Post-apocalyptic threats you haven’t considered.

So, you think you’re pretty sorted, right? You’ve gone through our archives, checked out our reccommended reading. You have your go-bag, your outfit, and your group.You’re ready to go live your post-apocalyptic life in (relative) comfort and security, and nothing we say can bring you down. Right?


Wrong. There’s so much you haven’t even half considered yet. Like these threats.

Decaying Buildings:


Oh come ON now. You know about this one! Every post apocalyptic movie, game and book has liberally dotted these around the landscape. Maybe you’ve even done some urban exploration. You know what to expect here. No. Ok, I’ll give it to the people who wander around abandoned buildings regularly, but the rest of you chumps have no idea. Without human beings, building will slowly decay, that’s a given. The cheap prefabs will go first, and slowly but surely, everything else will follow. Floors will fall in and become unstable. Walls will crumble.

Yeah, and?

And they’ll fall down without the slightest warning. Your weight in the wrong place, a blow to the last supporting wall- hell, a sneeze could bring some of these babies down. That means you and your friends stuck under tons of rubble, slowly suffocating/starving to death. And no rescue teams to help you.

Holy shit! What can I do?

Use common sense. The less of a building there is, the less safe it is. Still, buildings that look complete from the outside can be a wreck inside. If you are scavenging in teams, never have more than one or two people in buildings that look dangerous or falling down. In the meantime, consider joing in some Urban Explorers to get an idea of what to expect.


Wild Animals:


Wild animals. Those of you in countries that have genuinely dangerous wild animals are nodding right now. But others- you’re thinking what’s so bad about some foxes and badgers, right? Well think of this:  Badgers and foxes attack people NOW. And what if the apocalypse leaves the cages at zoos damaged and destroyed…?

Yeah, and?

Wild animals are dangerous. In our modern, technological lifestyle we’ve kind of forgotten that. As I’ve said, the animals we consider ‘safe’ wild animals attack humans even today. But there’s more to consider. Dogs will go feral, and we’ve trained them to have no fear of us. Ever seen someone taken down by a pack of dogs? Neither have I, but I have an imagination. And the zoo thing I’ve mentioned? Imagine tigers, lions, cheetas, leopards, wolves- all hungry, and because of where they’ve been kept, all utterly unafraid of humans.

Holy shit! What can I do?

Fortunately, most of these animals are pretty territorial. Stay out of their territorys, and you’ll be fine. Other wise, go in largish groups, and go armed. For the zoo animals, most of them aren’t native to the countries they’re kept it, so will quickly die of starvation, and those that don’t will be so inbred they can’t see in a few generations. Be cautious, and you’re good to go.




Malnutrition is exactly as it sounds- a condition arising from lack of required nutrients.


It’ll kill you. Not as quickly as full-out starvation, but it’ll kill you nonetheless. And it is easy to develop it. Even in the modern western world people develop malnutrition because of an insistence of living on crisps and meat. And how readily available do you think fresh greens and carbohydrates will be?

Holy shit! What can I do?

Eat as balanced a diet as possible. Raid the chemists for super-high strength multivitamins to make up any short fall.


Tetanus/Blood posioning


Nasty, nasty things. Tetanus is also known as ‘lockjaw’, and can be contracted from rusty metal and animal bites. Blood poisoning is a catch-all term for a number of conditions that can get into the blood through a wound.


May I remind you how much rusty metal will be lying around? And just how easy it will be to get cut? On top of that, may I remind you that even with modern antibiotics people die of blood poisoning and tetanus? And that there’ll be no antibiotics in the future? Not to mention how it will kill you: Tetanus makes your msucles lock into agonising spasms, including your jaw so you can’t eat. You could starve to death, surrounded by food. And certain types of blood posioning make the limb gangrenous, meaning you’ll slowly rot to death.

Holy shit! What can I do?

KEEP CLEAN. We’ve covered this a few times now, but there’s no harm in covering it again. Keep as clean as humanly possible. Wash out all cuts with alcohol. If you happen to get tetanus, get someone to feed gruel directly into your throat through a straw. It’s your best chance.


Upset stomach:


You’ve had it before- a stomach bug, leaving you vomiting and stuck on the toilet. Unpleasant, sure, but lethal?


People in the third world die of upset stomachs. And there are particularly lethal forms (cholera, anyone?) that hit when your water isn’t clean. Think of how ill and dehydrated you feel after a bout of diarrhoea- now imagine how that feels when you have limited access to medication , water and food, and every drink of water is making you worse.

Holy shit! What can I do?

Distill your water. Seriously. Distill, distill, distill. Other than that, you’re screwed.

Good luck out there, people.



Anninyn lives and works in the UK, though she writes in a world of her own. Raised on a steady diet of sci-fi, intellectualism and political thinking by hippies, she looks at modern life through a somewhat-...unique... lens. She is obsessed with the apocalypse, and can be reached at for all apocalypse-based inquiries. She is working on her first novel. You can find out about her and her other work through her website

8 Replies to “Post-apocalyptic threats you haven’t considered.

  1. With Tetanus, the best thing is to while we still have civilisation get vaccinated and remember to have your 10-year booster shots. After the apocalypse make sure that Valium is on your shopping list. Really. Valium contains Diazepam which mitigates Tetanus symptoms so can make the difference between life and death.

  2. I’m not concerned about the building thing. Buildings will take a few hundred years before they start falling, I’ll be long gone by then.

    But maybe it’d be nice to leave a note. Maybe paint the wall of the building, say “Hey, this thing’s coming down sometime.” That way people who ARE that far in the future will know to watch out.

    1. I don’t know- I reckon some of the shoddily-build 60’s tower blocks will start coming down pretty quickly.

      But the paint is a good idea.

  3. On the decaying buildings: do consider the fact that other infrastructures will be coming down too… I for one don’t want to be on the wrong side when a dam (ok, my english isn’t perfect, a wall of mostly concrete that keeps a river in check, mostly build to pull energy from flowing water) comes chrushing down. I think that after perhaps 10 years nature will look quite different, because we don’t keep it back anymore. Or less than we do now.

Leave a Reply