Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease: The Layman’s Guide to Available Antibiotics in Austere Settings

Jodie Weston Jodie Weston  |  Updated: July 4, 2019
Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease: The Layman’s Guide to Available Antibiotics in Austere Settings

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Years ago, we began writing about medical preparedness as it relates to major disasters. If a catastrophe takes society to the brink, every family needs someone to step up and take responsibility for the health of their loved ones. That someone may very well be you.

Any event that takes us off the grid for any significant period of time will lead to outbreaks of infectious disease. In normal times, we depend on a modern medical system to prevent bad outcomes. When that system no longer functions, deaths will occur that would otherwise be avoidable if antibiotics were available.

For the citizen that assumes the role of medic in austere settings, obtaining a good quantity of antibiotics is problematic. Without these drugs, a family can expect deaths from infections at rates comparable to those seen in the 19th century.

If you doubt this, consider the History Channel film “After Armageddon”. In it, a paramedic takes his family on the road after an apocalyptic event. During their travels, they meet a community that can use someone with medical training and join it to start a new life.

All hands are needed, however, to grow food and perform other activities of daily survival. Our hero is assigned to duties to which he is not accustomed and ends up with a minor injury which becomes infected. Unfortunately, the medical supplies of the community are limited; they don’t include antibiotics. He watches his infection spread over the next few weeks, and despite all his knowledge and training, the lack of antibiotics kills him.

The first article we ever wrote was our attempt to improve outcomes from bacterial disease off the grid. It discussed a new option well outside the conventional medical wisdom: aquarium and avian antibiotics.

We utilized our dual experience raising fish and birds as well as practicing medicine to evaluate veterinary medications. We found that a number were identical in dosage and appearance to human drugs, in most cases down to the identification numbers on the capsules. These were available without a prescription, making them an accessible and valuable tool in the medical woodshed.

We decided to educate the family medic about how to identify various infectious diseases and the medicines that cure them and their veterinary “equivalents”.  We did this over the years in articles, videos, and podcasts.

Now, all the information we’ve accumulated is in one book: Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease: The Layman’s Guide to Available Antibiotics in Austere Settings

In “Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease”, we discuss:

  • How bacteria cause disease
  • How the immune system works to fight infection
  • Many different disease-causing organisms
  • Telling bacterial vs. viral disease
  • Common infectious diseases
  • Epidemic and pandemic diseases
  • How antibiotics work
  • Different antibiotic families
  • How to use antibiotics wisely
  • Issues with antibiotic resistance
  • Individual antibiotics and the diseases each one treats
  • Dosing, side effects, allergies, pregnancy and pediatric considerations
  • Expiration Dates
  • Establishing an epidemic sick room
  • Dealing with wound infections
  • Wound care
  • Supplies for the effective austere medic
  • Much more

A non-medical person having antibiotics on hand in disaster settings is considered controversial by the conventional medical wisdom, and for good reason. Yet, if there is no ambulance coming to render aid or hospital to treat the sick, you may become the end of the line with regards to the well-being of loved ones. Just as learning how to stop bleeding is important, learning about infection and the medicines that treat it will save lives in difficult times.

You won’t regret having Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease: The Layman’s Guide to Available Antibiotics in Austere Setting in your survival library.

Joe and Amy Alton are the authors of the Bestseller and 2017 Book Excellence Award winner in medicine The Survival Medicine Handbook.  See their articles in American Survival Guide, Survivor’s Edge, Backwoods Home, and other great magazines. For over 1000 articles on medical preparedness in wilderness, disaster, or other austere settings, go to their website at The opinions voiced by Joe Alton, M.D., and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. are their own and are not meant to take the place of seeking medical help from a qualified healthcare provider.  

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One Response to “Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease: The Layman’s Guide to Available Antibiotics in Austere Settings”

  1. I eagerly awaited for this book to be available and bought it as soon as it was out. Unfortunately virtually all the info in the book is recycled rather than freshly written from their The Survival Medicine Handbook. But that book and spend it on a book with “new” info rather than an excerpted reprinted.

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