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.
In a grid-down scenario, pregnancy tests are not used to satisfy curiosity. A few should be stored by every woman as pregnancy can mimic other serious conditions. If a woman is pregnant, treatment protocols need to be adjusted. Is that pelvic pain appendicitis? Or an ectopic pregnancy?
Exposure to radiation, whether from a nuclear blast or power plant meltdown, is perhaps best decreased by taking refuge in a very good shelter. In addition, taking potassium iodide 30 minutes to 24 hours before radiation exposure will prevent thyroid cancer. Anti-radiation tablets are available from SurvivalBlog advertisers ki4u.com and campingsurvival.com. Essential oils to consider include rosemary, clove, thyme.
Historians and physicians have warned for years that the world is overdue for another pandemic. Terrorists and rogue nations threaten biological warfare every once in a while.
It’s suspected that though smallpox research was officially ended years ago, there may still be smallpox samples out there that could be weaponized and bring about a pandemic. It’s also theorized that even if an individual were vaccinated against smallpox, that vaccine (received at least 50 years ago in most cases) would be ineffective against weapons-grade smallpox. Antibiotics are not effective against smallpox; prevention is either by vaccination (supposedly the CDC has enough vaccine on hand for all of us) or complete isolation away from infected individuals.
Influenza, or flu, was addressed previously. Whether it is caused by a “normal” virus, or a pandemic virus, the treatment is going to be the same.
We’ll assume exposure to anthrax is by means of bioterrorism and not due to raising livestock. Unfortunately, an infection due to inhalational anthrax, the most deadly form, looks a lot like a cold or pneumonia or plague. Without diagnostic equipment and trained personnel, it will be very hard to differentiate between the three. If used as a preventative or in early treatment, penicillin, doxycycline, or ciprofloxacin can be effective against anthrax. If anthrax is a concern for you, you’ll want to have a two-month supply of doxycycline or ciprofloxacin for each person.
Pneumonic plague is the infamous Black Death that killed millions during the 14th century. Legend says that there were four thieves in Middle Ages Europe who made their living robbing the dead and dying during the Plague. Supposedly they used a blend of essential oils to protect themselves. Scientific studies support claims of the anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of these oils (and others). Pneumonic plague is transmitted by air droplets from person to person and is usually fatal within 2-4 days unless early treatment is initiated with doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, or tetracycline. Natural cases of bubonic plague occur only in western U.S., with the greatest incidence around the Four Corners area. It is transmitted by fleas that live on rodents. Essential oils: clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon.
Pain can be debilitating. Whether it is acute or long-term, we need to find a way to deal with it.
OTC Pain Relievers
While aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), and Aleve (naproxen sodium) can sometimes be used to treat the same problem, many times they are not interchangeable. Do not just store one or two of these; store all of them. Also consider storing a few children’s chewable versions of the first three. The medications in the chewable versions are much faster acting, which is especially important when time is of the essence, as in a heart attack, or a fever needs to be reduced quickly. Keep in mind that many of today’s OTC pain relievers were yesterday’s prescription meds. Pain patches and muscle rubs should also be purchased in quantity.
Prescription Pain Relievers
Of course, like all prescription medications, they can only legally be used by the person to whom they are prescribed, unless a licensed physician is on hand to legally reallocate. With tightening regulations, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to obtain any narcotics for “just in case.” So if you have any on hand, guard them carefully, and definitely don’t let anyone else know about them. Many of today’s OTC pain relievers are sold in higher dosages by prescription. Some physicians recommend combining acetaminophen with an NSAID. (Combining one NSAID with another is generally avoided.)
Prescription strength Tylenol is 1000 mg per dose. Prescription strength ibuprofen is 800 mg per dose. Regular prescription strength naproxen sodium is 440 mg per dose. These prescription strength doses should always be taken with food and should only be taken for a short time at these strengths. If an individual experiences stomach pain with these medications, an acid blocker like Pepcid or Zantac can be taken an hour prior to taking the pain med to help prevent stomach discomfort. If the pain reliever causes nausea, meclizine can be taken an hour before the pain reliever to prevent stomach upset.
Injectable lidocaine is available only through a physician. However, lidocaine powder to make your own injectable solution can still be purchased without a prescription. One supplier is MedicalNumbingAgents.com. The topical creams often used in tattooing contain up to 5% lidocaine, the strongest available without a prescription. Just this week our daughter used it to numb her ankle before digging out a deep sliver—without the slightest bit of pain.
