Several years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided that access to veterinary antibiotics was too easy for the average citizen. They announced that there would be an increased “stewardship” of these drugs (life-savers in survival settings) in the future. Thus began the implementation of Industry Guidance #213, also known as the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). This action was meant to discourage the use of veterinary antibiotics and, hopefully, decrease antibiotic resistance.
While this directive applied to food-producing livestock, there was no rule against access to antibiotics used in the pet trade, specifically those targeting aquarium fish or pet birds. Despite this, the writing was on the wall; large distributors like Thomas Labs, maker of “Fish-Mox,” quietly ended their line of products. Other producers rose to fill the void, but the selection was less and availability less reliable.
Recently, the FDA issued Industry Guidance #263, a ruling that all remaining over-the-counter “medically-important” veterinary antibiotics should be “transitioned” to prescription-only by June 2023. Product labels will now state: “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”
What does this mean for the preparedness community? The original article I wrote on “fish antibiotics” (about 15 years ago) was meant to give the off-grid medic a way to keep long-term disaster survivors from succumbing to minor infections that might turn into life-threatening ones. That concern still exists today, and you might agree we’re no less likely to suffer a major catastrophic event today than we were then. Having antibiotics around would save lives if the medical infrastructure collapsed. Not having them, well…
Websites that address this issue state that there will be no more OTC/non-prescription feed antibiotics available for use in food animal species. Unless you’re in the habit of eating your pet goldfish, though, there doesn’t seem to be a specific ban on currently available aquarium meds. Some sites note the rules apply to companion animals as well. Most likely, you’re not quite that close to the fish in your aquarium.
The FDA has its reasons for wanting to control veterinary antibiotics. A few years back, 73 percent of total antibiotic use in the U.S. was in the food-livestock industry. This was not meant to treat infection, but given because animals fed antibiotics seemed to mature faster and get to market quicker. Now, it will be illegal to use them for that purpose. Producers now need to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use them for prevention, control, or treatment of a specifically identified disease.
Nonetheless, limiting the preparedness community’s ability to access veterinary antibiotics for stockpile purposes will mean lives lost in the event of a long-term disaster event. Even if a person has a relationship with a licensed veterinarian, how many vets will even see small animals like a pet rodent, chicken, or parakeet? If they do, how many will see a sick guppy?
The amount of veterinary antibiotics the preparedness community puts in their medical storage is not even a drop in the bucket compared to the total used. Having said that, I would guess the government will eventually get around to controlling every aspect of our lives; this will be no different. If you’re the family medic and are concerned about a scenario where infections may run rampant among your people, consider getting a supply while they’re still available.
(Note: I’m not suggesting using any of your stockpiled antibiotics in normal times without the supervision of a qualified medical professional. This article relates to the availability of medications like these for long-term off-grid survival settings.)
Some sources that still offer over-the-counter “fish” antibiotics:
Hospitals are filling up all across America, and there are extremely alarming shortages of some of our most important medications. Health authorities are warning that RSV, the flu and COVID are combining to create a “tripledemic”, and there are simply not enough medications to go around. Personally, I am most concerned about RSV. It is spreading like wildfire from coast to coast, and we are being told that very young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. I wrote an entire article about the RSV outbreak earlier this month, and since that time things have gotten even worse. Our medical system is being absolutely flooded with sick kids, and this has caused very serious shortages of amoxicillin, augmentin, tamiflu and albuterol…
America is facing a shortage of four key medications used for common illnesses in children as virus season comes back in full force.
Officials have declared a shortage of first-line antibiotics amoxicillin and Augmentin, which are used to treat bacterial infections. Tamiflu, the most common flu medication in the US, and albuterol, an inhaler for asthma and to open airways in the lungs, are also in short supply, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
But we haven’t even gotten to the heart of flu season yet.
In fact, the beginning of winter is still about a month away.
So what will things look like by the time we get to the middle of January?
At this point, things are already so bad that we are also starting to see a very serious shortage of tylenol…
A children’s Tylenol shortage currently affecting Canada has carried over into the United States, pharmacists in multiple American cities have warned.
