Preparing for Medical Emergencies When There Is No Doctor

1When the SHTF, and it will, there will be enough things to worry about other than staying healthy.  Yet, even in good times we get sick and cut our hands.  A quick trip to your local physician and you are back on track.  So how should we prepare for when times are not so good and there is no doctor or emergency room?

It’s important to know what you’ll do in times of extreme emergency such as a collapse of society; this is where a disaster preparedness planning comes into play.

Medical Preparedness

I was having my annual physical done at my doctor’s office last month.  We always talk politics while he is examining me and this time was no different.  The topic of what one would do if the SHTF came up and I found out he was a prepper too.

We discussed what might happen if medical help was no longer available for the average person.  We both agreed that the average person would be ill prepared.  But he did give me some ideas on how to better plan for when there is no doctor.

When the SHTF and a medical situation does occur, things can go to absolute turmoil very quickly. During a medical situation, the focal point should be on the care of the injured individual.  A medical emergency may happen swiftly, without warning and can be serious enough to cause loss of life.   But most medical situations will arise that are not emergencies when they take place but could become one if not appropriately treated.


Understanding what to do when medical care is needed may not only diminish the pain the injured party suffers—but make the difference between life and death.

Plan for the Worst – Training

  • Learn First Aid – The Red Cross, the YMCA and many other community organizations offer lessons and instruction in basic first aid techniques. Many individuals have had the advantage of learning first aid in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or perhaps even in the military. By learning first aid, you’ll know valuable basics such as how to care for someone, how to stop bleeding and knowing how to treat infections
  • Learn CPR –   Experts now say that CPR—even inadequately done—is better than no CPR at all. Many folks shy away from learning CPR because mouth-to-mouth resuscitation makes them uncomfortable. Lately, it was reported that CPR without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is adequate. What are most significant are the multiple chest compressions.
  • Talk about medical plans with your family – At the next dinner with the family, discuss what should occur if someone needs medical attention.  Who in the group could insert sutures if needed?  If you have children in the group, they should be told it’s ok to be afraid and to discuss their uncertainties. Keep in mind that the more you talk about what may occur and how to help in a medical situation, the less terrifying it can be.

Medical Supplies

Keep a well-stocked supply of medical supplies in a secure accessible place in your bug-out bag or retreat.  Regularly check the contents of your kit. Throw away and replace any expired medicines. Prepare a complete, personalized action plan that fits with your family’s circumstances.

We have thought out the possible scenarios from everything from sickness to bleeding wounds.  Here is what we keep on hand.

Flesh Wounds – used to treat lacerations

  • Needle holder hemostat (used for suturing)
  • 5″ curved hemostat
  • Topical Lidocaine 5% – must get a doctor to write prescription for this
  • Bottle of whiskey – will make those sutures hurt less
  • 5.0 Black nylon STERILE sutures (used for fine external skin and mouth cuts) with attached needle
  • 3-0 Black nylon STERILE sutures (used for external muscle skin areas) with attached needle
  • Scalpel handle
  • Sterile scalpel blade
  • Surgical probe
  • Operating scissors
  • Suture lip scissors 5″
  • Pointed forceps10
  • Non-Suture wound closure strips – Butterfly strips
  • Assorted Band-Aids
  • Surgical tape
  • Topical antibiotics
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Alcohol
  • Super glue – yes, the same stuff used in hospitals to glue a wound closed – it does work!

OTC Medicines

  • Imodium AD – to treat simple diarrhea
  • Ibuprofen
  • Rolaids – upset stomach


But one issue I see and read a lot of preppers talk about is prescription medicines and the lack of availability when it comes to antibiotics; most doctors will not write a prescription for a bug-out scenario.  And one question in particular, whether it is safe to use animal antibiotics. Other questions normally revolve around,

  • “Where can I find prescription-quality medicines?”
  •  “What medicines should I store?”

When I first started to research this, I came across many people online that had been using animal medicines for years, they work.  And it’s not a big top secret that veterinary antibiotics do not involve a prescription.  Vet drugs such as Fish-MOX unmistakably assert on the label, “For Aquarium and Fish Use Only.”  But can they really only be used for fish?  What makes these medicines any different than what my pharmacist provides me from his drug store?

Yes, using animal drugs may sound more unsafe than buying drugs on a Las Vegas street corner, but I assure you, I have found that it is not. Animal pharmaceuticals are often produced in the same manufacturing factories as human pharmaceuticals and will contain the identical ingredients.  They are the same color, shape, and bear the same identification markings as those sold as human drugs; in fact they are the same.

So what does this all of this mean to you?  In general, it translates into assuring you that if you find an animal drug that is labeled, “UPS Pharmaceutical grade Amoxicillin,” it is the identical same pharmaceutical grade Amoxicillin that your doctor would prescribe you.

There are a number of sources for these antibiotics, but a small number of them genuinely stand out as quality, mainstream suppliers.

Now based upon my discussion with my family doctor, even he was unaware of the veterinary medicine compatibility; we came up with a list of antibiotics to have on hand.  He gave me his list; I’ve added the animal name given to it.

Penicillin – 500 mg, (Fish Pen Forte)

Penicillin by mouth (rather than injections) should be used for mild and moderately severe infections, including:

  • abscessed or infected teeth
  • erysipelas
  • ear infections
  • sinusitis
  • sore throat with sudden, high fever (strep throat)
  • some cases of bronchitis
  • rheumatic fever
  • pneumonia

Amoxicillin (Aquarium version: FISH-MOX, FISH-MOX FORTE, AQUA-MOX): comes in 250mg and 500mg doses, Amoxicillin is the most popular antibiotic prescribed to children.  More versatile and better absorbed than the older Penicillin’s, Amoxicillin may be used for the following diseases:

  • Anthrax (Prevention or treatment of Cutaneous transmission)
  • Chlamydia Infection (sexually transmitted)
  • Urinary Tract Infection (bladder/kidney infections)
  • Helicobacter pylori Infection (causes peptic ulcer)
  • Lyme Disease (transmitted by ticks)
  • Otitis Media (middle ear infection)
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Sinusitis
  • Skin or Soft Tissue Infection (cellulitis, boils)
  • Actinomycosis (causes abscesses in humans and livestock)
  • Bronchitis
  • Tonsillitis/Pharyngitis (Strep throat)

Cephalexin 250mg and 500mg (FISH-FLEX, FISH-FLEX FORTE) is used to treat infections caused by bacteria, including

  • upper respiratory infections,
  • ear infections,
  • skin infections, and
  • urinary tract infections.

The above information should not be taken as direct medical or legal advice.  Please do your own research before following any of these guidelines.

Be safe, keep prepping.

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