Prepper Antibiotics – Primer

Posted: December 14, 2014 in Medicine
Tags: , ,

IMG_3795Antibiotics save lives.  As such they are great additions to your emergency preparedness plan.  We take for granted that for millenia people died from simple bacterial infections.  Tuberculosis was the most common cause of death in the early 1900’s.  We have ready access to antibiotics today, but during a disaster that access may disappear.  It is a good idea to have some stock of antibiotics on hand.  Antibiotic use is complex and best left to medical professionals.  My suggestion would be that you have some stored away but still seek medical guidance regarding the proper administration of them.  I would also recommend getting some education about these medicines in case you ever had to use them with no medical guidance.  I will offer a brief primer on this topic today.

Sir Alexander Fleming is credited with the discovery of penicillin, the first antibiotic.  He noticed that a certain mold inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria.  Even very small concentrations stopped the bacteria from growing.  Interestingly, Staph is almost completely resistant to penicillin nowadays due to antibiotic overuse.

Antibiotic is a broad word that literally means against life.  We typically use it to mean antibacterial, but it includes antifungals, antihelminths, antivirals and antiprotazoals.  Today we will only be addressing the antibacterial aspect.  Antibiotics work because there are differences between our cells and that of the bacteria.  Each antibiotic has a mechanism of action that either kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria.  That being said all antibiotics (and medicines in general) have a critical point where they are toxic to people as well.  Accurate dosing is very important.  This is even more critical in children.

Plea – please do not buy and use these antibiotics on yourself or family.  Do not get these out of your food storage and start taking them at the first sign of a sniffle!  It is dangerous.

Allergies – Certain people have reactions to medications.  Antibiotics are common offenders.  Truth be told a lot of people’s supposed allergies are nonsense (you don’t inherit them from your parents for example).  BUT a true allergy to an antibiotic can be life threatening.  Anaphylactic reactions are possible and deadly.  You can kill someone by giving them the wrong antibiotic.  They may not even know they are allergic.  You cannot give penicillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin or any penicillin derivative to someone with a penicillin allergy.  There is a sister class of drugs to penicillin called cephalosporins.  You cannot give these to someone with an anaphylactic penicillin reaction.  Are you starting to appreciate the complexity here?  There are many other types of allergies as well, some just specific to one type of drug.  Sulfa is another common allergy, you cannot give them bactrim (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole).

Types of bacteria – there are a lot of different kinds of bacteria.  Gram-positive, gram negative, aerobic, anaerobic, and more.  Different types are sensitive and resistant to different antibiotics.  You have to treat different infections with different antibiotics.  One antibiotic doesn’t treat everything.

  • Gram-positive – Gram stains are used to stain the cell wall of the bacteria for observation under a microscope.  Positive means the cell wall stains and is easily visible.  Includes Staph and Strep.  Skin bacteria are typically of this class.
  • Gram-negative – The cell wall does not stain well.  These can cause severe and rapid systemic toxicity and sepsis (severe infection into the blood).  This class includes Haemophlus influenza, E. Coli, pseudomonas, Neisseria, etc.
  • Anaerobic – these bacteria don’t require oxygen to survive and grow (Aerobic require oxygen).  Dental infections and abscesses can often have these type of bacteria.

Side effects – antibiotics can cause a lot of different side effects.  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, rash, hives, kidney damage, liver damage, etc.  These are known side effects and not even allergies.  For example Gentamycin can cause profound hearing loss and Rifampin causes your tears and saliva to turn bright orange/red.

Common Antibiotics Good for Preppers –

  • Amoxicillin – penicillin derivative.  Treats a wide range of infections, good for Strep, syphillis, Lyme disease
  • Cephalexin (Keflex) – Cephalosporin, good coverage for gram positive infections.  Often used after surgery (good skin bacteria coverage).
  • Metronidazole – anaerobic (mouth, bowels) coverage as well as giardia, some amoebas and worms.  Often combined with other meds to create a broad spectrum antibiotic (cipro, cephalosporin, etc)  Not for kids or pregnancy.
  • Ciprofloxacin – Good for respiratory infections, GI infections, urine infections, bacterial diarrhea.  Not for kids or pregnancy.  Treats anthrax.
  • Clindamycin – Treats staph, strep, pneumonia, anaerobic infections.  Good for penicillin allergic patients.  Has efficacy against resistant staph (MRSA).  Usually about 60% chance it will work against MRSA (varies by geography).
  • Bactrim – Respiratory infections and urinary tract infections.  Has some efficacy against MRSA.
  • Doxycycline – Sinus, respiratory, malaria.  No kids or pregnancy.  Concern about toxicity after expiration date (tetracycline as well).
  • Azithromycin – aka Z-pack.  Good broad antibiotic that treats respiratory, Strep, Lyme disease.
  • Erythromycin – alternative if penicillin allergic.  URI, pneumonia, Strep, Lyme, Chlamydia.  Okay for pregnancy and kids.  Old drug rarely used anymore.  May be hard to get.
  • Augmentin – good broad antibiotic.  Combo drug with amoxicillin.  Cannot get this as fish antibiotic, but I add it in case you can get some.

Storage – 

Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place.  Avoid heat.  Keep them sealed in the container they came in.  Most of these should be good for many years.  See exception of tetracycline/doxycycline.

Conclusion – 

This is a list of a few antibiotics that you could consider stocking up on.  They are all available (except augmentin) at FishMoxFishFlex.  Some of them come in different strengths.  Forte being the bigger dose.  I would probably get the Forte version as they are closer to the dose an adult would take.  For example Fish Mox (amoxicillin) comes is either 250 mg or the Fish Mox Forte is 500mg.  Typical adult dose for this is 500mg TID (three times a day).

During a breakdown or disaster antibiotics would be worth their weight in gold.  They would make great bartering items.  They will literally save lives.  I attempted to illustrate some of the complexity regarding their use.  This is really just the tip of the iceberg.  I hope you appreciate how complex this is.  This isn’t like taking Tylenol for a headache.  There is a reason they are prescription only.  We haven’t even addressed dosing yet.

A lot of doctors use this book (myself included) to help know what antibiotics to use as well as dosing.  It is a great resource.  It is quite small and could be kept with the antibiotics.  It is meant for doctors.  You would have to spend considerable time getting familiar with the book and learning what all the technical lingo means.  You would probably need a college level course on pharmacology and microbiology to really make sense of it.  Regardless, it would be a good reference to have.

  1. Tom says:

    Do you need a rx to buy from the website you recommend? It so that seems a little dangerous.


    • Preppermann says:

      You do NOT need a prescription to buy the antibiotics from the fish website. They are intended for fish but are the exact same drugs made by the same companies. It is a well-known “prepper secret”.


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