Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 4, by A.&J. R.

In this six-part article, we are focusing on the supplies we will need in order to address the medical issues we are most likely to experience, whether we get to a “Bring Your Own Bandaids” clinic or we have to treat matters on our own. Our lists and discussion goes way beyond the first aid kit, and at the end of each section, we also note essential oils that may be helpful.

Dental Injuries and Problems

Dental injuries and problems actually constitute a significant number of visits to the ER today. Unfortunately, we sometimes overlook this part of the body in our efforts to prepare for medical issues. So add to your preps a set of dental tools, if you don’t want someone else’s tools in your mouth. You may also want to include a mouth guard for holding in teeth that have fallen out due to injury, Orajel to manage pain, and some Temparin temporary filling/crown replacement sets. Essential oils to consider include clove.


Eyes are a sensitive and important part of our bodies, yet they are often overlooked. There are a variety of concerns here.


Also known as pinkeye, conjunctivitis can be treated with doxycycline. However, the antibiotic should probably be saved for more critical needs. Natural remedies include using chamomile or goldenseal teabag poultice as well as chamomile, baking soda, or honey eyewashes. Essential oils to consider include chamomile.


A stye is essentially a pimple on the eyelid. Warm compresses can relieve pain. Essential oils to consider are lavender.

Foreign Body

Q-tips and eyewash will be wanted for finding and removing objects in the eye.

Corneal Abrasions or Ulcers

Corneal abrasions or ulcers hurt a lot. After carefully examining the eye to make sure the foreign body has been removed, the eye is usually covered with an eye patch. Because this can be quite painful, and because it will be much improved in about 24 hours, sometimes the best treatment is to sleep it off. A sleeping aid will be appreciated. Supplies you’ll want to have include baby shampoo (diluted to make an eye wash), saline contact lens solution to flush the eyeball, a regular penlight, an eye chart, oral antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin, eye patches, and sedating OTC meds like doxylamine or meclizine.


Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa), if it is mild, can be managed with white vinegar. Ideally, you would have some prescription ear drops left from a previous infection for a more serious case. Barring that, prednisone could be used. Essential oils to consider include tea tree, thyme, lavender, chamomile.

(Middle) ear infection (otitis media) most often occurs in young children (and when urgent care is closed and you have to go to the ER, right?). Believe it or not, for most people including small children, an ear infection will resolve on its own, assuming there are no other health concerns. In a grid-down situation, physicians will suggest acetaminophen or ibuprofen and hot compresses to help alleviate pain. The best antibiotics for children with what appears to be a serious infection include cephalexin, azithromycin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Sudafed and Afrin may also be helpful. Natural remedies include rubbing alcohol, vinegar, olive oil. Essential oils to consider include tea tree, thyme, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint.

Insect-Borne Diseases


If everyone in the family were like Mom, we just wouldn’t worry about mosquitoes that much. They just don’t like her. Dad and some of the children, however, have a sign hanging on them written in mosquito-ese with neon lights advertising a free all-you-can-eat buffet. Fortunately, in that respect, we live in a desert. However, if we were elsewhere, we would definitely stock up on chloroquine for treating malaria. Sadly, for many of the other mosquito-borne diseases, there are no drugs to cure the disease. One can only treat the symptoms of yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika, and West Nile virus. Prevention is your best bet. Use mosquito netting, and Deet and natural repellents. Essential oils for repelling mosquitoes include lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, peppermint, geranium, clove, rosemary. Essential oils for treating malaria include lemon and peppermint.

Head Lice

Head lice are what most people think of when they hear the word lice. They are about the size and color of a grain of sand and live on the hair shaft at the scalp. While they fortunately do not transmit disease, they are highly undesirable. RID and Nix are popular treatments. Natural remedies include Neem. Essential oils to consider include lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemon, geranium.

Body Lice

Body lice are an entirely different matter. They are a little larger than head lice, about the size of a sesame seed. They carry trench fever and typhus. (Historical note: Typhus killed more of Napoleon’s army than the Russians did.) They live in dirty clothing and only go to the host to feed. RID and Nix work well. Essential oils to consider include tea tree.

Pubic Lice

Pubic lice are yet another kind of lice. They are considered an STD whose spread is not prevented by use of a condom, and they do not transmit other diseases. Natural remedies include neem. Essential oils to consider include tea tree.


