The next question in our list of basic survival questions involves more medication:
4. How much emergency medical supplies (sic) do I have? Do I have enough for every family member?
Despite this question’s superficial similarity to the previous, it is distinct. In question number three, we were discussing “essential medication,” which I read as medication for long-term or permanent conditions. This one is about “emergency medical supplies,” or the things necessary when someone breaks a bone, or gets a laceration or burn, or the like. A first aid kit, in layman’s terms.
There is a lot written out there on first-aid kits; I won’t go particularly in-depth into it, except to provide a few of my own take-away points. First, it’s better to have a commercially-bought one than not to have anything. Any preparation is better than no preparation, after all. Second, it’s probably better yet to piece your own together in most cases than to just use a purchased one. The commercial ones I’ve seen have woefully few of the more “day-to-day” things like band-aids and Neosporin/Bacitracin. Would they work as part of a Get-Home Bag or EDC/Car kit? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t want to have to rely on one for long-term if TSHTF.
Something to keep in mind when/if you decide to “build your own” kit are OTC medication: cough drops, aspirin, antacids, and the like. Many people–particularly the especially paranoid–will include antibiotics in the list; my rant on those will be lower down in this column. These, as in Question Three, are a bit stickier of a subject, although not for the same reasons as before. No, for OTC meds, the issue is viability over the long term. You should really treat these meds as you would your “food stash,” and use them in a first-in first-out fashion, replenishing them as needed. I remain convinced that the expiration dates on, for example, bottles of aspirin, are much shorter than the actual viability of the medication; for this, though, I recommend more research. Also, as ever, when assembling your supply, take your personal situation into account. Does a family member suffer from frequent headaches/migraines? Heartburn/acid reflux? Indigestion? You may want to have a larger supply of medication for one or another of those than I would, for example.
Now, about antibiotics. There are a couple of points that absolutely cannot be put out in the public domain enough. First, antibiotics will do nothing to help a cold. They’re for treating bacterial infections; most “common” illnesses (cold, flu) are viral. Second, taking antibiotics unnecessarily is harmful in the long-run. Not directly to you, although antibiotics are toxins; but because you’re placing selective pressure on all of the other bacteria in your body, breeding them for resistance to the antibiotic. As long as those bugs are where they’re supposed to be, everything’s fine. But one mishap, and you’ve got a problem with no cure. This is becoming a real issue in the real world; India is in the early stages of what could well become a new TB epidemic, with no way to treat anyone. We’ve already got extremely resistant staph and a few others; profligate misuse of antibiotics really has to stop. I’ve worked in the bio-weapons field, and have seen enough to get really ticked when I see folks constantly taking “prophylactic Cipro,” or mixing up their homemade herbal teas with certain things added “because it has antibiotic properties.” If you keep throwing this stuff around like that, it won’t keep having those properties. The bugs will “figure out” a way around them. Antibiotics work best when you’re: A) about to come in contact with bacterial agents, and B) recently infected with bacterial agents. We (humanity) need to stop treating them otherwise.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Have a marvelous Friday the 13th, everyone!