget the importance of hand washing during our everyday lives, not to mention in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But with all of that running around and grabbing unknown objects to bash over the heads of the undead, you’re bound to come in contact with unfriendly germs and infectious bacteria. Plus, this is a zombie apocalypse! There’s no time to get sick, and washing hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap is one of the best and certainly easiest ways to ward off illness.

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Hand washing is also important for your fellow zombie fighters; an entire legion with stomach flu will be easy fodder for a group of hungry zombies. Keep vigilant about hand washing practice to avoid the spread of the common cold and seasonal flu, as well as more serious diseases such as hepatitis A and meningitis. Also keep in mind that not washing hands before food preparation can lead to an E. coli outbreak amongst an entire population. Do you want the last vestige of humanity trapped at home base with fever and explosive diarrhea? Of course not. Wash your hands.

And speaking of water, be sure to stay hydrated, because fighting the living dead is no time to turn yourself into a dehydrated corpse. Water is responsible for the all important act of dissolving vitamins and transporting them to cells around the body; without water, the body and brain will not receive the essential nutrients they need to keep you functional and fighting zombies. Water also flushes toxins from the body and regulates temperature, keeping you cool and comfortable on the battlefield.

As access to clean drinking water may be compromised during a war with the walking dead, it’s important to use water purification tablets. These dissolving tablets are formulated to kill mirco-organisms in water, and are used even in non-apocalyptic times by travelers in emergency situations and households without regular access to clean water. Purification tablets can kill cholera, dysentery and other water-borne disease, so pop a tablet in your glass before you pop a cap in that zombie’s, well, you know what.

During a zombie apocalypse, it’s likely that the only agricultural activity will be the farming of human brains. With limited access to fresh fruit and vegetables, you’ll need to be vigilant about diet in order to avoid scurvy. Scurvy can easily occur when all your meals come from a can and there is no access to citrus, tomatoes, spinach and other foods with vitamin C. Without this essential vitamin, the human body is unable to synthesize collagen, leading to defects in tissue and bones. A person with scurvy will quickly experience fatigue and bleeding; two afflictions you definitely don’t want while fighting the undead.

To avoid scurvy in the absence of fresh food, look for candies and soda that contain ascorbic acid (another name for vitamin C) as a preservative. If you’ve taken the zombie apocalypse as a convenient excuse to hone your hunting skills, go for the guts – internal organs have high amounts of vitamin C, so consuming an animal’s liver or brain, or frying up a spinal cord, can help ward off scurvy. Yes, munching on the neural circuits of a bovine might make you feel a little too close to your brain-hungry ghoulish enemy, but you don’t want to be That Guy who died during the apocalypse from eating too few lemons.

And as long as we’re on the subject of what to eat and drink, please do consider becoming a teetotaler. Although it might be tempting to loot a case of Guinness and imbibe your troubles into oblivion, the zombies would like nothing more than to find you unconscious and helpless in the back closet of a liquor store. Alcohol will dehydrate and disorient even the strongest of zombie fighters, so handle your undead apocalyptic stress in a more healthy manner – practice deep breathing exercises, start a daily routine of morning yoga, and don’t feel ashamed to share your feelings with a friend, as the act of talking and empathizing through social communication has been shown to improve mood.

Finally, use plasters. A tiny scrape that becomes infected will readily turn into a gushing wound, and you don’t want to be mistaken as a member of the walking dead just because you failed to put on a Band-Aid. A plaster can keep your cut sterile and protected from dirt and germs, allowing the wound to heal faster and decreasing the spread of blood borne pathogens, such as those that cause hepatitis B and C. Plasters  are also useful for protecting feet and hands from blisters; fighting zombies takes a lot of walking around, so slap on a Band-Aid to keep your feet feeling cozy.

With intelligence and diligence, there’s no reason you can’t survive the apocalypse of the undead. Most importantly, keep vigilant about health and safety so that you can be the brains of the counter-zombie battle rather than the brains that get eaten first.

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