Bedbugs feast on people while they sleep. When not eating, they are generally found in mattress seams; but really they’re pretty happy to hang out anywhere in a room during the day—furniture, flooring, walls, vacuums. They traditionally have not been associated with the transmission of disease; however, they have recently been implicated in spreading MRSA. Natural remedies include diatomaceous earth. Essential oils to consider include lavender, lemongrass, thyme.


Scabies are mites that burrow through the skin. Because they can be very difficult to eradicate, if one person in a family is affected, the entire household must be treated. They are also very easily transmitted in public, like on public transportation or in medical offices or schools. Natural remedies include cayenne pepper. Essential oils to consider include Neem, tea tree, clove, rosemary.

RID, Nix, and other pyrethrin-based treatments will work for many of these insect infestations.


As with everything else, including ticks, prevention is always best. If using a strong tick repellent, tucking pants into socks, and checking for ticks immediately upon return failed to prevent a tick from latching onto you, you’ll want to have amoxicillin or doxycycline available in case the tick transmitted Lyme disease. (About 20% of deer ticks carry the Lyme disease parasite.) Essential oils to consider include lavender.

Permethrin Insecticide

Permethrin is the most effective insecticide for dealing with lice, bedbugs, scabies, and ticks. It can be applied to clothing and bedding and will remain effective through several washings. Permethrin is available through Amazon. However, you may also find it at your local feed store and probably for substantially less.

Snake Bites

About two-thirds of the venomous snakes in North America are rattlesnakes, and the toxicity of their venom varies by species. Anti-venin for all poisonous snake bites is only available in a hospital setting. Options for treating snakebite in a grid-down situation are very limited. The Sawyer Extractor has mixed reviews from physicians. Some say it works; some say it doesn’t. Even if it doesn’t actually extract venom, it can help keep a patient calm, and that is important. The fact of the matter is, many snake bites are actually non-venomating, and using a snake bite extractor immediately after a bite would give the impression that it works. Regardless of whether you have an extractor, you will want a compression bandage for wrapping the affected limb to reduce blood flow. Essential oils to consider using are lavender.

Heat Stress, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke

If ice and cold water are not available to cool the patient and bring the temperature down, use instant cold packs. Ideally, the patient will be administered fluids through an IV, but if not, the oral, rectal, and subdermal methods are acceptable. Essential oils to consider include lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, chamomile.

Urinary Tract Infections

Cystitis, or urinary tract infection, is much more common in women than men. When the infection reaches the kidneys, antibiotics become necessary. Test strips to confirm diagnosis are available, but they have a short shelf life. Several antibiotic options include septra, amoxicillin, nitrofurantoin, ampicillin, and ciprofloxacin. Phenazopyridine (also known as Azo) is an OTC medication that alleviates kidney stone and UTI pain; it does not cure the infection. It is available by prescription at double the dose. Natural remedies include garlic, echinacea, goldenrod tea, cranberry juice, cranberry tablets, and Alka-Seltzer. Essential oils to consider include rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, hyssop, basil, clove, cinnamon, cypress, eucalyptus, niaouli, lavender.


Antibiotics won’t help with an enlarged prostate. Saw palmetto is the only OTC med that probably will help, but it can take quite a while before improvement is noted. Flomax, Hytrin, and Cardura should take less time, but require a prescription.

Prostate infections/chronic prostatitis may be treated with ciprofloxacin or doxycycline. Treatment may need to continue for up to one month. Unfortunately, recurrence is frequent. However, it is rarely a life-threatening condition. Essential oils to consider include Roman chamomile, German chamomile, yarrow, lavender.


STDs are treated with a variety of antibiotics, depending on the specific STD. Lacking laboratory equipment to make an exact diagnosis, a few antibiotics will probably need to be tried before finding the right one. The CDC has “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010”. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are metronidazole, azithromycin, and doxycycline.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are not a UTI, but we’ve put them in this part of the article since they’re in the same general area of the body. Passing a kidney stone can be extremely painful, and some relief would be nice. Narcotics help, but they may not be an option. Tramadol may help as well, if you can get it. Ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen are other options. If the patient has a history of infection or is passing blood, an oral antibiotic should be considered to ward off infection (ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfa DS, nitrofurantoin, or amoxicillin). Essential oils to consider include lemongrass, frankincense, helichrysum, Idaho balsam fir, lemon.

