In remote settings where modern medical help is not an option, there will be a number of deaths that occur from injuries and infections incurred in the performance of activities related to survival. Many wounds will be dirty and become infected, leading to what would otherwise be avoidable fatalities.
I first realized the importance of antibiotics as a survival medical item after watching the History Channel special “After Armageddon”. In the program, the Johnson family survives a major pandemic and eventually joins a community. While performing some of the chores assigned to him, the patriarch of the family cuts himself. The cut becomes infected and he, a paramedic, finds that there are no antibiotics in the medical storage of the group. His infection finds its way into his bloodstream, and he dies slowly over the next two weeks.
After Armageddon on the History Channel
This death was avoidable, in my opinion. An effort to both include antibiotics in the medic’s survival supplies and learn how to use them would have saved Mr. Johnson and could save many others in a long-term catastrophe.
There are many antibiotics, but what antibiotics accessible to the average person would be good additions to your medical storage? When do you use a particular drug? The wrong antibiotic at the wrong time can be as bad as doing nothing at all. You should have both quantity and variety to be effective as a medic in long-term survival settings.
Before I go any further, let me make it clear that posts on this website pertain specifically to situations where modern medical care is not available. In that circumstance, you have become the highest medical resource that your family has. In normal times, seek qualified professionals wherever and whenever you need help.
Clindamycin is our next antibiotic in this series that explores med use in survival. It is available in human pharmacies as Cleocin and as FISH-CIN in aquatic form. It is part of the family of drugs called lincomycin antibiotics. It, like Azithromycin or Z-pak, works by slowing or stopping the growth of bacteria.
Clindamycin works best on bacteria that are anaerobic, which means that they don’t require oxygen to multiply. It can be used to treat various infections, including:
• Dental infections
• Soft tissue (skin, etc.)
• Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdomen seen in appendicitis and other medical issues)
• Some pneumonias and lung abscesses
• Uterine infections (such as after miscarriage or childbirth)
• Blood infections
• Pelvic infections
• MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staph. Aureus infections)
• Parasitic infections (Malaria, Toxoplasmosis)
It should be noted that although a certain antibiotic may be effective against a certain infection, that it may not be the most effective. These are called drugs of first choice and may change as new antibiotics are developed or new research becomes available.
Clindamycin is given in 150mg or 300mg doses every 6 hours with a glass of water. It should be used with caution in individuals with a history of gastrointestinal disease, as it can cause diarrhea during treatment. Sometimes, a very serious “colitis” (infection of the intestine) can develop. Be sure to discontinue use if any bowel irregularity occurs.
This drug is (also like Azithromycin) pregnancy category B, which means that no ill effects have been determined in animal studies. Drug testing is rarely done on pregnant humans, so very few pharmaceutical companies are willing to guarantee safety during pregnancy.
Clindamycin is acceptable for use in patients with Penicillin allergies. This is not to say that you might not have an allergy to Clindamycin itself, however.
Although most medical training is geared towards dealing with injuries, the wise medic will make an effort to learn more about how to identify and treat infections. It will greatly increase his or her effectiveness in disasters or other times of trouble.
Joe Alton, MD
P.S. Although many antibiotics are available in aquatic or avian form, I have noticed that it is becoming harder to obtain certain ones. Their appearance (capsule color, etc.) is also changing, as well as their labeling (sometimes to include “for veterinary use only”). Make sure to thoroughly research any medications that you are considering for your survival medicine cabinet.
Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s line of survival medical kits, available at store.doomandbloom.net.