Preparing for Medical Emergencies When There Is No Doctor

July 27, 2012

First Aid, Frontier Medicine

taking care of yourself after TEOTWAWKI

The following article has been contributed by a fellow prepper named Mike. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of

When 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

  • Educate YourselfDownload and read the attached guide, When there is No Doctor.  This valuable document was developed and written many years ago for use in third world countries where medical help was not available.  It’s use in a SHTF situation will be priceless
  • 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.

My first recommendation would be Cal-Vet Supply. That’s where I bought mine.

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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24 Comments on “Preparing for Medical Emergencies When There Is No Doctor”

  1. millenniumfly Says:

    This is a tough and scary subject for most people, me included. In addition, readers might be interested in a variety of medical and health guides that may prove useful in hard times. You’ll find information an assortment of medical guides, first aid, advanced care guides, alternative therapies, and more. All the information is freely available and ready to download.


  2. Gil Says:

    On antibiotics, considering that they’ve likely saved more lives than any other type of drug in history, a general understanding of the types of bacteria and how antibiotics work ranks as one of the top skills to have for a SHTF medic imo. Improper antibiotic selection is likely to have no activity against the bacteria you’re trying to treat, and may just make things worse for the patient overall. Unless you’re treating something you’ve had before, with the same antibiotic your Doctor prescribed before, the odds of selecting the correct one on a guess is unlikely.

    Why your Doctor suggested those three antibiotics (and all from the same class) probably has more to do with your specific medical history than because it’s a good list for the population in general. It’s certainly not a list designed to get the widest spectrum of activity from the available ‘fish’ antibiotics. There are also other distibutors of USP grade aquarium antibiotics that have a greater selection than the “Fish-” brands marketed by Thomas Labs. One distributer offers all the Thomas Labs varieties, plus generic Augmentin and Zithromax, where Thomas Labs doesn’t even carry a macrolide in tablet form any longer. Not that there’s anything wrong with Thomas Labs, you just may not want to rely on their products solely if you’re looking to get the broadest antibiotic coverage.

    Stocking antibiotics without some knowledge of their use isn’t likely to be of as much benefit as people may think. Better to do some studying first, then obtain the antibiotics best suited for your family and what you plan to treat. They aren’t a magic bullet.


    • Joe Says:

      Thanks for bringing that up, Gil. I think everyone would agree that it’s prudent (before or after TEOTWAWKI) to know more about the medications that are prescribed and their uses.

      It’s too common that we relegate our healthcare (and other areas of our lives) to others. It’s good to seek wise counsel, but in the end it’s our bodies and our decisions for maintaining it. Do some research and know your options.



  3. WLK Says:

    Thank you for an excellant article!


  4. Cody Yerly Says:

    Ear infections do occur from time to time. You can use some home remedies that includes herbal anti-microbials as wells as over the counter antibiotics. Xylitol is also great agains ear infection. :,`”:



  5. karen Says:

    In regards to the anti-biotics/medicine – a lot of people don’t know about the plant “essential oils” (bear with me here) – this could be a big/long discussion – but I will be as brief as possible – because first of all you have to make sure that you get “good” ones (not the ones at the retail store which are diluted) & second you have to know how to use them…
    So, here is my quick explanation – My preference is the “Forever Green” oils – they are all organic/wildcrafted (so no herbicides/pesticides/fillers/generic chemicals etc.) – each batch is tested (not just occasionally tested) – & they also have labels on each one to show you the batch/lot# & date etc…. It’s great stuff!
    Next… when people think of essential oils – they usually just roll their eyes & automatically think of “aromatherapy”, where – “if you just smell it – then you’re cured” – well, it’s MUCH, MUCH more than that (although you can smell them if you want) – these oils can also be applied topically on your skin/wounds etc. or ingested/swallowed as well (so it helps externally as well as internally on/in your body)…
    – Just think of plant “essential oils” this way… plants are a living entity – they have to combat bacteria/fungi/viruses found in the earth (through their roots etc.) – just like we do – they have their own “defense mechanism” that protects them… & just like humans – not every plant is going to be exactly the same. With that in mind – let’s talk about anti-biotics – where those drugs only have a few components/ingredients in them that actually make it “anti-biotic” – plants on the other hand, have literally hundreds of components/ingredients that make them anti-bacterial as well as anti-viral as well as anti-fungal etc….
    We now have “superbugs” such as MRSA & other “flesh eating” diseases where our modern anti-biotics don’t work very well on any more – because these “bad” bacteria can figure out these same man-made anti-biotic ingredients coming out of the labs year after year… whereas, these “superbugs” can never figure out how to defeat the plant oils because each plant batch is never the exact same. These oils also are very beneficial to the body because they are “natural” & the body recognizes it & there’s no side effects & they don’t attack the “good” bacteria living in your gut – only attacks the bad bacteria…
    I hope this all makes a little bit of sense – I could go on –
    Just know that these are a good – no – GREAT option in putting in your medical kit.
    Yes, there have been multiple studies done on these oils in regards to them really being anti-bacterial, viral etc….. you can look those up!
    Please look into this! God made plants that have healed us for thousands of years before aspirin & anti-biotics came around & that are already failing!


