Before we get into the subject of prevention and alternative treatments of infections, I think it is necessary to say that I have no formal medical training. This information is meant to help you see what options are there during an extreme situation or for minor infections that do not require major antibiotics.
This is SHTF medicine and not a replacement for seeing your doctor or taking antibiotics when they are really needed. How your body handles a condition and treatment is something unique to you.
If you are pregnant, nursing, or have any pre existing conditions then that of course must be considered before you go forward with any treatments or remedies.
Alternative Infection Prevention and Treatment
Tea Tree Or Peppermint Essential Oils
Both tea tree and peppermint oil have been found to inhibit bacteria. Washing with soaps that contain one or both of these oils can help prevent daily bacteria loads on the skin from causing problems. If you want a mix of both oils you can mix Peppermint Dr Bronner’s and Tea Tree Dr Bronner’s in a 50-50 blend.
This also an excellent way to prevent fungal infections. Both of these oils and Dr. Bronner’s soaps are safe to use on most pets too. I don’t buy fancy dog shampoo formulations. Dr Bronner’s serves the purpose well.
This was originally used as a clothing dye and then it was discovered that it has amazing properties. Gentian Violet would have been used more for health issues but the advent of Penicillin caused people to use it instead.
Gentian Violet works against infections and fungal issues such as athletes food and ringworm. Some people claim that Gentian Violet can take on MRSA but that is just a claim. If any readers have any input on this claim please share in the comments.
This is available through Amazon and it is very inexpensive. The major issue with this treatment is that it is very messy to use in a way. This will stain your skin for a time period and it also will stain clothes and other surfaces.
Be careful with application and clean up messes promptly. Oxygen cleaner and bleach can help remove some of the residue if you spill some.
This is a new product but it has a lot of infection prevention and treatment potential. This is made from hypochlorus acid. In the past this was used to sterilize equipment in the medical industry but the problem was that it was not shelf stable for sale to the public.
Briotech discovered how to affordably make this amazing spray to be shelf stable for the long term. It is not the cheapest antibacterial spray but they claim it has a 10 second kill time for MRSA.
It does not sting and you can even use it in the eyes. Something that can be used in the eye area is a rare thing and this is actually a lot less expensive and easy to apply then the terramycin eye ointments that are available and are petroleum jelly based. If you want a lot of detailed info about Briotech then please visit their site.
Sure, putting salt in wounds is awful and painful but it is very effective at killing some bacteria. Back in the day before modern medicine, (I am talking millennia ago even) this was a common treatment. A heavy on the salt hot water soak can help.
You do want to make sure to not do this too often or you will do more harm than good. An initial very salty soak that is followed up by milder salt soaks can help. While regular salt will work, the dead sea salt above is a higher grade product for body use. While $2 a lb may seem like a lot for salt, a lot of people swear by sea salt for healing.
The 20 lb bag listed above will last a very long time if you are just using it medicinally. Smaller 5 lb bags are also available and your local food coop may have a good deal if you check in with them.
There is a lot of controversy about colloidal silver and silver solutions. Silver definitely has antibacterial properties which is one of the reasons why tableware used to be made from it in the old days. There are commercially available silver solutions out there from Curad if you are not comfortable with liquid colloidal silver and prefer a gel.
If you don’t trust silver then that is fine but I am putting it out there as an option. Curad is a trusted brand name and not an off brand colloidal silver and it is sold at a lot of stores. We have used it around the house for minor cuts and sores and it has worked well for us.
I am sure there are some out there that can list a million and one reasons why silver is bad for you but I think that can be said about a lot of medicines.
Some infections can be prevented with probiotics and healthy bacteria. Vitamin supplements sometimes contain these but you can also get them in separate pills or just eat lots of cultured dairy or juices that have probiotics added. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics.
Multi vitamins and good nutrition
Making sure you are getting a balanced diet and also filling in any gaps with multi vitamins can help make your immune system function better. There are all types of multi vitamins out there. My previous article on “ The Best Vitamins And Supplements For Hard Times” has a few suggestions but I encourage you to research others that address your unique needs.
