Before we start, here’s a quick disclaimer: I am a physician who has been practicing for 11 years, so I hope I know what I’m talking about, BUT this information is written for a TEOTWAWKI scenario where routine hospital based care is unavailable and the only antibiotics you have are ones designed for pets. This article is written for the desperate times ahead. Please do not use it as a guide to infectious diseases or how you should provide care to your family now. If you or a family member are ill and the hospitals are still staffed with knowledgeable and compassionate doctors who have all the great drugs Big Pharma can produce, that is where you should go for care. I assume no liability if you use this information in a scenario in which it was not intended. So once again: this article applies to a TEOTWAWKI scenario where all you have is pet antibiotics. It should not be used to guide medical decision-making for any timeframe prior to that event.
So, “it” has hit the fan, but fortunately you had seen the writing on the wall and gotten your act together. You have food, water, shelter, defense, and first aid. You’re ready for anything.
Included in your first aid inventory is a good selection of antibiotics, and now the time has come to use them, but your OPSEC wasn’t as good as it should be and word has gotten out that you have antibiotics. The people are coming from far and wide. (If you don’t think people will travel for medical care, you are wrong. When I did a medical mission in Honduras, people were walking for 10-20 miles through the jungle to see us; so, it will happen.)
Let’s walk through a few scenarios. Here are the “patients” you have waiting in your front yard “waiting room”:
- Your wife has a sore throat without a runny nose or cough. It hurts to swallow. Little red spots are scattered across the back of her mouth, and her tonsils are swollen and beefy red without white spots.
- Your son cut his hand a few days ago, and now the cut is red, hot, and oozing puss.
- Your other son also cut his hand while salvaging some stuff from a nursing home. His wound too is red, hot, and oozing puss.
- Your grandson (who never got his vaccinations, because your son didn’t believe the “lies” of big pharma) is having coughing fits that take his breath away and end in a “Whoop” of inhaled air.
- Your other grandson (again who had no vaccinations) has broken out with a fever, runny nose, and rash that consists of small fluid-filled blisters on bright red spots on his skin. They itch, and when one area gets better another area gets worse.
- Your third grandson (again who had no vaccinations) has headache, vomiting, muscle aches, a fever of 104.2, and weakness of his left leg muscles. Ten days ago, you chastised him for drinking untreated water from a creek. He didn’t know but it was downstream from a big FEMA refugee camp.
- Your neighbor’s wife has a fever, abdominal pain, and vaginal drainage. You know she was raped on a trip to the farmer’s market one week ago.
- A farm hand seemed okay yesterday but woke with a fever to 102.9, chills, coughing, body aches, runny nose, and a headache. His nasal drainage is yellow-green.
- Your teenaged daughter has not been drinking enough since you ran out of “flavor enhancers” for your water. Now, she has a fever of 101.5, painful urination, urinary frequency, and urinary urgency. Her urine smells “strong”.
- Your prepper neighbor (who has a special filter to remove the fluoride from his city water) has been struggling with a toothache for a few days but now he can barely open his mouth. He has a fever of 102.3, jaw pain, and swelling on the right side of his face. He took some penicillin he had stocked and it seemed to help a little, but then his symptoms got worse.
- Your neighbor ran out of food a while ago and has been shooting and eating prairie dogs out of desperation. He was okay yesterday but woke in the middle of the night with fever and now has fever to 103.7, headache, chills, muscle aches, and diarrhea. He also says his “glands” are swollen in his neck, armpit, and groin.
- Another neighbor was out hunting when he drank untreated water from a creek. Upstream he found a beaver pond. He presents with abdominal pain, copious watery (non-bloody) diarrhea, and a fever to 102.2.
- A boy from down the road was caught looting a house and was hit in the abdomen with three rounds of 00 buckshot as he ran away. He presents with a swollen painful abdomen that is rock hard and fever to 105.6. He is incoherent and having hallucinations. The buckshot is still in his body. His father begs you to save him, and he says he will give you his cherry 1965 Mustang fastback if you do. (If he hadn’t spent so much time and money on that car he might have been able to get some preps of his own and wouldn’t have had to resort to looting houses for food.)
- Your neighbors son presents with fever, fatigue, headaches, vomiting, and diarrhea, and has been unable to sleep. Dad hoped it was just a virus and would pass, but this morning he had a seizure and the father brings him to you. Two months ago the child found a bat in their grass in the middle of the day. He picked it up and got bit, but the wound seemed to heal without complication.
- Your aged mother has had a sore throat, low grade fever of 100.6, and stuffy nose for four days. There are white patches on her tonsils. It hurts a little to eat or drink.
- A farmer from down the road (whom you don’t like very well) tells you he has been trading food for sexual favors from the desperate unprepared women of the nearby town. He says there is an ulcer on the head of his penis. Otherwise he feels fine. It does not hurt, but he is worried he might have “picked something up from one of those whores!”
- A coworker has shown up for help. You had talked to him about prepping, and he was on the path when the balloon went up. He presents with bloating, watery diarrhea that has streaks of blood in it, abdominal pain, and a fever to 104.7. He says the diarrhea smells like horse manure. He also says he recently had a suspected strep throat and took Clindamycin for it. (It’s the only antibiotic he had), and while the throat got better, the diarrhea (which he suspected to be from the antibiotic) has been present for nine days now and is getting worse.
- A neighbor’s child has been struggling with an illness for about a few days but over the last 24 hours has worsened significantly. She awoke this morning with a very stiff neck, high fever, severe headache, and severe nausea. She also has broken out with a blotchy purplish rash on her lower extremities that does not go pale (blanch) when you push on it. Father is here begging for help.
- A neighbor has been ill for about five days. Started with two days of non-bloody vomiting and then evolved into watery non-bloody diarrhea. Had a fever of 101.3 at the beginning of the illness but does not have one now.
- A neighbor ran out of food a few weeks ago and has been out foraging in the forest. He has pulled a lot of ticks off his body. He presents with fever to 102.5, muscle aches, a headache, and a rash on his thigh that looks like a bullseye with concentric rings of redness.
Wow! Do you have your work cut out for you. They are all coming to you for help. You’ve got the antibiotics, but which one do you use for each of your “patients”. Are these bacterial infections that will respond to antibiotics or will you waste your precious antibiotics treating an untreatable virus? If it is a bacteria, will you pick the right antibiotic and heal your patient or will you pick the wrong one potentially making your patient worse, while at the same time wasting a precious resource you cannot easily replace.
Understanding how to identify and treat infectious disease is an often misunderstood subject within the prepper community. Few of us have real medical training, and many of us rely on word of mouth or tradition. Some of us make the mistake of thinking all antibiotics are the same. It is my intention to provide a basic understanding of infectious disease and its treatment.