Prepping would be easy if you really understood what it is you are preparing for. The best we can do is calculate our personal risk and prepare for those events which are most likely to personally effect us. Disasters can bring with them all kinds of disruptions to our “normal” lifestyle. Medical care, supplies, and medications may suddenly be in short supply. Compound this problem with large numbers of injuries or contagious illnesses and you may suddenly find yourself at the mercy of your personal knowledge, education and supplies.
Antibiotics can make the difference between life and death with wound infections, pneumonia, or other treatable infections. It may be wise to consider stocking a few for an emergency. Prescription medications, including antibiotics, should only be taken under the direction of a qualified medical provider. We suggest you consult your family doctor and explain your concern. If you have developed a relationship of trust, he or she might be willing to provide you with a prescription that is the correct dosage for each member of your family. Make sure to inform your doctor of any reactions you have had to antibiotics in the past.
Cynthia J. Koelker, MD, author of Armageddon Medicine, shares her opinion about which antibiotics to stockpile in Seven Antibiotics to Stockpile. Her top three choices would include Cephalexin, Ciprofloxacin and Metronidazole which could have the ability to treat 90 percent of conditions most physicians prescribe antibiotics for.
In another article, Best Antibiotic Doses to Stockpile, she reviews the most common dosages and least expensive ways to purchase them.
How do you rotate antibiotics so that they will be effective when you need them the most? A fresh stock is always the best choice, but that may not be possible. Dr. Koelker wrote a series of articles addressing the use of expired medications. She stated:
“The Medical Letter concludes, “Many drugs stored under reasonable conditions retain 90% of their potency for at least 5 years after the expiration date on the label, and sometimes much longer.” They also mention that there has only been one reported case of dangerous degradation of expired medication, and that was of a type of tetracycline product that is no longer in human use. [JWR Adds: As previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog, the issue with tetracycline tablets of that vintage was a degradation of the tablet binder, and that binder is no longer in use.] (I do not know if veterinary antibiotics might use the old preparation, however.) Overall then, the concern is not regarding safety, but rather effectiveness.
… In the case of antibiotics, a 10-25% loss of potency over time may make little difference in treatment, and could be made up for by higher dosing in serious infections …To sum it all up, the good news is that most tablets and capsules are very likely safe and quite likely effective for several years beyond the printed expiration date. Using expired medications may suffice for a decade beyond the end of the world as we know it . . . (but what then?)”
Read these articles by Cynthia J. Koelker, MD in their entirety:
- Using Expired Medications — Part 1
- Expired Medications Are They Safe? Are They Effective? — Part 2
- Expired Medications Part 3 — General Principles
We highly recommend purchasing antibiotics from quality sources, such as a local pharmacy with a prescription from your personal physician. Only in the event of an emergency, without the availability of competent medical care, should you self-medicate.