Evaluating your diet and fitness level is not always fun but realizing you need to work on it is the first step towards better health and understanding of how your body is doing.
General Infection Prevention & Treatment Advice
- Calm down
Some of us have more of a problem with stress than others. Being over stressed can make it harder to heal according to some studies. Some believe that consistent stress also makes your immune system suppressed in some cases.
lthough it can be hard to not be too stressed in these challenging times, it is in your benefit to try to find ways to reduce what you are dealing with.
- Don’t Touch It
It is very easy to make the mistake of touching or messing with a sore and making it worse. It can be hard to leave something alone that is itchy, crusty, or irritated but you really need to make every effort to try. Even if something is healing fine, if you start touching it then you can cause an infection.
- Wash hands before treating any wound or irritated area
For a detailed article on hand washing please see the Backdoor Survival article “Do It Yourself Vaccine To Halt The Spread Of Germs”. Donna has a lot of advice and tips for getting into better handwashing routines.
- If you do take antibiotics, take the full course and as directed
One of the worst things you can do is to start taking antibiotics and then stop when you start to feel better rather than taking the whole course. This leads to resistance that can make the infection harder to cure when you realize it is still there.
Courses can vary based on your infection and what you are taking but usually antibiotics are give for at least 7 days for any infection in order to make sure it is completely gone.
If you are the caregiver of someone then make sure they are taking pills as directed even if you have to kind of give them the business about it. As someone that has taken care of very frail and elderly relatives, I know first hand how stubborn or forgetful they can be even if they don’t mean too.
- Cranberry Juice Or Capsules For Urinary Health
Taking cranberry can help prevent UTI infections and sometimes it can take care of the mild irritation that happens before UTI becomes a full blow thing that needs antibiotics. The sooner you treat UTI symptoms the better because it can move from your urethra to your bladder or kidneys and create a more serious infection.
Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice can help but you can also buy cranberry pills and capsules to take as a daily supplement. UTI infections account for 8 million or more doctors visits per year in the USA.
Due to how women’s bodies are made, they are much more likely than men to get at UTI. If you are a woman than chances are you have or will experience one or more throughout your life. Sometimes being a lady is no fun!
- Treat cuts and scrapes immediately
It is better to clean and put something on a wound ASAP. Prevention is better than treatment. You might not necessarily need a band aid but you should keep things clean and put some antimicrobial gel like silver or antibiotic ointment on it to be safe, especially during SHTF scenarios.
While you surely don’t want to deplete your medical supplies really fast, you should not put off care in order to keep stockpiles up. Don’t fall in the trap of saving for later when you should be using them now.
- Kids and infections
During SHTF and just regular daily life it is good to keep an eye on kids for infection signs. Young kids may not notice that a cut or scrape is looking red and angry unless there is also pain. Catching redness and irritation early can prevent a full blown infection and associated suffering from happening.
While looking over your 10 year old with a flashlight may be a bit much, during SHTF you may want to sit kids down and let them know to glance at cuts and scrapes and let you know if they get worse.
All kids are unique so use your best judgment in how to make them aware of infection prevention without causing too much fear and paranoia. Backdoor Survival had an article on “Helping Children and Youth Manage Stress” that has some advice on helping them through the tough stuff.
- MRSA & Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
There are increasingly more types of antibiotic resistant bacteria out there. While MRSA is the most well known, you can pick up others and it can be hard to know where. Doctors, dentists, hospitals, clinics, etc. are supposed to be kept clean but only so much can be done.
Anytime you go to a place where a lot of sick people have been or still are, you are exposing yourself to germs and bacteria that you would not otherwise be. I know that these places cannot be avoided and being too much of a germaphobe is not healthy either however reducing the time you spend in waiting rooms for example can make a difference.
