This is the final part of our article about the supplies we will need in order to address the medical issues we are most likely to experience, whether in a TEOTWAWKI situation we get to a “Bring Your Own Bandaids” clinic with experienced medical personnel or we have to treat some 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.
Fluconazole is the go-to oral anti-fungal medication for fungal infections. It is available only by prescription in the U.S. At first glance, it is a bit pricey—over one dollar per pill. However, you only need one pill to treat most infections, so you won’t need to have a lot in your stockpile. But you’ll be glad to have a few when you need them. Ketoconazole is indicated for systemic infections, or for local ones that just won’t respond to other medications. It has a fish antifungal equivalent. It is also rather pricey, even when purchased through an overseas pharmacy.
Gentian violet is a purple dye that will stain everything it touches, skin and clothing. Usually one application is effective, but may be repeated if necessary. It has the blessing of being rather inexpensive and is especially useful for treating thrush.
Topical creams, like Lamisil and Lotrimin used for athlete’s foot and ringworm and Gyne-Lotrimin used for vaginal infections, are great as long as they aren’t too far out of date. These may be combined with hydrocortisone to make a cream very similar to Lotrizone or Mycalog.
Benadryl comes in a cream form, too. Benadryl cream is applied to treat itching and pain arising from insect bites and stings, and poison oak, ivy, and sumac.
Hydrocortisone cream relieves itching due to rashes, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammation. It is sold OTC with 1% hydrocortisone. However, it can be used much more often to achieve the higher concentrations of cortisone found in prescription preparations.
Zinc Oxide Cream
Zinc oxide cream (Desitin, A&D, et cetera), commonly used for diaper rash, is also very effective for poison oak, ivy, and sumac. And some people report it as being very effective in treating eczema and other rashes. It makes a great sunblock.
Colloidal silver, in gel, lotion, or spray, is effective in clearing up infections. It may work even on persistent infections that antibiotics and antifungals have not been able to touch.
Vitamins and Supplements
Ideally, we all have stored plenty of food that will provide for all our nutritional needs. But having multi-vitamins just in case is always a wise idea.
About 20% of older individuals will have problems utilizing dietary B-vitamins and will benefit from supplements. In fact, supplemental B-12 could be life-saving. So, if you are 60+ years old, acquiring a supply is critical. Furthermore, individuals taking acid blockers and proton pump inhibitors have difficulty utilizing dietary vitamin B-12, so again, those individuals should lay in an adequate supply.
Women and Children
Women of child-bearing age should store folate and biotin, in addition to pre-natal vitamins. Those living in an area with limited sun (like during the winter) really should store vitamin D, especially for children.
Those Deficient in Magnesium and Potassium
Many people in this country are deficient in magnesium and potassium, essential minerals for proper neuromuscular and cardiovascular function. There are several articles in the SurvivalBlog archives that discuss essential vitamins and minerals in greater detail.7
Volumes could be written on this topic alone, and it would be a good idea to acquire at least one reference. Increasing numbers of physicians are recognizing the value of essential oils in medicine, and most people realize that many modern medications are derived from plants. Essential oils offer alternatives for those who can’t use traditional medications for whatever reason. They can be safer to use, and in a grid-down scenario, essential oils are going to be easier to produce without a laboratory. Furthermore, some patients are just going to be more comfortable with alternative medicine. Most oils have uses in treating many illnesses. Even if you aren’t necessarily a big believer in the efficacy of essential oils, you will undoubtedly have in your group people who are. Why not have relatively inexpensive essential oils for them, and save the traditional drugs for those with that preference?
You’ll want big bottles of lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, and clove oils for sure, and good size bottles of lemon, geranium, and chamomile. For mood support (and we all know people who will be more than a little stressed at TEOTWAWKI), lime, geranium, orange, and lemon will be helpful. Myrrh, clove, cinnamon, and oregano help boost the immune system. Tea tree and neem are good for many skin conditions.
Other Medical supplies and Equipment
Remember, a physician, nurse, or medic can’t realistically be expected to stockpile supplies for everyone. Their personal supplies are personal. The rest of us need to be responsible for our own expendables that may be required in more serious situations. The following list includes some items not previously mentioned but which should be on your shopping list.
Durable goods can perhaps be re-used and shared among a community. Surgical tools and glass syringes and needles can be sterilized in a pressure canner. You probably don’t need crutches and wheelchairs for every family.