The drug’s short supply, experts say, stems from a recent spike in pediatric sickness as seasonal bugs come back with a bang after being suppressed during COVID-related lockdowns.
This is nuts.
In all my years, I have never heard of a shortage of tylenol in the United States.
Unfortunately, we now have millions of people with compromised immune systems all over the country, and so RSV and the flu are hitting us extremely hard.
One doctor told CNN that “I’ve never seen anything like this”…
“In my 25 years of being a pediatrician, I’ve never seen anything like this,” pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Stacene Maroushek of Hennepin Healthcare in Minnesota told CNN. “I have seen families who just aren’t getting a break. They have one viral illness after another. And now there’s the secondary effect of ear infections and pneumonia that are prompting amoxicillin shortages.”
The reason for shortages is due to increased demand, especially with a surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and flu cases. The combination of RSV, flu and COVID circulating has been called a “tripledemic.”
This is going to be one long winter for our medical system.
These surges have filled children’s hospitals across these states. The Children’s Hospital of Alabama, the state’s largest pediatric hospital located in Birmingham – 91 per cent of beds are filled, according to official figures.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which includes the largest children’s hospital in Tennessee, is at 98 per cent capacity as of Tuesday.
And as I discussed in my article about RSV earlier this month, there are some hospitals that have already filled up all of their beds.
Of course most children that get sick don’t end up in the hospital.
Most of them just stay home and are cared for by their parents until they recover.
In October, more Americans missed work to take care of sick children than ever before…
More than 100,000 Americans missed work last month – an all time high – because of child-care problems, many of which come down to sick children and sick daytime caregivers.
Sadly, we will almost certainly set another new all-time record this month.
It sure would be nice if the federal government would step in and help to ensure that everyone has enough medications to give to their children during this medical emergency.
The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and in coordination with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of State, is providing an additional $4.5 billion in direct budgetary support to the Government of Ukraine. The funding, which will help alleviate the acute budget deficit caused by Putin’s brutal war of aggression, was made possible with generous bipartisan support from Congress. The Government of Ukraine will receive the funding in two tranches before the end of 2022.
In addition, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has just announced that the Ukrainians will be receiving another 400 million dollars in military aid…
The package will include “additional arms, munitions, and air defense equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories,” Blinken said in a statement, which didn’t provide many specifics on the weapons heading to Ukraine. It is the 26th time the administration is using the presidential drawdown authority, which allows the United States to take from its stockpiles and provide those weapons to Ukraine.
Rather than giving so much money to the Ukrainians, why can’t we spend it on some antibiotics for our children?
It seems to me that our priorities are really messed up.
The RSV outbreak that we are witnessing right now is really serious. If you have young children, you will want to closely monitor developments in your local area.
After a couple of really tough years, a lot of people had been hoping that we would experience a “return to normal” in 2022.
As a family medicine physician, I treat infections of all kinds regularly. I depend on modern medicine to effectively treat a host of infectious causes, from bacterial, fungal, to viral. Even as a physician, I sometimes take for granted the incredible fact that just 100 years ago, the top five causes of death in America were all associated with infections.
Bacterial diseases were the most common cause of death from infection. Through the advent of medications like antibiotics and vaccines, we rarely worry that a cut finger will result in tetanus or a septic infection.
A urinary tract infection is effectively treated with a few days of antibiotics. Not long ago, such an infection would often end in severe kidney damage and even death. Indeed, in other less developed countries worldwide, the threat of bacterial infections is real, and things like diarrheal illnesses or cases of pneumonia are still top killers.
Below are some common questions I get from people concerned about being prepared for times when they might find themselves cut off from modern medical care.
What are the possible infections that may require antibiotics during a disaster?
The list of infections that may arise during a disaster is long. A few likely bacterial infections include:
Animal or human bites
Various diarrheal illnesses
Urinary tract infections
During a disaster, lack of adequate rest and poor nutrition will lead to a weakened immune system and an increase in bacterial infections.
