Last month I wrote about the use of veterinary antibiotics for human use during a catastrophic collapse situation. This is something we hope will never happen, of course, but that does not mean we need to keep our head in the sand either.
I received a lot of emails following this particular post and I was asked a lot of questions that I, personally, could not answer. As I said then, I am not a health care professional nor am I especially qualified on all things health related. On the other hand, I do believe in medical self-care and I do believe in doing my own research. It was during that research that I learned that fish antibiotics are the exact same formula as human antibiotics. And thus began my interest in learning more and in sharing my knowledge, such as it was, with my readers.
Given my lack of expertise in this area, Dr. Joe Alton better known as Doctor Bones who, along with Nurse Amy, host the Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy Doom and Bloom Nation, have graciously allowed me to share their work on this topic. As an MD and ARNP, Joe and Amy have written The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook and are uniquely qualified to provide guidance on the matter of using antibiotics in a disaster or collapse situation.
Today, with their permission, I present part 2 of the series on the use of antibiotics, and more specifically how to use them and when.
Antibiotics And Their Use In Collapse Medicine(tm), Part 2
One of the most common questions that I am asked from prospective survival medics is “What antibiotics should I stockpile and how do I use them?” There isn’t a short answer to this. Actually, there isn’t even a long answer to this, but anyone that is interested in preserving the health of their loved ones in a collapse will have to learn what antibiotics will work in a particular situation. This is part 2 of a series on the most important antibiotics to have in a collapse situation and how to use them.
One thing that I didn’t mention in my last article is that antibiotics only work against bacteria. The common cold, influenza, and other infections caused by viruses. Don’t waste your precious supplies treating illnesses for which they will have no effect.
Last time we discussed Amoxicillin, certainly an important antibiotic for many purposes. What if you’re allergic to medications in the Penicillin family, however?
Consider Ciprofloxacin (aquarium equivalent: FISH-FLOX). Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic in the fluoroquinolone family. It kills bacteria by inhibiting the reproduction of DNA and bacterial proteins. This drug usually comes in 250mg and 500mg doses.
Ciprofloxacin (brand name Cipro) can be used for the following conditions:
- Bladder or other urinary infections, especially in females
- Prostate infections
- Some types of lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia
- Acute sinusitis
- Skin infections (such as cellulitis)
- Bone and joint infections
- Infectious diarrhea
- Typhoid fever caused by Salmonella
- Inhalational Anthrax
In most cases, you should give 500mg twice a day for 7-14 days, with the exception of bone and joint infections (4-6 weeks) and Anthrax (60 days). You can get away with 250mg doses for 3 days for most mild urinary infections. Generally, you would want to continue the medication for 2 days after improvement is noted. Ciprofoxacin has not been approved for use in pregnancy. Among other side effects, Cipro has been reported to occasionally cause weakness in muscles and tendons. Look other risks and side effects up at drugs.com or rxlist.com.
Cipro may also cause joint and muscle complications in children, so it is restricted in pediatric use to the following:
- Urinary tract infections and pyelonephritis due to E. coli (the most common type)
- Inhalational anthrax
In children, the dosage is measured by multiplying 10mg by the weight in kilograms (1 kg = 2.2 lbs.) and the maximum dose should not exceed 400mg total twice a day, even if the child weighs more than 100 pounds. Ciprofloxacin should be taken with 8 ounces of water.
Another useful antibiotic in a collapse would be Doxycycline (veterinary equivalent: Bird-Biotic). Doxycycline is a member of the Tetracycline family, and is also acceptable in patients allergic to Penicillin. It inhibits the production of bacterial protein, which prevents reproduction. Doxycycline is marketed under various names, such as Vibramycin and Vibra-Tabs.
Indications for Doxycycline include the following:
- E. Coli, Shigella and Enterobacter infections (some diarrheal disease)
- Chlamydia (sexually transmitted disease)
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Plague (Yersinia)
- Gum disease (severe gingivitis, periodontitis)
- Folliculitis (boils)
- Acne and other inflammatory skin diseases, such as hidradenitis (armpits and groins)
- Some lower respiratory tract (pneumonia) and urinary tract infections
- Upper respiratory infections caused by Strep
- Methicillin-resistant Staph (MRSA) infections
- Malaria (prevention)
- Some parasitic worm infections (kills bacteria in their gut needed to survive)
In the case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, doxycycline is indicated even for use in children for this illness. Otherwise, doxycycline is not indicated for use in children under the age of eight years. It has not been approved for use during pregnancy.