These items all have a different primary purpose but can be very useful in medical treatment as well.
- Baking soda—make solutions and disinfectants, sting pain reliever, brush teeth, acid reflux and heartburn
- Iodized salt—make mouthwashes, rehydration salts and solutions, prevent goiter, thyroid disease, and mental retardation
- Apple cider vinegar—use for acid reflux and heartburn
- Sugar—use for wound dressing
- Raw Honey—use for wound dressing and coughs
- Castor oil—induce labor when baby is overdue
- Cayenne pepper—stop minor to moderate bleeding (yes, it’s going to burn)
- Teas—natural remedies for a variety of complaints—peppermint, ginger, chamomile, raspberry
- Activated charcoal—filter water, neutralize ingested poisons, wound dressing, diarrhea remedy, heartburn remedy, dental infections
- Baby shampoo—dilute to make eye wash
- Baby hair brush, perineal bottle, Waterpik—remove debris from wounds
- Zinc oxide ointment (Desitin, A&D, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste) besides taking care of diaper rash, will be used for sore bum in cases of diarrhea, especially resulting from diet change to higher fiber foods (if you’re suddenly transitioning from traditional American diet to lots of wheat and beans); blended with Vaseline to make hemorrhoid cream; sunscreen; cold sores
- Iodine pads—put one in a water bottle to make an antiseptic rinse
- Duct tape—for warts, improvised butterfly bandages or steri-strips, hold stuff in place, pinhole glasses, seal off windows and doors
- Super glue—glue lacerations together, but it may cause a chemical burn. Vet-Bond or Dermabond is better.
- Saran wrap—dress burns and other wounds
- Plastic sheeting—seal off windows and doors, create an isolation area, keep airborne disease out
- Puppy training pads—clean place for laying out tools and supplies
- Tampons and sanitary napkins—use (with direct pressure) to stop bleeding
- Pressure canner—autoclave for sterilizing tools or preserving solutions
- Headlamp and glow sticks—provide lighting
- Vaseline—all kinds of things, including wound dressing, lubricant, athlete’s foot, diaper rash, seal around exit wounds in gunshots
- Epsom salts–add to bath for sore muscles, insomnia, sunburns, ingrown toenails, reduce stress, correct magnesium deficiencies
- Coffee—stimulant to elevate heart rate, vasoconstrictor
- Alcohol—sedative, disinfectant
- Kool-aid or NesQuik—to help small children take bitter medicines
Stage of Life
As you make decisions about how to prioritize your spending, keep in mind your stage of life.
Were we raising a young family, we’d make sure to include pregnancy tests and prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid and biotin. We’d have baby items, a glass rectal thermometer, glycerin suppositories, strep test kits, and children’s medications. More emphasis would be placed on storing antibiotics that are safer for children and pregnant women. With school-aged children and young adults, we’d consider beefing up the supplies needed for treating orthopedic injuries, burns, and lacerations. Older individuals will want to consider acquiring more B-vitamins and acid blockers.
Consider your geographic location. Are you, or will you be, in an area with a lot of mosquitoes or ticks? What about altitude? What about humidity?
Answers to those questions may govern choices in what to stockpile.
You have considerable choices of where to find many of these supplies. However, some items can be located from a limited number of suppliers. Price is a factor, of course, when we have a great number of needs in our preparations.
Amazon and Sam’s Club
Amazon and Sam’s Club have the best prices we’ve seen for OTC meds in bulk, but even between these two, cost differences can be substantial. It pays to compare. If you go together with friends, you can buy in greater quantities and save even more.
Dollar Stores and Outlets
Dollar stores and outlets are great places to stock up on some supplies. Check out your local stores to see what they carry often; the stock can turn over quickly for some items. Yes, much of what they sell is made in China. Unfortunately, a substantial number of the supplies you need are made in China. It’s probably best to get them while you still can. (Remember Puerto Rico? Reportedly, ten percent of U.S. drugs are (or were) manufactured there, in addition to fluid bags, plastic tubing, and IV fluids.)
Ranch and Feed Stores
Ranch and feed stores carry a lot of medical supplies marketed to ranchers and hobby farmers. Selection varies greatly from store to store. In addition to bandages, wraps, fish antibiotics, and other medications, you can also find insecticides like permethrin.
