A Medic of Last Resort – Part 4, by Tunnel Rabbit

(Continued from Part 3. This concludes the article.)

Antibiotics, Antibiotic ointments, and Antiseptics

Antibiotics, antibiotic ointments, and any antiseptics will be worth their weight in gold, because these can save lives when nothing else will. If I were just starting to acquire a supply of medical goods, I would first begin by buying all the oral antibiotics that I could afford at the time, and then later fill the rest of my list.  It would be wise to learn about the latest medical advice about how and what to use to keep a wound from becoming infected.  And how the judicious use of the correct antibiotic, ointments, and antiseptics, and frequent change of dressings that can promote the faster healing of a wound. We can improvise dressings and bandages, but not the stuff that kills bacteria.

I already have enough antibiotics, and antiseptics, yet not enough antibiotic ointment. Because this was an outstanding bargain on eBay, just $2.50 instead of $8.00 for a 1oz. tube at the store, I backed up the truck and loaded up 18 one-ounce tubes at only $2.50 each. The quantity of medical supplies need to treat only one serious injury can be enormous — more than one would imagine. Buy more than you’ll think you’ll need now while it is cheap and available, as there will likely be no resupply, or hospital to help.

If we had no oral antibiotics, topical antibiotic ointments, and antiseptics of any kind could prevent the infection in the wound from becoming serious in the first place. Unless we had them stored in great abundance, I would resist using oral antibiotics as these may not be replaceable at any cost. Again, we are more likely to die from a bug than a bullet. Oral and topical antibiotics are currently cheap prevention and will become priceless. While some bought silver coins, I purchased life-saving things.

To retierate, veterinary antibiotics will no longer be available after June 2023, yet antibiotics for fish will be after June 2023. Prices may rise as a result of a diminished supply.  Get the details in this video:

The Future of Pet Antibiotics, Aquatic/FISH and Bird, with Dr. Alton

The best book out there on oral antibiotics that speaks to the survivalist and layman is Dr. Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Diseases.  Get it before you buy oral antibiotics. It will provide invaluable instructions about what, where, and how to use antibiotics. It is an easy read.

Dr. Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Diseases

Oral Antbiotics to Acquire

Doxycycline (Indicated for MRSA)
Bactrim (Generic Name: Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim)
Metronidazole (Flagyl)
Azithromycin (related to Erythromycin that can be a subsitute)
Cephlaxan (Keflex)

An antibiotic in eye drop form that is typically amoxicillin

Antibiotic in liquid form for infants.

Many new readers may not be familiar with Dr. Alton.  This is a good video of the kind of content he regularly offers: Videocast #2: Discussing Fish Antibiotics, Hosted by Dr. Alton and Nurse Amy

Antibiotic Ointments

  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin)
  • Double Antibiotic Ointment (Bacitracin)

A double Antibiotic ointment is the best choice as some people have a mild allergic reaction to triple antibiotic that mimics the symptoms of an infection. I purchased triple antibiotics at 1/4th the price saving 75% over the price of a double antibiotic.  I also purchase a few tubes of a much more expensive double antibiotic to be used if I suspected an allergic reaction, and for use on burns, where indicated.

Raw Unprocessed (unpasteurized) honey
As a substitute for other antibiotic ointments, and water jell products such as Hydrogel and Burntec, and many other brand names

Topical Antiseptics

  • Betadine
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Iodine
  • Alcohol

Improvised or Homemade Antiseptics

Grain Alcohol

Homemade alcohol is difficult to make in concentrations as high as 70 percent alcohol, yet lower concentrations might be worthwhile, especially if there are no other options.

Dakin’s Solution

Dakin’s Solution is a homemade solution used to moisten dressings and proved to be effective during the First World War. It inhibits bacterial growth at the wound’s surface. Bleach is needed for making Dakin’s Solution.

According to Wound Care at End of Life – A Guide for Hospice Professionals the actionable recipe for Dakin’s is:

Household bleach (sodium hypochlorite 5.25% strength), unscented

1/2 strength: 25mL (1T + 2 tsp)

1/4 strength: 12.5mL (2 1/2 tsp)

Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
32oz boiled water, cooled
32oz container, sterile
Directions: Boil tap water for 20 minutes, cool. Add baking soda (buffering agent) and amount of bleach for desired strength solution. Stir to dissolve and transfer to sterile container.
Use this to wet bandages prior to removal in the short term (less than 14 days). Dispose of any unused solution within 24 hours.

Ionic Silver

Silver-impregnated dressings are now found widely on the market. A homemade ionized silver concentrate could be added to dressings. To make this concentrate for dressings requires a more complex process than  the typical colloidal silver maker is aware of. The simple process that produces colloidal silver results in much lower concentrations, and larger particle sizes that are less likely to interact with various and smaller bacterium. Fortunately, there are instructional videos available on how to make ionic silver that is very concentrated, and produces much smaller silver particles, on average. Homemade colloidal silver may provide a benefit, yet ionic silver in high concentrations would provide a much greater effect when applied to dressings.

Category #4, Products for Personal and Group Hygiene:

These items can be a part of an individual’s gear, or better yet, a part of the medical supply stores. This is not necessarily a complete list, only an example that could be considered.

