Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Best Medicine For Preparedness

A few of my kids have taken to prepping. Actually, all of my kids are preppers at one level or the other. I was talking to me son the other day and he said his focus is medical kits right now. I thought that a review of what medicines I think you should put up and keep on hand. Remember that skill trumps gear. Get some medical training.
This is only my opinion and I do not have extensive medical training. I know basic first aid and have learned a few other skills but my wife is the “doc” in our house so many things I keep are for her use.
My first item is not actually a medicine but a skill. Learn about herbs and aroma therapy. Once you have some knowledge stock up on these supplements.
First on my list are plain old vitamins. Learn how to use these also and keep enough for your target time. My target time is usually a year. Remember to rotate meds as you use them.
Pain/Fever
Over the counter meds abound. The three most common are acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and Aspirin. The last two are anti-inflammatory drugs. Know how to properly use these also.
I recommend a prescription pain reliever. Don’t try to get someone else’s, keep one of your old prescriptions. Something with codeine in it would be good. Beware of these, they can be addictive and are very strong. They are also a narcotic so beware that these could be illegal if you don’t have a prescription.
Anti-diarrheal
Diarrhea can dehydrate you quickly. Dehydration leads to weakness, irritability, and confusion.
There are two types of medicines that help stop diarrhea. Thickening mixtures (psyllium) absorb water and gives number 2 a little more volume. Antispasmodic slows the spasms of your lower intestine. Loperamide is the active ingredient. These come in liquid products (Pepto) or pill form (Imodium).
Antibiotics
These are very important.
Sooner or later someone you know will need something a little stronger than a clean bandage. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. A cut from a rusty piece of metal when the grid is up isn’t life threatening. Without something to fight the infection in a grid down world, a bacterial infection could spell death. Antibiotics do not work on viruses though, so they won’t help you out with every illness.
How do you know when to use antibiotics?
The answer depends on what is causing your infection. The following are some basic guidelines from Familydoctor.org:
• Colds and flu. Viruses cause these illnesses. They can’t be cured with antibiotics.
• Cough or bronchitis. Viruses almost always cause these. However, if you have a problem with your lungs or an illness that lasts a long time, bacteria may actually be the cause. Your doctor may decide to try using an antibiotic.
• Sore throat. Most sore throats are caused by viruses and don’t need antibiotics. However, strep throat is caused by bacteria. Your doctor can determine if you have strep throat and can prescribe an antibiotic.
• Ear infections. There are several types of ear infections. Antibiotics are used for some (but not all) ear infections.
• Sinus infections. Antibiotics are often used to treat sinus infections. However, a runny nose and yellow or green mucus do not necessarily mean you need an antibiotic. Read more about treating sinusitis.
Obtaining extra antibiotics could be difficult without a willing doctor or an active prescription. A common alternative to pharmacy antibiotics is fish antibiotics. Largely made with the same compounds, fish antibiotics are available without a prescription.
In addition to the more serious antibiotics, you could avoid a lot of problems with simple topical antibiotic creams. If you only have small injuries (not serious burns, puncture wounds or deep cuts), quick and repeated application of this ointment per instructions could keep any bacterial infections at bay.
Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver isn’t loved by the medical or scientific establishment, but that doesn’t mean it does not work. Colloidal Silver or CS as it is referred to by some is said to be an excellent antibiotic with the side benefit of being able to be made with simple materials by anyone. You should research for yourself whether or not this is a prepper supply you want to store. There are well documented cases of people who have abused this.
Benadryl (topical and oral)
Benadryl is an Antihistamine. Good for allergic reactions. It will probably make you sleepy. You can use it for pain management because it is hard to be in pain while you are asleep. It also comes in topical form to help with allergic rashes.

Additional medical supplies
• Oral re-hydration solution – To offset the effects of dehydration caused by illness or diarrhea, make your own by adding 6-8 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter of water. Best to boil the water, add the sugar and salt while it is still warm to dissolve completely and let cool.
• Multi-vitamins – I know the experts say that vitamins don’t do anything for you, but I believe if your body is deprived of vitamins supplementing with a good multi vitamin is a good idea.
• Bandages – Probably more than you would ever expect to need. Bandages on wounds need to be routinely changed and the wound cleaned (based upon injury of course, consult a medical resource book for frequency) and you can easily go through dozens with one injury. I call these also, blood stoppers.
• Rubbing Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide – Both alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are useful for cleaning wounds but each have many other benefits in the prepper’s first aid kit.
• Cough Drops – Sure there are natural alternatives to cough drops, but you can buy a few hundred for less than $10
• Anti-itch cream or Calamine lotion – Itching sucks.
• Honey – Natural honey can be used to treat wounds and never goes bad if you have it stored properly. Plus it tastes great on that oatmeal you have stored in your pantry too.
• Knee Braces and Ace Bandages – A lot of injuries will simply take time to heal. A good knee brace can make getting around possible for someone with mild injuries. Ace bandages can help with sprains.
• Any prescriptions you take regularly – An entire post could be written about obtaining supplies of life-saving medical prescriptions. The sad fact is that in a grid down world, many people who can no longer access prescription medicine may die. There are alternative treatments, homeopathic remedies and natural substitutes for some specific medicines, but these should all be researched thoroughly. At a minimum you should have at least a one month supply of any medicine you must take. If the disaster allows you to make it to another medical provider you have some time.
• Thermometer – Get the old-fashioned kind if you are worried about EMP, although the newer digital thermometers are really nice too.
• Blood Pressure Cuff – Helpful in situations although requires some training on how to use one properly. Don’t forget the Stethoscope to hear the heartbeat.
When does medicine go bad?
Yes, medicine does go bad, but it may not be bad in the way you think or as quickly as you might believe. For one thing the expiration date on medicine does not mean that the medicine is bad after that date. By bad I mean less effective, not toxic. Medicine does start to lose its effectiveness over time though so keeping your medicine up to date is the best approach.
How quickly a particular medicine loses its potency will vary by the medicine and the conditions where it is stored. Moisture and heat are not friends to medicine so a cool dry place out of sunlight is the best location. Medicine that has changed color, texture or smell, even if it has not expired, shouldn’t be taken. If pills stick together or are harder or softer, show cracks or chips they likely need to be replaced.
This is really just a start at some of the most obvious medicine to stock up on but each person has their own needs. What is your plan if you can’t get to the doctor? And as usual, I am not a doctor. This is all for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. (yadda, yadda, yadda)
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