Some disasters will present specific challenges. In a bio-terror scenario, there are specific diseases and medications that the CDC has studied. The top threats identified are anthrax, plague, and tularemia. A pneumonia infection caused by these agents is nearly 100% fatal if left untreated. If possible, any individual suspected of anthrax, plague, or tularemia infection or exposure should seek treatment in a hospital. Ideally, patients should be treated with a combination of IV and oral medications.
In a disaster scenario where individuals cannot receive prompt care, the second-best option is to start oral therapies immediately—specifically, oral ciprofloxacin or oral doxycycline. For more detailed dosing recommendations, you can download this free e-book.
What are the best antibiotics to stockpile for an emergency or disaster scenario?
Top Five Antibiotics to Stockpile for Emergencies
When considering safety and efficacy while using limited options, the following are my top five choices:
These are the antibiotics included in the emergency antibiotic case, The Jase Case, sold by Jase Medical. The ideal antibiotics to have on hand would be a selection that covers a variety of bacteria and even amoebas/protozoa. Unfortunately, there is not a perfect list, and each medication has its pros and cons. It is typically better to use a narrow-spectrum antibiotic that is targeted to treat a specific bacteria.
Other times, in medicine, we combine different antibiotics to ensure that we cover a variety of bacteria. Unfortunately, we likely won’t have access to an entire pharmaceutical collection of antibiotics in a disaster.
Which scenarios could prevent me from getting a prescription from my family physician and getting it filled when I need it?
Some reasons you may not be able to get a prescription from your doctor in time include being confined to your home due to a global pandemic, medication not being available due to a supply chain disruption, or a natural disaster causing a significant strain on your local health system.
If you are suffering from a bacterial infection and need antibiotics, any delay can mean serious consequences for your health. The above reasons represent only a few of the many potential scenarios where you may not be able to get timely medical attention.
Often, I will have a patient who is leaving for a trip come and ask about getting antibiotics “just in case.” Whether on vacation in Disneyland or overseas in a developing country, having access to medication to help with a severe case of diarrhea or a urinary tract infection can save your trip (and your health).
How do I know which antibiotics to use for an infection in an emergency?
Recent advancements in the availability and capability of telemedicine allow patients to consult with a health care provider and receive guidance about what kind of medication may or may not be appropriate for an infection. Jase Medical includes such a service when patients buy their emergency antibiotic case.
When contacting a medical professional is not possible, it is important to be familiar with the medications you have on hand and the kinds of infections they can treat.
NOT ALL INFECTIONS ARE CAUSED BY BACTERIA. Therefore, not all infections should be treated with antibiotics. A trained professional can help you distinguish a viral or fungal infection from a bacterial infection. There are also medical books that can guide you.
A good medical book should explain which signs and symptoms to look for that may point to a bacterial cause of an infection and which medications to use. This free e-book is written to help people distinguish whether an infection is bacterial and which medications to use, and proper dosages.
What is the shelf-life of antibiotics?
This is a great question! The federal government has been stockpiling medications, including antibiotics, for many years and studies show that medications may be good for over 15 years.
The need to throw out unused expired medications caused them to look at the feasibility of keeping them beyond their regular expiration dates. Thus, the Shelf-Life Extension Program was born. What they learned through this program was very interesting. It turns out that many antibiotics, when kept in cool, dry, conditions retained 90% plus of their potency for more than 15 years!
Although the exact times depended on the specific antibiotic, all of them maintained sufficient strength for a minimum of 5 years. Some antibiotics degrade into toxic substances and can become lethal poisons. The antibiotics in the Emergency Antibiotic Case from Jase Medical were specifically selected due to their long shelf-life. None of them will degrade to toxic compounds.
You may have seen ads in your local newspaper or neighborhood pharmacy encouraging you to dispose of your expired medications through a drug “take-back” program. These are great community service programs to aid people in the safe disposal of expired or unneeded medications.
Many drugs like those containing opioids are hazardous and should not be kept around “just in case.” Antibiotics, however, can be given special consideration.
What are the ideal storage conditions for antibiotics?