    • Open your eyes Says:

      Karen, would you be willing to refer me to helpful reading material to educate me further in this subject? A little voice in my head has recently started to whisper “prepare”. I choose to listen up & in this, I find myself realizing the need to research further into how to survive by living completely from the land & what the earth has to offer. I will need to make preparations for myself & my children. I need to make myself knowledgeable of what the earth offers to cure sickness, disease & provide general survival as far as eatable plants, berries & flowers that may occur in nature.


      • karen Says:

        I’m kind of learning about all this myself – been involved with the essential oils since Jan. 2012… I’m not that knowledgeable about the edible plants – but I’ve recently been acquiring books on “Edible wild plants” because that is a subject I’d like to learn more about myself…
        As far as the essential Oils go – things to look for are ones that say “Organic” or “wild-crafted” (which means it grown in the “wild” untouched by man – a lot of times that is even better than “organic). I have ordered oils from different companies – but, my favorite one like I mentioned in my comment is “Forever Green”.
        Here is the website:
        I’ve contacted a lady in the company who has more knowledge/years of experience on this subject to write an article for “preppingtosurvive” so that should be coming out shortly.
        Briefly – here are some of my favorite oils that are good to have on hand… Lemon, Frankincense, Tea Tree (Melaleuca), Lavender ( & Oregano, Cinnamon, CLove – be careful with these 3 oils – they are considered “hot” oils & can burn) – you’ll always have to dilute those with another “carrier” oil – like Coconut oil or grapeseed or Jojoba oil). But all these oils (& most other oils) have been tested & proven to be anti-bacterial, & anti-viral as well as anti-fungal.
        You can check out this website for the testing done… – & also,
        Let me know if I can help answer any other questions,,,
        Thank you,


        • Open your eyes Says:

          Thanks so much for your reply, Karen. When the article comes out please post a link, I would love to read it.
          I’m familiar with a few of those oils. I’ve used Tea Tree, Coconut & Lavender Oils for a year or so now & love the benefits that each have! I’ll look into the benefits of the other oils you mentioned. If you run upon any great books that you consider a “must have” please, let me know. I’ll check out the links you’ve shared & see what Forever Green has to offer. I appreciate the sharing of knowledge, thanks so much Karen.


  6. ERdoc Says:

    I’m an Emergency Physician and find a few issues with this article. The first is that you probably don’t need a full suture kit as described. In fact the truth is that we suture wounds mainly for comesis and speed of healing but you can get a way with no suture at all. You just need to clean the area and keep it clean with sterile dressing. So all you need is sterile water and sterile gauze.

    Re skin glue – technically not super glue but super glue will work. Just make sure you don’t get it in the wound. Or your eyes!

    Finally, re antibiotics. You would need a much broader arsenal of drugs than described in the article. Penicillin, amoxicillin, and Keller essentially treat the same bugs. You need Bactria and/or clindamycin for mrsa. Also clinda for oral infections. A fluorquinolone like levofloxacin or ciprofloxacin would be good. Esp levofloxacin for pneumonia. Azithromycin is another drug that would be helpful for sinusitis and bronchitis, although these are usually viral. Doxycycline would also help with MRSA, pneumonia and Lyme disease. After that you would need iv drugs and would be unlikely to survive by that point without advanced medical care.


  7. Staci Boise Says:

    Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria. Normally, your skin helps protect you from infection. But if you have a cut, sore, or insect bite, bacteria can get into the skin and spread to deeper tissues. If it is not treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread to the blood or lymph nodes. This can be deadly.,

    Our internet site


  8. Jackson Hartkopf Says:

    Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum.;

    Most up-to-date content on our blog site


  9. Dr. Ralph La Guardia Says:

    I believe the writers intentions were noble , however it is woefully short and incomplete. I recently published my book , The Doomsday Book of Medicine . It is the most complete medical self treatment book for preppers , and is encyclopedic at over 900 pages. In it I teach preppers how to treat almost any medical emergency that may arise. Each problem is provided with a host of ways to treat , all with over the counter and natural remedies. I am a lifelong prepper and have spent the last thirty years researching this book . I teach you how to make your own survival medicine chest . How to make your own wound dressings, insecticide, soap, toothpaste and sunblock . The full table of contents is available at . It is also available on Amazon and B and nobles.


  10. Rob in Kentucky Says:

    Garlic, Lemon and Honey are three powerful ingredients from nature. All of them have strong anti-microbial properties and are great as a home remedy for fighting ling infections, colds and the flu.

    This tonic is very popular in Russian and German Herbal Medicine. The combination of these ingredients are extremely powerful. This solution has it’s roots in ancient Egyptian medicine.

    Daily Single Batch Mason Jar Method


    – 1/2 lemon
    – 3 cloves of garlic
    – 1-2 tablespoon honey
    – 2 cups of hot water


    Peel the garlic and mince them and place them into a 1 quart mason jar (they will need to set exposed the the air for 20 minutes. While you are waiting for the garlic. Meanwhile, put on a pot of water and let the water boil. Wash a lemon. Once the 20 minutes has past, pour the water over the mixture and steep like a tea. Next, make sure the water is cool. Use a kitchen strainer to filter out the pulp.

    Add honey and lemon juice to garlic tea and stir til uniformed. Keep it in the fridge.

    How to use: It is recommended to pour the elixir into a cup with straw and sip through out the day. You will get use to the taste. Make a fresh batch of this elixir as needed.

    Note: If you want to increase the potency add ¼ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (according to tolerance) to your cup, stir and sip slowly.



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