One of the many problems that happen in just about any disaster is that medical services become overwhelmed. Between more people being injured, the difficulty in resupply and the possibility of power being out, medical personnel are hard pressed to keep up with the need.
This can create a situation where medical services and especially medicines themselves become rationed. While that goes totally against the grain for most of us, if there isn’t enough to go around, medical personnel will be forced to take care of the people who will be helped the most by what time and materials they have available. Heroic lifesaving measures that may not work anyway, will probably have to be abandoned, in order to save the most lives possible.
With this in mind, medical care is one more area in which we should try to be as self-sufficient as possible. That means learning some first-aid and stockpiling medical supplies. It also means stockpiling medicines, especially antibiotics, as there will probably be a huge need for them.
Which Antibiotics Are the “Must Haves” for Survival?
There are actually quite a number of different antibiotics on the market, some common and others quite exotic. For the most part, you want to stockpile antibiotics that will be useful in the widest variety of applications, especially in the treatment of infections that are caused by injuries.
- Ampicillin – Similar to penicillin, but it’s more effective against some strains and less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Can be used for respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal infections and many others.
- Erythromycin – One of the most effective antibiotics to use for infected wounds and injuries. It can also be used for ear and respiratory infections, as well as some STDs. Safe for women and children. However, some people experience side effects, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Amoxicillin – Good general antibiotic for many types of bacterial infections. Safe for pregnant women and children. However, some people are very allergic to it.
- Zithromax – A “big gun” antibiotic which treats difficult to treat bacterial infections. Typically sold in a five pill package, to be used in five days. A good choice for people who are allergic to penicillin and its various derivatives. Not to be used by people with liver problems.
- Azitrhomycin – A great broad use antibiotic that can be used for a many different sorts of infections. The problem is finding it, especially in a form that you can buy without a prescription.
- Keflex – Another “big gun” antibiotic; great for infections that aren’t eliminated by other antibiotics.
How Much of Survival Antibiotics Should You Stockpile?
Most antibiotics should be taken for ten days, usually twice a day. The one notable exception for this is Zithromax, which is noted above. So, in most cases, you need 20 pills to treat an infection. If you assume that each family member will have need for antibiotics at least once per year, you will go through 100 pills of that antibiotic.
This becomes more complicated, as you look at the various different types of antibiotics and what they will treat. Just having 100 pills of one antibiotic may not be enough. You may actually need 100 or more of each type. A lot will depend on what sorts of infections your family has experienced in the past. If you have a child who has a lot of ear infections, you’ll need to increase your stockpile accordingly.
One good thing to note is that antibiotics will probably be great trade goods, in just about any post-disaster scenario. So you really can’t stockpile too much, simply because there will always be people who need it.
Where Can You Get Survival Antibiotics Without Prescription?
The big problem for most of us is finding places where we can buy these antibiotics. Here in the United States, you have to have a prescription to buy them. So unless you have a really great relationship with your doctor, you might be out of luck at the pharmacy.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’re without options. I live close to the Mexican border and I can buy pretty much any of these in Mexico, without a prescription. I’ve also heard that there are Canadian pharmaceutical houses who will sell to you via mail-order, without a prescription.
The other option is to buy veterinary grade antibiotics. That’s actually not as bad as it sounds. Many of those are made in the same factories as the “human grade” antibiotics, coming off the same production lines, but just packaged differently. So all you need is a cross-reference between the two.
- Bird Sulfa is SMZ-TMP (Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim)
- Fish Cillin is Ampicillin
- Fish Cycline is Tetracycline
- Fish-Flex is Keflex or Cephalexin – 250mg
- Fish-Flex Forte is Keflex or Cephalexin – 500mg
- Fish Flox is Ciprofloxacin
- Fish-Mox is Amoxicillin – 250mg
- Fish-Mox Forte is Amoxicilin – 500mg
- Fish-Pen is Penicillin – 250mg
- Fish-Pen Forte is Penicillin – 500mg
- Fish-Zole is Metronidazole – 250mg
Please note that I am not a medical doctor. The information I have provided here is information that is openly available on the internet. You should find and print out dosage and usage information about these various medicines and any other medicines you stockpile, so that you will have them available as reference, in a SHTF situation. Pay special attention to information about who you should avoid giving the antibiotics to, potential side-effects and any information about allergic reactions.