All medications, including antibiotics, should be kept in a cool, dry environment. If possible, store medications in a water and airtight sealed container. Do not freeze! Heat causes the active ingredients to degrade more quickly, as does the humidity. For particularly humid environments, a water-absorbing pack can be used…(article continues)
Urban Survival Network has an piece on Nine Important Survival Antibiotics Every Prepper Should Know. Someone recently quipped that there are two stages to serious gut infections: Stage One you wonder is you’re going to die, and Stage Two you wish you would die. My wife, who spent some days hospitalized because of such while in the Peace Corps, confirmed the truth of this witticism. Questionable meat/food and bad water, staples of a disaster situation as well as remote third world villages, can lead to just such circumstances. In good times, the doctor and antibiotics may only be a miserable, embarrassing few hours drive away, but in a disaster…
It often happens that preppers overlook antibiotics as a part of their preps, but these wonder meds can actually turn out to be life savers. Effective and easy to use, survival antibiotics will certainly come in handy post collapse and when you’re having to deal with an infection. To be completely honest with you, I had been blissfully unaware of the many types of antibiotics that existed until not too long ago when I developed an infectious colitis in my colon. I didn’t know about the condition until I was in excruciating pain and I went to see my doctor. This infection was triggered by a bacterial infection, and one of the causes may have been through the consumption of uncooked meat.
The situation was life-threatening and it was something I could no longer ignore – this is where antibiotics stepped in and literally saved my life. For no less than 10 days I took a cocktail of two different antibiotics (Metronidazole and Ciprofloxacin) and in less than two weeks I was back on track. I do not even want to think about what could have happened to me if I didn’t take the antibiotics. Now just put yourself in my shoes – what if you were confronted with a similar situation and were in urgent need of medication? This is why stocking up on survival antibiotics could be a serious matter.
In this article you will find the top 9 most efficient and most widely used survival antibiotics, but before we move on to describing each type it is important to understand that I am not a doctor and I am not entitled to give any medical advice. If you want professional and competent advice, I strongly recommend you to consult your doctor as he/she is the only one who can give you the details you need.
Also, it is important to understand that one should never take antibiotics for a simple cold, a small fever or a slight pain – these medications are aimed exclusively at bacterial infections and they should be taken only in case of emergency, and only when your doctor tells you to. If you take antibiotics on a constant basis, you will become immune to them and their efficiency will be decreased in the long term, which means that you will have a hard time trying to treat bacterial infections in the future.
Like any other type of medication, antibiotics may trigger some side effects – if you notice a rash, then you might be allergic to a compound in the antibiotic, and you must stop taking the medication and consult your doctor immediately. Also, the meds must be taken for as long as recommended by your doctor, even though you may feel better after only a couple of days – this does not necessarily mean you have overcome the infection completely!
In a nutshell, there is a wide range of antibiotics available on the market and they come in many different sizes, shapes and strengths. The following antibiotics can treat most bacterial infections, and for further information on antibiotics, their uses and their mechanism of action I strongly recommend you to read some medical books (many of them are available in PDF format as well). Having said that, here are (in my opinion) the top 9 most efficient survival antibiotics:
Cephalexyn is currently one of the most commonly used antibiotics for respiratory infections of all kind, mainly pneumonia and severe bronchitis. At the same time, doctors prescribe Cephalexyn to treat middle ear infections as well. This survival antibiotic comes with few adverse reactions and what’s most important is that it can be safely used by children as well as by pregnant women.
Amoxicilin has almost the same mechanism of action as Cephalexyn, keeping in mind that it is aimed at respiratory infections and it deals with the same types of bacteria. Children and pregnant women can safely take Amoxicilin to treat bacterial infections, although this survival antibiotic can trigger serious allergic reactions. If you notice any of the signs that indicate an allergic reaction, stop taking Amoxicilin and get in touch with your doctor immediately.
Ciprofloxacin can be considered an all-purpose survival antibiotic, given the fact that it can treat a wealth of infections, from infections of the prostate and the urinary tract to bronchitis, pneumonia, bacterial diarrhea and even the infectious colitis I was talking about at the beginning of the article. However, it must be mentioned that Ciprofloxacin must never be used by pregnant women and children at all costs!
Metronidazole is widely used for the treatment of anaerobic bacteria and it is commonly used in conjunction with other survival antibiotics to treat colitis, diverticulitis and other infections of the intestines. Moreover, it is also very good for the treatment of meningitis, lung and bone infections as well as for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Nursing or pregnant women and children should avoid taking Metronidazole.
