I’m weak in the area of medical preps. I have the usual first aid stuff. I would even say I have advanced first aid supplies. However, I know I’m weak in more substantial medical supplies. Can you help? Where can I get antibiotics? (I have some fish mox. One member of my family is allergic to penicillin, and another is allergic to sulfa drugs.) Do you have IV fluids? Where can I get that? What kind(s) of medical instruments do you have? I have members who can use these things, but I need to get the supplies. I don’t discuss it with them since they don’t see the urgency to prep as I do. Any advice and information is appreciated. Thanks.
I didn’t want to post her comment until such time as I had a chance to do it justice. It’s certainly worth its own blog post.
First, let me say we’re probably just as weak in the area of medical preps as Prepared Grammy is, in large part due to our lack of medical training. Beyond standard first-aid classes, none of us have a background in medicine or any medical-related field. (As a side note, if anyone is wondering what field would be the most valuable in a grid-down situation, I would put medical skills high on the list. Just sayin’.) So here are a few thoughts on medical preps from a non-medical person.
I urge people to pull together three things, which once again echo the “three-legged stool” analogy of preparedness (supplies, skills/ knowledge, community):
We have a fair bit of layman supplies, which includes things we’re likely to face on a farm or in a candlelit world. This includes the usual cadre of bandages, antibiotic ointments, burn treatments, etc. We have supplies of over-the-counter painkillers, as well as things for internal issues (bowel, urinary, menstrual, etc.). We also have Benadryl and sinus aids, spare reading glasses, toothbrushes, dental floss, etc. We have a pair of crutches (thrift store) and some immobilizing aids for broken bones (splints, etc.) (again, check thrift stores).
(Sorry for the wonky angle; I was trying to fit everything into the camera frame.)
We have a reasonably substantial supply of fishmox antibiotics (try this source). We’ve geared our purchases toward what we’re likely to experience, including Don’s extremely predictable annual sinus infections. A list of types of antibiotics and what they’re used for can be found here and here (there are other online sources; these are just the first two to catch my eye).
Additionally, we all got tetanus boosters last summer. This is really important, especially on a farm where sharp things are everywhere.
We have a fair smattering of medical reference books as well, including the classics for every prepper:
- Mayo Clinic Guide To Self-Care: Answers for Everyday Health Problems
- Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases
- Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-to-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies
- The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook
Medical skills and knowledge constitute our biggest gap in medical preparedness. We’re looking into attending a wilderness medical course. This would be pricey if we do it alone, but we might bring an instructor to our community to teach a course, with the costs shared among all attendees.
Sometimes it’s best to know our limitations. We don’t have the training to administer IV fluids, for example. This is something you really, really don’t want to mess up since it requires special training and equipment we don’t have (and can cause unspeakable harm if done incorrectly). Ergo, we don’t keep supplies for this.
We have some people in our area with more advanced medical training (EMT/paramedic), and the wilderness medical training would boost the skills and knowledge among the whole community. We’re also members of LifeFlight, very important if you’re an hour away from a hospital (though admittedly useless in a grid-down situation).
This is about all we’ve done as far as medical preps. One thing is worth pointing out: We live a fairly vigorous rural homesteading lifestyle, but it’s a lifestyle we would never have entered into (or continued doing) unless we were in good health. Although we’ve required medical care for a variety of issues over the years – who hasn’t? – we don’t have any special ongoing medical needs. Clearly this can change in a moment, but for the time being we’re doing okay.
For those with health issues, they will need to prepare as best they can within their abilities and requirements.
But here’s the thing: We can’t prepare for it all. Some things can only be treated in a hospital setting with modern medicine and skilled doctors. If we face a medical emergency when those options aren’t available, then our best medicine is found in John 3:16.