Tomorrow we’ll get into some “fun” topics, such as pregnancy, radiation sickness, and pandemics/biological warfare, and more.

See also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part four of a six part entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

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Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Like most things, you can find evidence for about everything you look for. However, I will tell you that the most common modern clinical practices are:

    1) Doxycycline is not commonly used for conjunctivitis–except maybe if chlamydia is suspected. Topical erythromycin is most common. Fluoroquinolones are used for contact lens wearers or if there is a chance of pseudomonas.

    2) Eye patches for corneal abrasions have not shown benefit and may have some harm according to meta-analyses of the literature.

    3) Every toxicologist/herpetologist I know says the Sawyer extractor doesn’t work.

    Keep up the good work with the health education!

    1. We really appreciate your input. We want to learn as much as we can. We have a couple of questions.

      Re #1. Yes, we understand topical erythromycin is what is generally prescribed for conjunctivitis. It’s what we’ve been given in the past. But the doctors teaching the courses and writing the books are assuming (as are we) that our society has completely collapsed and that topical erythromycin is no longer available. The overseas pharmacies I’ve checked (All Day Chemist and Inhouse Pharmacy) don’t carry it. We have a little left over from an infection, but what kind of shelf life does it have? Is there risk sharing someone else’s tube (or eyedrops), assuming a few months have passed? Could a DIY topical ointment be made by crushing an erythromycin tablet? (Somehow, we think we couldn’t crush the pill fine enough.) What would you use for the ointment base?

      Back to the overseas pharmacies, All Day Chemist carries azithromycin, tobramycin, and moxifloxacin ophthalmic drops at reasonable prices. Would they be effective for problems we’re likely to see in a TEOTWAWKI situation? What kind of shelf life do you think they would have past the “use by” date?

      Re #3. For people who already have the Sawyer extractor, in case of snakebite and there truly is no hospital and no anti-venin, would you use it anyway to help calm a patient down? Do you think the extractor works for insect stings?

      1. Thank you for the discussion.

        Moxifloxacin eyedrops are a good all-round treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis. I have no idea about the shelflife, although since it is a liquid I doubt it will keep as long. You could probably get away with taking oral antibiotics, and don’t necessarily need to make a topical solution from a pill. (Too bad we’re not fish, so we can’t use fish antibiotics:) Keep in mind that the vast majority of conjunctivitis is viral and needs no treatment. Also, doxycycline can cause some problems with children.

        Regarding using the Sawyer extractor as a placebo: I say go for it. If you have a treatment that will cause no harm but might have a psychological benefit, why not use it? The trick is to not give the patient a hickey or cause tissue damage to with the extractor.

  2. Excellent article, I would add to the home medicines , organic apple cider vinegar which can be used for many different ailments. The pills are more palatable for certain uses, IE; blood pressure. I have used Neosporin, or triple antibiotic salve for conjunctivitis effectively. Raw honey for burns, some types of skin infections. There are many natural alternatives to prescription meds, valuable information in any situation where access to a doctor is limited.

    1. ACV and honey will be touched on in part 6. ACV, honey, and other natural remedies have so many uses. We’d love to see articles on them. But the emphasis for this article was acquiring the traditional medical supplies and medications, before they become even more regulated (or unavailable).

      Interesting note on the triple antibiotic.

      Do you think any raw honey will work? Do you think Manuka honey has a significantly greater benefit than other raw honeys?

  3. For kidney stones, my Dr prescribed Flomax to help dilate the urethra to help with passing them. This helped as the stones were smaller than 2.5 mm. I do not know the maximum size of a stone that can be passed naturally.

  4. I have been manufacturing mild silver protein for over 25 years and at strengths of 500 ppm and also 1500ppm. Shelf life of these products is now over 25 years. Many doctors are using these in IV infusions as well as oral doses. DMSO is added to the IV infusions to help penetrate deep tissue.

    SNAKE bites, in every third world country and in some hospitals here in the south a micro current stun gun is used to neutralize the venom. I have seen it used in Belize and Mexico when I worked with doctors in both countries. In many cases all that is available is a pair of jumper cables and a 12 volt battery and it works.

    1. I mean no disrespect, and only post about this because it could be harmful. Please do not hook yourself up to jumper cables and a battery, or otherwise apply electicity to yourself. Even if electricity could theoretically break down the proteins in venom, you will cause much more damage to your own tissue, and maybe even electrocute yourself.

