(This is an introductory article to an updated series on antibiotics that will be useful in a long-term survival setting. Future articles will discuss these drugs in detail and some natural substances that may have antimicrobial properties. It should be noted that recommendations on this site are meant for post-apocalyptic settings. If modern medicine exists, seek it out. Practicing medicine without a license is illegal and punishable by law.)
In a disaster, especially a long-term one, the medically prepared person will be able to handle many emergencies. It’s important, however, to understand that there are clearly survivable issues, like a broken finger, and some that are not, such as a major internal hemorrhage. The goal in an austere setting is to prevent avoidable deaths. A realistic attitude towards this hard fact won’t make decision-making easier, but it might make it clearer.
One significant way to prevent the avoidable death is to have the ability to nip infections in the bud. In a scenario where your people are performing activities of daily survival, there will be injuries. People who are unaccustomed to chopping wood or fail to wear, say, work gloves will be candidates for cuts that could easily become infected.
If you don’t have a strategy and supplies, that infection could enter their bloodstream and cause a life-threatening condition called “Septicemia”. Septicemia can lead to shock, and shock can lead to death: A possibly avoidable death.
As such, the medically prepared should have a good amount of antibiotics in their storage. This is more easily said than done. You might get a sympathetic physician to give you a prescription for a course of antibiotics, but they won’t last long if you’re caring for a group or extended family off-grid. For this reason, years ago I wrote the original (as far as I know) physician article on aquarium antibiotics for use in long-term survival scenarios.
In the relatively unique multiple roles as physician, aquaculturist (raising tilapia and other fish), and bird owner, I had the opportunity to treat humans, fish, and parrots for infections for over twenty years. After watching the History Channel production “After Armageddon” it became obvious that simple things, like an infected cut, could become fatal if modern medicine was unable to intervene.
So I researched ways that the average person could have access to antibiotics for post-apocalyptic settings. It struck me that many of the antibiotics that I have used on fish and birds were very similar to human drugs. These veterinary medications only had one ingredient, the antibiotic itself, and they seemed to only be produced in human dosages. In a number of cases, they were identical to the human drug: Fish-Mox Forte, 500mg, for example, was a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it. Amoxicillin 500mg, a human medicine made by DAVA pharmaceuticals, was also a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it.
Amoxicillin 500mg/FISH-MOX FORTE
It stands to reason, therefore, that they were one and the same (corroborated by a number of readers in the pharmacy business). This became my criteria for survival storage of veterinary antibiotics:
(update: Thomas Labs stopped manufacturing Fish-Mox and other pet fish antibiotics in 2020, but they can still be found by generic names using online searches.)
• Only 1 ingredient, the antibiotic (nothing to make your scales shiny or your feathers brighter)
• Only produced in dosages that apply to humans
• Identical to the human drug, including markings, manufactured by at least one company (many companies produce Amoxicillin, and they don’t all have to look alike)
• Available as capsules or tablets (for ease of storage and for longevity). See my original article on expiration dates here: https://www.doomandbloom.net/the-truth-about-expiration-dates-2/
• Able to be purchased in bulk without a prescriptio
Future articles will discuss some drugs that I believe will be useful and exist in veterinary form. They include:
(Again, the brand names listed no longer exist in 2020, but others has risen to take their places.)
It’s important to remember that the above medications will be effective against bacteria, but not viruses. Armed with knowledge, training, and a supply of the right meds, a medic will have more options to keep their people healthy in a long-term off-grid situation and to limit deaths that are avoidable.
Joe Alton, M.D.
(Note: Although an industry has risen regarding the sale of the above products, I do not sell them nor do I have a financial interest in any company that does.)