Epinephrine works synergistically with lidocaine for a local anesthetic. In the liquid form, it is only available through a physician or veterinarian. Powder (for making your own injectable) is available through Dr Natural Healing.
Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl) has an interesting off-label use as well. Believe it or not, it has anesthetic properties. Like lidocaine and epinephrine, the injectable solution is available only through a physician. However, the powder from diphenhydramine capsules can be mixed with sterile water to make your own injectable solution, or mixed with less water or a cream to make a paste to be applied topically.
For use of alcohol as a painkiller, here are the opinions of the two gentlemen I took classes from. Both of them were emergency room physicians who had also been attached to Special Forces units earlier in their careers. The Mormon said, “Let them drink.” The Jew said, “All you get is a drunk, angry patient who doesn’t want to be hurt.” You’ll have to decide that one on your own.
Diethyl ether is what was used as the first general anesthetic for amputation in the U.S. in the 1840s, and up until 2005 was on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines for its use as an anesthetic. Even the most painful of surgeries can be performed using ether as the anesthetic. (Remember, you are not performing the surgery. You have a licensed physician for that who will also know how to administer the ether. You are merely legally gathering legal supplies so that you will have them when they are needed.) Diethyl ether is currently (May 2017) available through Amazon and Ebay.
You can make your own “morphine bomb” using essential oils—five drops oregano, five drops balsam fir, five drops frankincense, five drops copaiba—in a capsule. Most people say there are no side effects, but in our experience there is some burping and the breath can taste like Pine-Sol. Our son uses this for serious abdominal pain. Our daughter, who has severe menstrual cramping, experienced phenomenal relief. Another daughter also used it for pain from menstrual cramps that weren’t as severe as her sister’s. She said it worked but wasn’t worth the Pine-Sol breath.
The placebo effect is real and shouldn’t be discounted, especially in a grid-down scenario where pain management options are limited. All patients are different; some will respond better to one medication than another. Tylenol does absolutely nothing for me, but apparently it works very well for others. Some find great relief using essential oils; others scoff at the mere mention and prefer to go the traditional route. Remember, what works best will likely be what the patient thinks will work best. The mind is a powerful tool.
To date there are numerous articles on SurvivalBlog about stockpiling antibiotics for a TEOTWAWKI scenario.6 In general, “they” say that fish antibiotics are acceptable. Antibiotics for people are available from overseas pharmacies like All Day Chemist and your family doctor. Fish antibiotics can be purchased through survival stores, like Camping Survival and Ready Made Resources, online veterinary and pet supply stores, and even your local ranch and feed store. The more difficult problem is determining how many of each kind you want to have. What diseases are you going to contract?
Will it be something that involves only one to two weeks of antibiotic therapy? Will you get anthrax, which needs up to two months? What about tuberculosis, which can require up to one year of antibiotics to eradicate? Are you allergic to any antibiotics? What other conditions do you have? Are you pregnant, or might that happen in the future? Do you have children in your group? All of these factors have to be taken into consideration.
Best Antibiotics to Stockpile
To sum up, physicians generally agree on the best antibiotics to stockpile. These antibiotics will treat 90% of the illnesses we are likely to encounter. For a family, Dr. Koelker advises 100 tablets of each of the following: amoxicillin, cephalexin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, erythromycin, metronidazole, trimethoprim-sulfamethazole. Buy tablets if possible, in the largest dosages. Large tablets can be split if needed and are generally less expensive per dose when split (but do the math to be sure). And they take less space to store.
Liquid antibiotics are not advised for stockpiling, simply because they actually do decrease in efficacy much closer to the date stamped on the bottle, unlike their tablet and capsule counterparts.
Opthamalic Ointments and Drops
Ophthalmic ointments and drops can be difficult, and expensive, to come by. Consider getting all the refills possible on any prescriptions you are given. A few ophthalmic drops are available from overseas pharmacies.
Topical Creams and Ointments
Topical creams and ointments have the same shorter shelf life of other liquids and ointments. Your bacitracin, polysporin, and triple antibiotic ointments need to be rotated. That being said, most people apply way too much antibiotic ointment to their wounds. You only need an amount the size of a grain of rice for every quarter inch of wound.
Come back tomorrow, as we wrap up our article on common medical issues that you may want to get supplies on hand to treat so that you’ll have what a physician needs to use to care for your needs.
- 1 – Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 1, by A.&J. R.
- 2 – Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 2, by A.&J. R.
- 3 – Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 3, by A.&J. R.
- 4 – Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 4, by A.&J. R.
- 6 – Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 6, by A.&J. R. (Active on 5/13/18)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part five 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:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
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.