  5. Keep in mind that some people are allergic to clove products. I discovered this by accident 5 years ago when a dentist used a temporary filling material containing eugenol that caused the entire side of my mouth to swell and probably also damaged the root in that tooth.

  6. Considering mosquitoes. Deet is quite toxic but for many of us whom mosquitoes think are candy it s the only thing I ve found that works. So i put on long sleeves and pants then spray the clothes , back of my hands cover my eyes with my hands and spray lightly my face. We did this while living in the bush in Alaska where there are Lots of mosquitoes! My friend didn’t want to use any sprays on her little girl. She was bit a lot and wouldn’t stop scratching the bites. They ended up getting very infected. She had to go to the doctor for antibiotics and because her daughter was young and it was difficult to keep her fron scratching it took a long time for it to heal up. So heads up. Prevention can save a lot of misery.

    1. We’re not huge fans of Deet here, but sometimes in life you have to “pick your poison.” Is it Deet, which might be somewhat toxic to you, or a mosquito bite which could carry disease? I had a class member ask about chemical leaching from plastic water bottles stored in the car for emergency. So I asked her, “Do you want to suffer from dehydration, or risk the chemicals in the water bottle?”

  7. Please note allergies of those under your care. There are a lot of things that people never know they are allergic to until someone brings it in to the environment.

    I see a lot of use Lavender. Please cut back on the use of it. There is a good portion of the population that are allergic that do not even know it until they come in direct contact with it. I have seen anything from a mild rash, runny nose, to outright right anaphylactic shock reactions. I see claims of it calming for people and this and that about it. Not so much for everyone.

    Make sure that who ever is taking on the responsibility of in depth healing that they know ALL allergies. One simple remedy could put someone else in a world of hurt, something no one wants when there is no one else to call for help.

    1. Anyone can have an allergic reaction to anything at any time. When TEOTWAWKI hits, everybody will be responsible for their own medical records and history.

      We have merely provided information in this article. We have no interest in promoting one item over another. Lavender happens to be a very commonly used essential oil that appears to provide relief for a number of ailments. Just because some people have a reaction to it does not mean others should not know about it or be able to use it. A significant number of people are allergic to penicillin, but it is still recommended and used, though maybe not as a first choice.

      There’s no way to cover med school and medications in a short article, and we aren’t physicians. People have to take responsibility for their own health care, especially when TEOTWAWKI hits. We’ve listed some items that people may want to have in their tool kits, whether they’re for a doctor to use, as is hopefully the case, or whether they have to treat their loved ones themselves in an emergency.

  8. For heat stroke and prostate problems, prevention is key. And easy. Water.

    Heat stroke and associated conditions are properly referred to as elevated body temperature most often due to dehydration. Water…before you feel really thirsty.

    Ditto the prostate gland. Drink plenty of water so that your urine is the color of straw. When you finish, squeeze that muscle behind the scrotum, ten times (Kegel exercises). Though not fatal, prostatitis is painful.

  9. Once you get dehydrated, at some point, you will have depleted your body of electrolytes. Drinking water plain, without sodium, magnesium, calcium etc., will do nothing but further dilute your bloods salt balance, and usually lead to vomiting what water you may have kept down, and further dehydration. In other words, you’re in serious danger of moving from simple heat exhaustion to full on heat stroke. You must try drinking sports drinks and get some electrolytes into your system or you are screwed Get to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

    1. Yes, dehydration depletes the body of electrolytes and can be fatal. But an ER may not be an option in the future. In the dehydration section we mentioned the other methods of restoring fluids and electrolytes. Putting in an IV is going to be extremely difficult for someone who is not trained (and according to nurses is a very perishable skill); it’s much, much more difficult when the patient is dehydrated. Other options, much more do-able for the lay person include rectal administration via enema bags, and hypodermoclysis, which involves injecting fluid subcutaneously. You can read more here: Obviously, if we have a functioning medical system, you would get your patient to a hospital.

  10. I’ve had BPH for years, it got bad where I was urinating five times a night. Started taking a tablespoon of organic pumpkin seed oil each day. Within two months it reduced having to urinate at night down to twice a night. Pumpkin seed oil is loaded with zinc. Absorbs better than a hard pressed pill…

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