Stockpiling medication for a future disaster or a collapse of society is straightforward when it comes to non-prescription medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen etc. They are cheap to buy and readily available. However, it is not so simple to acquire and stockpile prescription medications such as common antibiotics which are required to treat infections.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I have simply done my own research online to a level which satisfies my own needs. Please do your own research and cross check everything you read here. Also please use antibiotics responsibly and only when absolutely required. It is entirely 100% your responsibility to do your own research! Overuse of antibiotics can cause its own problems, due to bugs becoming resistant to them.
To have a stockpile of antibiotics in a long-term survival situation or a collapse of society would be useful if not vital. Infection will be a big problem in these kinds of situation; for example – take away our power, water, sanitation and groceries; replace with – fires, camp stoves, survival food and untreated water. On top of this, give us knives, axes and guns (which we are largely unaccustomed to using) to chop wood, hunt and defend ourselves and it is easy to see the need to have access to antibiotics. Lot of cuts and stomach bugs…
Therefore, it’s important to accumulate antibiotics. Acquiring antibiotics from a physician is difficult but an alternative is the availability of aquatic and avian antibiotics that can be used in times of trouble. The classic examples are Fish-Mox (Amoxicillin 250mg) and Fish-Mox Forte (Amoxicillin 500mg). Some of you may have purchased some for your medical supplies, but do you know when and how to use this medication?
Amoxicillin (veterinary equivalent: FISH-MOX, FISH-MOX FORTE, AQUA-MOX): comes in 250mg and 500mg doses, usually taken 3 times a day. Amoxicillin is the most popular antibiotic prescribed to children, usually in liquid form. It is more versatile and better absorbed and tolerated than the older Pencillins, and is acceptable for use during pregnancy.
Ampicillin (Fish-Cillin) and Cephalexin (Fish-Flex) are related drugs. 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)
- Skin or Soft Tissue Infection (cellulitis, boils)
- Actinomycosis (causes abscesses in humans and livestock)
- Tonsillitis/Pharyngitis (Strep throat)
You can see that Amoxicillin is a versatile drug. It is even safe for use during pregnancy. How do you determine what dose and frequency would be appropriate for which individual? Let’s take an example: Otitis media is a common ear infection often seen in children. Amoxicillin is often the “drug of choice” for this condition. That is, it is recommended to be used FIRST when you make a diagnosis of otitis media. Before administering this medication, however, you would want to determine that your patient is not allergic to Amoxicillin. The most common form of allergy would appear as a rash, but diarrhea, itchiness, and even respiratory difficulty could also manifest. If you see any of these symptoms, you should discontinue your treatment and look for other options. Antibiotics such as Azithromycin or Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (Bird-Sulfa) could be a “second-line” solution in this case.
Once you have identified Amoxicillin as your treatment of choice to treat your patient’s ear infection, you will want to determine the dosage. As Otitis Media often occurs in children, you might have to break a tablet in half or open the capsule to separate out a portion that would be appropriate. For Amoxicillin, you would give 20-50mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight (20-30mg/kg for infants less than four months old). This would be useful if you have to give the drug to a toddler less than 30 pounds.
A common older child’s dosage would be 250mg and a common maximum dosage for adults would be 500 mg three times a day. Luckily (or by design), these dosages are exactly how the commercially-made aquatic medications come in the bottle. Take this dosage orally 3 times a day for 10 to 14 days (twice a day for infants). All of the above information can be found in the Physician’s Desk Reference.
If your child is too small to swallow a pill whole, you could make a mixture with water (called a “suspension”). To make a liquid suspension, crush a tablet or empty a capsule into a small glass of water and drink it; then, fill the glass again and drink that (particles may adhere to the walls of the glass). You can add some flavoring to make it taste better.
Do not chew or make a liquid out of time-released capsules of any medication; you will wind up losing some of the gradual release effect and perhaps get too much into your system at once. These medications should be plainly marked “Time-Released”.
You will probably see improvement within 3 days, but don’t be tempted to stop the antibiotic therapy until you’re done with the entire 10-14 days. Sometimes, you’ll kill most of the bacteria but some colonies may persist and multiply if you prematurely end the treatment. This is often cited as a cause of antibiotic resistance. In a long-term survival situation, however, you might be down to your last few pills and have to make some tough decisions.
Don’t use veterinary equivalents (except on your fish) in normal times. Consult your physician or other healthcare provider. Overuse of antibiotics is one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance today.
The question is – how do you acquire/stockpile prescription antibiotics in case of emergency? Well you could rob a pharmacy, or try and convince your doctor it is a good idea to give you a large amount of common antibiotics to stockpile (good luck with that one!), OR you could just go down to your local pet store…
Believe it or not, many of the common antibiotics we are prescribed are also used to keep fish healthy in aquariums. Sceptical? I bet you are, but it is true! Most of the antibiotic medicines used to treat bacteria in aquariums contain just the one ingredient – the active antibiotic, and in many cases this is exactly the same antibiotic used for humans, nothing more, nothing less. The other strange thing is these aquarium antibiotics come in the same common dosages which are used on humans. To me that seems very strange.
I have checked several sources, some of which were created by medical doctors and below is a list of aquarium branded medicines which contain commonly prescribed human antibiotics:
- FISH-MOX which is Amoxicillin 250mg
- FISH-MOX FORTE which is Amoxicillin 500mg
- FISH-FLEX which is Keflex 250mg
- FISH-FLEX FORTE which is Keflex 500mg
- FISH-ZOLE which is Metronidazole 250mg
- FISH-ZOLE FORTE which is Metronidazole 500mg
- FISH-PEN FORTE which is Penicillin 500mg
All of the antibiotics above require a prescription from a doctor and usually a doctor will only prescribe a single course of treatment to cure your illness. However, they can all be brought in large quantities from pet stores without prescription. This means you can stockpile these common antibiotics, something which would normally be impossible to achieve.
The bottom line is – we should probably not start going to the pet store when we have a sore throat as it is clearly more sensible to get a diagnosis and treatment from a doctor. I think the thing to bear in mind is that in the future, if things go wrong, we will have to improvise many things and many things may be less than ideal. We may be reluctant to take aquarium branded antibiotics today, but having access to the in the future could save our lives.
You are the best judge of what is right for you and your family, so I’ll leave it to you to decide on this one. Knowledge weighs nothing, but you decide what to do with it!