5. Sulfamethoxazole And Trimethoprim
This is a combination of powerful antibiotics that are especially created for urinary tract infections and respiratory infections. At the same time, this antibiotic cocktail is highly efficient against staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to Methicillin – a very strong strain of staph .
Ampicilin is certainly one of the most popular survival drugs at the moment, because it carries a very low allergy risk and it is aimed at treating different infections like gastrointestinal infections, bacterial meningitis, infections of the respiratory tract and even the feared Anthrax.
Azythromycin is not exactly the cheapest survival antibiotic on the market, but it is a very versatile and effective medication as it treats Syphilis, Typhoid, Chlamydia, Lyme disease and a wealth of respiratory tract infections. It has some side effects like nausea and diarrhea but they are rare, therefore it is generally safe to use.
Erythromycin treats the well-known Lyme disease, Chlamydia, Syphilis and various infections of the respiratory system and middle ear. Nonetheless, it must be mentioned that Erythromycin can trigger several unpleasant side effects, from diarrhea and vomiting to nausea and severe abdominal pain. Even so, it is still great to have this survival antibiotic around, just in case!
Doxycycline has the same effects as Erythromycin. Doxycycline can treat some dangerous illnesses such as Malaria or Typhus. This antibiotic must never be used by pregnant/nursing women or children. You’ll also need to drink a lot of water while on Doxycycline. This Antibiotic can be found as “Fish Cycline”, and although not intended for humans, it can still be used with little issue (unless of course expired).
To sum it up, you don’t need to have all 9 survival antibiotics when you travel – you only need two or three types that cover the widest variety of infections, just to stay on the safe side. They should be kept in the refrigerator to expand their lifespan (without freezing them, as this affects their efficacy). These antibiotics are cost-effective and they can save your life or the life of somebody dear to your heart, so make sure you do not neglect them! It is better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not to find them at a looted/plundered drug store.
The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical talk about The Case for Fish Antibiotics and their viability for human use in emergency cases when there is no medical system to which to resort.
More than a decade ago, I was the first physician to advocate for the storing of antibiotics marketed for tropical fish and pet birds as a potential tool for the medic in long-term survival settings. Although I never recommended them for use in situations where there is a functioning medical infrastructure, I believe, despite criticism, that having a supply of these on hand will save lives, otherwise lost from bacterial infections, in a prolonged off-grid disaster scenario.
Accumulating over-the-counter drugs for the medic’s storage may be a simple enterprise, but not prescription medicines. Even with a sympathetic physician, the ability to obtain the quantity needed to be an effective caregiver for a survival community is limited, at best. Antibiotics are one example of life-saving medications that would be in short supply off the grid.
The inability to have antibiotics at hand may cost some poorly prepared individuals their lives in a survival situation. There will be a much larger incidence of infection when people have to fend for themselves and are injured as a result. Any strenuous activities performed that aren’t routine in normal times can lead to injuries that break the skin. These wounds will, very likely, be dirty. Within a relatively short time, they might begin to show signs of infection in the form of redness, heat, and swelling.
Treatment of such infections at an early stage improves the chance they will heal quickly and completely. However, many rugged individualists are likely to “tough it out” until their condition worsens and the infection spreads to their blood. If the medic has ready access to antibiotics, the problem can be nipped in the bud before a tragic outcome occurs.
The following is contrary to standard medical practice; it’s a strategy that is appropriate only when help is not on the way. If there are modern medical resources available to you, seek them out.
Small quantities of antibiotics can be obtained by anyone willing to tell their doctor that they are going out of the country and would like to avoid “Travelers’ Diarrhea” or other infections common at their destination. Likewise, asking for medications that must be taken early in an infection, like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for influenza, is a reasonable strategy; after all, not everyone can get in to see their doctor right away, and the antiviral Tamiflu is most effective in the first 48 hours after symptoms begin.
(Note: Tamiflu is an anti-viral and only works against influenza (and not COVID-19. Antibiotics have no effect against viruses at all.)