When my dad has to go the veteran’s medical center for routine medical appointments or even the ER we drop him off and then come back. They always see him very fast and there is nothing we can do sitting in the waiting area.
If my husband and I get sick then we cannot be as attentive to his needs so it is important to prevent any illness we can. Sometimes we will just go get shopping done in the area so we can pick him up within 15-20 minutes of him calling.
- Keep infected areas covered and keep others from coming into contact with infected areas
It is a highly unpleasant fact that particularly terrible bacteria and fungi can be transferred by contact. Keeping infected skin and wounds covered while treating will help prevent this but you need to make sure to air out your wound a few times a day and change out dressings as needed. If someone needs to help you do this then they should wear gloves.
- Only take antibiotics when you really need them
This is a tough one when you don’t have a doctor telling you what to take but you are definitely better off only taking antibiotics when needed. They are not going to help a common cold. Taking them when not needed and often can lead to it being much harder to treat any infections you get later on.
Plants With Infection Treatment Properties
This is a partial list of course and like any homeopathic medicine, you should read up on any plants in detail before taking them. Some plants definitely have to be used carefully and some must be avoided during pregnancy for example.
Tea made from Goldenseal has been used as an eyewash to treat irritations and infections. In fact it was used in commercial eye washes until the 1980s. There has been some evidence that Goldenseal helps win battles with drug resistant tuberculosis. It is not ok for pregnant women to take.
Unless you have an allergy to it, garlic is an easy to use antibacterial agent. It helps prevent Staph infections, Salmonella, Streptococcous and more. A major benefit is that it doesn’t kill off good bacteria like Lactobacillus.
Garlic also helps in treating and preventing fungal infections. If you don’t want to eat a lot of it or want to avoid the odor, there are plenty of capsules and supplements that do not cause objectionable smells.
Alcohol extracts of ginger help eliminate bacteria that attack the intestines. If someone has diaharhhea then ginger can offer some relief. The anti nausea effects of ginger are also helpful to those that are experiencing stomach issues. Cooking and heat largely reduce the effects so consume ginger raw, in capsules, or the alcohol extract.
Try adding some Thyme to your next pot of soup or when roasting meats. It has some antimicrobial effects. If you use Italian seasoning a lot then you are getting a good mix of herbs with antimicrobial properties.
This delicious spice has antibacterial properties and is an anti inflammatory as well. There are so many benefits to cinnamon. Here is a detailed official study that is pretty amazing. Next time you eat some apple pie you might feel a little better about it!
This pretty flower can be grown in a lot of places and it has both antiviral and antimicrobial effects but the main reason it helps with infections is the immune system enhancing effect. You can take Echinachea a lot of different ways. Teas and tinctures are some of the more popular ways.
Creating an infection treatment kit
While you may have a medical kit put together it is worth it to consider how prepared you are for preventing and dealing with infections during a survival situation.
As you can see from what was discussed in this article, infection prevention and treatment is something you can build into your lifestyle. When you are putting back herbs and spices for prepping, consider someone of the herbs in this post.
Extra bandages and dressings are also important so you won’t be tempted to wear one too long or leave wounds and infected areas uncovered.
Just a few extra dollars out of your budget occasionally will lead to a stronger game plan when it comes to preventing infection in your family. Many of the items on this list can be bought for less than $10.
If you don’t have a full range of fish antibiotics, I suggest you stock up now. Although they are still available, shortages can happen. When there was a rumor that they were going to be outlawed for people to buy without a vet signing off, Camping Survival was backordered for 2 weeks and rushing to get orders out as fast as they could.
Normally they ship very quickly. Hopefully infections never progress to the point of needing fish antibiotics but if they do and it is SHTF they are worth their weight in gold.
Life is precious and fragile. Do what you can now to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy in all types of situations.
Do you have any suggestions for infection treatment and prevention? Please share your knowledge with your fellow Backdoor Survivalists in the comments below!
Samantha Biggers lives on a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them. She can be reached at [email protected] or Facebook.
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