Although antibiotics may be helpful in diarrheal disease, always start with hydration and symptomatic relief. Prolonged diarrhea, high fevers, and bleeding are reasons to consider their use. The risk is that one of the side effects of antibiotics is….diarrhea!
The recommended Doxycycline dosage for most types of bacterial infections in adults is 100 mg to 200 mg per day for 7-14 days. For chronic (long-term) or more serious infections, treatment can be carried out for a longer time. Children will receive 1-2mg per pound of body weight per day. For Anthrax, the treatment should be prolonged to 60 days. To prevent malaria, adults should use 100mg per day.
A working knowledge of antibiotic use is important for anyone that will serve as the medic for their survival group. Antibiotics are a weapon in your medical arsenal; use them wisely and frugally.
What about Storage?
One of the many questions I was asked after I posted the article How to Stockpile Antibiotics for Long Term Survival had to do with the best way to store antibiotics. Common wisdom dictates that you should store antibiotics in a cool, dry location. But equally important, for collapse purposes, you may want to disregard the expiration date on pills and capsules (liquids are another story).
Here is an excellent article on the subject: The Truth About Expiration Dates.
The Final Word
As you think about adding antibiotics to your survival first aid kit, also think about those over the counter and herbal items that could help you if things got really bad. Just because they are commonly available, does not mean that drugstore remedies such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and nsaids do not have a place in your survival kit.
Also, keep in mind that all of these items will be valuable for use as barter currency. They are inexpensive, effective, easy to store, and readily available at local stores, warehouse clubs and online. Be sure to add some extras now.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Spotlight Item: The Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Handbook will teach you how to deal with all of the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation. This book will teach you strategies to keep your family healthy even in the worse scenarios. You’ll learn skills like performing a physical exam, transporting the injured patient, and even how to suture a wound. This medical reference belongs in every survival library!
Bargain Bin: For your convenience, I am listing some sources for pet and veterinary medicines below. I want to remind you, however, that I am not a medical professional and not qualified to give medical advice. If you have a medical condition, the advice and counsel of your own physician should always come first.
Fish Mox-Amoxicillin 250mg: This is the veterinary equivalent to Amoxicillin 250mg.
Fish Mox Forte 500mg: This is the veterinary equivalent to Amoxicillin 500mg
Fish Flox 250mg: This is the veterinary equivalent to Ciprofloxacin 250mg.
Fish Flex 250mg: This is the veterinary equivalent to Cephalexin 250mg.
Fish Zole 250mg: This is the veterinary equivalent to Metronidazole 250mg.
Thomas Labs Bird Biotic: This is the veterinary equivalent to Doxycycline 100mg.
Bird Sulfa: This is the veterinary equivalent to Sulfamethoxazole 400mg/Trimethoprim 80mg.
Note: While I try to keep these purchase links up to date, availability can change on a moment’s notice. If the item you wish to purchase is not currently available, keep checking back or locate an alternative vendor. One such vendor is http://aquaticpharmacy.com/. They are local to the San Juan Island area in Washington State and one of my readers has indicated that their quality and service is great. I have no personal or business relationship with them – just passing the information along.
Physicians’ Desk Reference: I think that it is important to mention that although the latest edition is pricey, older versions are equally useful at a fraction of the price. For example, I found the 2011 version used, on Amazon, for less than $10 including shipping.
Be sure to shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Sales some great deals – typically 20% to 30% off. October specials include Freeze-Dried Roast Beef at $39.99 (about $10 off), the Mountain House Classic Assortment Bucket (also about $10 off), Clarified Butter at $6.99 (normally $8.50), Honey Oat Granola at $8.99 (normally $11.95) and more.
I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss. The Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials is something I use all year round. With the grocery store a 20 mile round trip journey, I like the thought of being able to rehydrate my own fruit, in the quantity I want, at a moments notice. The selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries.
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