This approach is fine for one or two courses of therapy, but a long-term alternative is required for the survival caregiver to have enough antibiotics to protect a family or survival group. In the aftermath of a disaster, some deaths may be unavoidable, but bacterial-related deaths are unacceptable. This concern led us to what we believe is a viable option: aquarium and avian antibiotics.
For many years, we have kept tropical fish in aquaria and tilapia in ponds. We also have parrots as pets. After years of using aquatic medicines on fish and avian medicines on birds, we decided to evaluate these drugs for their potential use off the grid. They seemed to be good candidates: All were widely available, available in different varieties, and didn’t require a medical license or prescription.
A close inspection of a number of these products found exactly one ingredient: the drug itself, identical to those obtained by prescription at the local pharmacy. A bottle labeled aquatic amoxicillin, for example, had as its sole ingredient amoxicillin, which is an antibiotic commonly used in humans. Unless they’re listed on the bottle, there are no additional chemicals to makes your scales shinier or your feathers more colorful.
Any reasonable person might be skeptical about considering the use of aquarium antibiotics for humans, even in disaster settings. Those things are for fish, aren’t they? Yet, a number of them only come in dosages that correspond to pediatric or adult human dosages.
The question became: Why should a one-inch guppy require the same dosage of, say, amoxicillin as a 180-pound adult human? We were told that it was due to the dilution of the drug in water. However, at the time, there were few instructions that tell you how much to put in a ½ gallon fishbowl as opposed to a 200-gallon aquarium (they have them now, however).
Finally, the “acid test” was to look at the pills or capsules themselves. The aquatic or avian drug had to be identical to that found in bottles of the corresponding human medicine. For example, when (in 2010) we opened a bottle of FISH-MOX FORTE 500 mg distributed by Thomas Labs and a bottle of Human Amoxicillin 500mg (DAVA pharmaceuticals), we found:
Human Amoxicillin: Red and Pink Capsule, with the letters and numbers WC 731 on it.
FISH-MOX FORTE: Red and Pink Capsule with the letters and numbers WC 731 on it.
There are still a number of examples today, including:
Logically, then, it makes sense to believe that they are essentially identical, manufactured in the same way that human antibiotics are. Further, it is our opinion that they are probably from the same batches; some go to human pharmacies and some go to veterinary pharmacies or bottling companies. Over the years, readers in the human and veterinary pharmacy fields have confirmed this.
This is not to imply that all antibiotic medications met the criteria. Many cat, dog, and livestock antibiotics contain additives that might cause ill effects on a human being. Look only for those veterinary drugs that have the antibiotic as the sole ingredient.
There has been significant controversy regarding these medicines as some have chosen to use them in normal times against our recommendations, which only apply to long-term survival scenarios. As a result, the original distributor of these drugs, Thomas Labs, eventually stopped production in response to political pressure. For now, other brands with names like FISH-AID and others have, at the time of this writing, filled the void by offering a number of veterinary equivalents online. Expect volatility in terms of availability as a number of these drugs are placed under increasing government control in the future.
Here is a list of antibiotics that are commercially available in aquatic or avian form as of the writing of this article:
AMOXICILLIN, (Amoxicillin 250 mg and 500 mg)
AMPICILLIN 500 MG
PENICILLIN 250 mg and 500 mg
CEPHALEXIN 250 mg and 500 mg
METRONIDAZOLE 250 mg and 500 mg
CIPROFLOXACIN 250 mg and 500 mg
CLINDAMYCIN 150 mg
AZITHROMYCIN 250 mg
LEVOFLOXACIN 500 mg
SULFAMETHOXAZOLE/TRIMETHOPRIM 400 mg/80 mg and 800 mg/160 mg
DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg
MINOCYCLINE 50 mg and 100 mg
FLUCONAZOLE (anti-fungal) 100 mg
Most of the above come in lots of 30 to 100 tablets which can be bought in multiples. This makes them eligible for the survival medic to stockpile for prolonged disaster events. As recently as December 2020, we were able to purchase several without a prescription.