Baking soda (toothpaste alternative)
Dental floss
Unscented Ivory soap (perfumed products can be smelled ty aggressors, out in the field)
Tec-Nu (poison ivy, sumac)
Fels-Naphtha (poison ivy, sumac)
Tinactin powder
Permethrin, (lice wash)
Fine tooth comb (lice)
Baby wipes
Hand sanitizer
Cough drops
Bleach (for making foot wash)
Sevin dust (fleas and mites)
Tincture of benzoin as glue for moleskin (foot blisters),
Large Band aids
Assortment of small band-aids
Baby powder
Corn starch
Linament (sore muscles)
Petroleum jelly

Pre-assembled Emergency Medical Kits and IFAK’s

On eBay, there are many vendors who sell competitively priced kits of various kinds, yet their stock might be old and even expired. If you can afford the best, then forget the rest, and buy only from a reputable source. we can buy a complete kit that is designed by a professional. Avoid buying first aid kits that are loaded with mostly adhesive bandages and not designed to handle medical emergencies, nor serious injuries. A box of band-aids cannot save a life.  We need the proper tools. It would be great if we could afford more. It is better to have it, instead of finding out later that we do not have it, when we need it.  And we can add to a pre-assembled medical kit by buying in bulk, thereby preserving the core of the kit for an emergency situation.

For those with the funds, Nurse Amy Alton, ARNP has a large selection of kits for groups, and a kit for everything else, including a minor wound kit.  These are put together by a professional with the survivalist in mind. In this video, Nurse Amy reviews one of her largest kits.

The Altons are the pioneers, the Dynamic Duo of Survival Medicine. I have availed myself of all their voluminous presentations, and over one thousand articles written over the last decade. I stuffed as much of it into my head as I could. It is priceless information found in no comparable depth and volume anywhere else and therefore publicly wish to thank them. There are of course other valuable information sources. EMTs and former combat medics offer wisdom as well.

The Barter Value of Medical Supplies and Services

If we have too much of an essential item, it can be used to trade the excess medical supplies for a dentist’s or doctor’s services, and could save a life in that way. Or, as a ‘medic of last resort’ strictly during a WROL situation, we might offer our services. [At any time before then, you might open yourself up for prosecution for practicing medicine without a license.] If we can fix things or people, we have a valuable skill to barter with. If I have antibiotics and know how to use them in WROL kind of world, then a life might be spared and the family and friends of the victim could be grateful.  A doctor without antibiotics could do no more once a serious infection developed.  Hopefully, medical professionals will have the tools of their trade, yet if not, be prepared to supply them if you can not use these supplies yourself. Oral antibiotics will be worth more than their weight in gold, because antibiotics in hand can save lives, when gold, silver, and even ammunition cannot buy something that is not for sale.

Other Places to Shop for Medical Supplies

SavesLives.com specializes in EMS supplies. See their tactical bandages department.

ShopMedVet.com sells basic items in bulk that provide a 50 to 100 percent savings over individual packaging, and other internet medical supply store offerings.

Videos about medical emergency techniques, equipment, and supplies

These are provided as a matter of convenience as I am subscribed to these channels, yet I learn from many other sources as well.

Sample Instructional Videos for a Self-Guided Education

The amount of educational videos available is almost endless. If there was an EMT course available nearby, that would be optimal, yet as I have taught myself about radio and many other topics via the internet, we can use our time and the internet to learn about many topics.  As the list could be very long, it is better to point in the direction one could go to obtain more of the same and increase their knowledge.

For example, before purchasing Hydrogel, Burngel, or Burn Shield brand water jell, or other products that use a wet dressing, I viewed many videos about how to treat various types of burns and other wounds that can be treated with a wet dressing. Raw Honey could be used as a substitute.

Burn-Jel 4×4 Burn Dressing

Burnshield Emergency Burncare

Sterile Wound Dressing Change – Clinical Nursing Skills

Instructional video by an M.D. demonstrating improvised techniques for aspiring wilderness/combat medics of ‘last resort’.

I found the videos from a former Special Forces Combat Medic, and now a Wilderness Instructor, very helpful. After being impressed with his YouTube videos, I’ll be buying his instructional video package:

Here is a playlist.

Note that this one should have been on the playlist, yet it is not: Wound Closure.

I took notes and bought some of the gear in these videos at much lower prices by shopping long and hard. The savings added up.

Reference Books

If we might have antibiotics, and there is no reason we should not, there are some must-have books. Dr. Alton’s Survival Medicine book is written for the 5th-grade level. I was able to breeze through it in one 5-hour sitting. It is a part of my library of medical reference books, such as an outdated Merck Manual, and Physician’s Desk Reference, as well as others that I purchased at a thrift store.  The professional publications would be too complex for most folks.  Alton’s books are excellent.  He explains what to buy without a prescription, where to buy it, how to diagnose common infections, and how to use the appropriate oral antibiotic.

Purchase these and other reference books, such as the modern edition of Gray’s Anatomy and other college-level books used, and save. The information we would use is not outdated.

The Physician’s Desk Reference

The Merck Manual

Free Downloadable Educational Audio Program

After listening to hundreds of hours of Dr. Alton’s Survival Medicine podcast on Blog Talk Radio, I cannot recommend that enough either.  Download it for free, and for others who would become a ‘Medic of Last Resort’, a term coined by Dr. Alton himself.  I have used it in his honor.  Thank you Nurse Amy and Dr. Alton for all those years of education, and inspiration.