Prepper stores may purchase medical supplies in bulk and then sell items singly. This can be the way to go for individuals and couples. We were really surprised to find such reasonable prices at our local store.
ShopMedVet.com has the best prices on just about everything relating to medical supplies.
CampingSurvival.com carries some fish antibiotics, medical supplies, and anti-radiation tablets.
AllDayChemist.com sells prescription medications from India, including antibiotics. Their website states that they require a prescription, but it’s easy enough to work around.
MedicalNumbingAgents.com sells lidocaine powder at a reasonable price.
Ki4u.com carries anti-radiation tablets.
DrNaturalHealing.com is the only source we’ve been able to find for epinephrine OTC.
As you gather supplies, you may desire to enroll in some classes to augment the skills you already have. Classes taught by former Special Forces doctors and ER physicians are occasionally offered through SurvivalBlog supporters OnPoint Tactical and Gunsite Academy. Preparedness-minded nurses and physicians around the country, like Patriot Nurse, also provide opportunities for education. There are community college EMT courses and CERT courses.
Consider adding some or all of the following books to your library.
- Armageddon Medicine, by Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.
- Survival and Austere Medicine, by a group of medical professionals who wish to remain anonymous, available at this link for the cost of printing or you can download and print it yourself,
- The Survival Medicine Handbook, by Joseph Alton, M.D., and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P.
- Where There Is No Doctor, by David Werner
- Primary Surgery, Volumes 1-3, by Maurice King
- The Ship’s Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea, editions from before the 1980s, when the standard response for most emergencies was to get the patient to a hospital
- The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, by Valerie Ann Worwood
- Physician’s Drug Reference
- Nurse’s Pocket Drug Guide, by Judith Barberio, or any other pocket drug reference is a little easier for the layman to understand than the Physician’s Drug Reference, and it’s a heckuva lot smaller and easier to carry around.
Search the SurvivalBlog archives for health and medical articles written by medical professionals. Watch YouTubes for hands-on medical procedures. There’s no reason you can’t learn how to properly clean a wound or suture. In fact, having been taught suturing by doctors in a class and having watched it online dozens of times, I’d say online is loads better.
Points of Disagreement
As you read various books and articles, accept that there are going to be points of disagreement. Doctors are going to have different methods of approaching problems and diseases and reaching diagnoses, and there are going to be points of difference in treatment protocols. Some authors will emphasize certain treatments, diseases, illnesses, and totally ignore others. Having more than one or two references is a really good idea.
Knowledge is Power
Knowledge is power. You are not going to learn in a few days, weeks, or YouTubes or books what medical schools take years to teach to some of the best and brightest. But you can gain some confidence, some understanding, some recognition of what is of concern, and what probably is not. You can perform CPR; open airways; stop bleeding; straighten limbs; treat rashes and stings; stitch lacerations; clean and bandage abrasions; treat diarrhea, vomiting, nausea; and take preventative measures. You can make sure your water is clean and that everyone in your group knows and adopts strict standards of sanitation and cleanliness. You can eat right and you can address your own known needs and learn from the experience of your own and your family’s illnesses.
Family Medical History
You can review your family medical history. I have my grandmother’s exact body type. She had hyperemesis (extreme morning sickness), had her gall bladder removed, and often had adhesive tape on her left thumbnail because it would split. I have experienced all of these afflictions myself. Based on that, I figure I will develop arthritis in my knees at age sixty-five, like she did. Fortunately, that’s a little ways off. In reviewing the medical history of the rest of our family, we are reminded that six out of seven of us have had stitches. Four out of five of our children have had facial stitches.
So we store more sutures with smaller needles. We have stomach and ulcer issues, so we should probably store more acid blockers than we currently have. There have not been any broken bones in our children, us, our parents, grandparents, or siblings, but we have a couple of splints just in case. If money were limited, we’d probably forego the splints in our situation. You can prepare for what you may encounter in the future. You can keep records. And you can stock supplies so that even if you don’t know what to do with them, someone who is skilled has what he needs to help your family member.
The Cost and Value of Having These Supplies
An absorbable suture? $1.76. The cost for a course of antibiotic treatment with metronidazole? $7.46. Knowing you have supplies someone can provide proper care for your loved one? Priceless.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part six 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.