Of course, anyone could be allergic to one or another of these antibiotics, but it would be a very rare individual who would be allergic to all of them. It should be noted that there’s a 10% cross-reactivity between Penicillin drugs and cephalexin (Keflex). If you are allergic to penicillin, you could also be allergic to Keflex. For those who can’t take penicillin, there are suitable safe alternatives. Any of the antibiotics below should not cause a reaction in a patient allergic to Penicillin-family drugs:
This one additional fact: We have personally used some (not all) of these antibiotics as veterinary equivalents on our own persons without any ill effects. Whenever we have used them, their effects have been indistinguishable from human antibiotics.
Having said this, we recommend against self-treatment in any circumstance that does not involve the complete long-term loss of access to modern medical care. This is a strategy to save lives in a post-calamity scenario only.
Finding Out More
Although you might think that any antibiotic will work to cure any disease, specific antibiotics are used at specific doses for specific illnesses. The exact dosage of each and every medication in existence for each and every disease is well beyond the scope of this article. It’s important, however, to have as much information as possible about medications that you plan to store.
This information is available in a number of drug reference manuals (with images) in both print and digital form. Online sources such as drugs.com or rxlist.com are other useful sources, but we recommend a hard copy for your medical library in case a disaster affects the internet.
Your manual should list medications that require prescriptions as well as those that do not. Under each medicine, you will find the “indications”, which are the medical conditions that the drug is used for. Also listed will be the dosages, risks, side effects, and even how the medicine works in the body. It’s okay to obtain a book that isn’t the latest edition, as information about common drugs doesn’t often change a great deal from one year to the next. Try to obtain a recent copy, though, as occasional changes do occur.
For those skeptical of our opinion on this topic, we ask you to imagine this circumstance: A disaster has occurred that has knocked you off the grid and sent you on the road. Your family is performing activities of daily survival like chopping wood for fuel, something they’ve never done before. Your son or daughter cuts themselves and, in a day or so, the wound becomes red, hot, and swollen. There may be the beginnings of a fever. You only have a bottle of “fish” amoxicillin. Would you use it? We’ll let you decide.
…If a disaster throws you off the grid, your risk of traumatic injury increases but also that of infection. When someone thinks of an infectious disease event, they envision a deadly epidemic. Any catastrophe, however, can increase the number of people with infections. When I say “catastrophe”, I’m not talking losing power from a storm for three days; I’m talking about a true long-term survival scenario.
In these horrific events, dirty wounds, contaminated water, poorly prepared food, and inadequate sanitation will turn previously healthy people into desperately sick ones. With antibiotics in your medical storage, you have a good shot of nipping those infections in the bud. Not having them could lead to tragic consequences.
(NOTE: I don’t sell antibiotics nor own any part of a company that does.)
Certainly, it would be great if you had the financial resources to have all of the medications we talk about in Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease, but that’s beyond the means of almost everyone. You’ll probably need to pick a limited number to stockpile, but which? Chances are, if you lined up 10 doctors, you’d get 10 different answers.
Your choices would depend on the infections you’re most likely to encounter. Is it wound infections you’re concerned about, or intestinal infections like dysentery or cholera? Does someone in your group have a medical condition that makes them prone to a certain infection? Certainly, one drug doesn’t cure all.
Without knowing your individual situation, I can’t give you specifics. I can, however, still give you my personal recommendation of a few antibiotics available in aquarium and avian form that would be assets in my survival medicine cabinet…
When it comes to medical supplies, some preppers store antibiotics, Band-Aids, Tylenol, maybe a bit of gauze and call it good. Perhaps a few more things, but not much because they’ve got a doctor in the group, or barring that, silver or barter goods and skills to be able to make arrangements with a doctor.
Unfortunately, that approach may not work out so well.
Realistically, how many supplies can a physician be expected to stockpile for a community? How many physicians are actually preppers who foresee a need? Post-disaster, it will be far easier to locate a physician who knows how to use supplies than it will be to locate the supplies themselves. While obtaining prescription medications in quantity is a challenge, fortunately many life-saving supplies and medications can be purchased right now, by anybody.
So let’s discuss some of these medications and medical supplies that we should acquire before TEOTWAWKI. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it is a good start…