Wednesday, June 9, 2021

"Emergency Antibiotic Stash Saved My Ass"


That's the title of an article at "Come and Make It", a blog from the Philippines.  The author is writing from a Third World country, with Third World medical systems, but his experience is entirely valid for us in America as well - particularly with long wait times for appointments to see regular practitioners, or expensive visits to a "doc-in-a-box", or trying to get help in emergency rooms that are frequently overstressed, understaffed, and battling to cope.

I've written before about the value of an emergency stash of first aid supplies, medications and antibiotics.  The author of this article has just confirmed that.

A small scrape on my leg turned infected.  Likely because I was just so so run down.

Saturday night was high fever, nausea, sweats, the whole thing.  But the thing is, the skin infected scrape is small, and did not really hurt much.

By Sunday morning I was in really really bad shape.  Initially thinking COVID or stomach virus.  However not going to go to doc for that circus unless absolutely sure it was the Wuhan Flu and something felt like it was a infection, not viral.  There is somehow a different feeling between the two.  At least to my perception.  Plus no respiratory symptoms.

So I put some antibiotic on the wound and felt a little better.

I took some antibiotic tabs from the vet store emergency supply and felt even better.

So I suffered but less Sunday night.   However was sweating so much I think I need a new mattress.

Monday I was able to get a appointment to the dermatologist, and lo and behold, culprit was the skin infection.

However I do not think I would be here today if I did not have those antibiotics to take before I could get into a doctor.  It was that bad and that sudden.  Saturday I was actually wondering if I was going to wake up the next morning.

There's more at the link.

One shouldn't take antibiotics as if they were pep pills, of course:  but in a medical emergency, if one can't get to a doctor easily (or affordably), it really helps to have some available.  One can read up about common treatments for various infections or diseases, and get hold of a course or two of antibiotics to treat the most likely risks.  If a drug is prescribed and there are some left over, don't throw them away - hang on to them, and store them in a cool, dry place in case of future need.  Even a couple of days' supply might tide you over until you can get more, or get to a doctor.

One can also buy them over the counter from suppliers of animal antibiotics, provided the product is manufactured to human pharmaceutical grade (as many are - they often come off the same production lines as human antibiotics).  My emergency stash came from a supplier of antibiotics for fish and bird fanciers, and it's seen me through a couple of nasty situations (including COVID-19).

The article is useful confirmation that emergency preparations should not be confined only to basics like food and fuel.  That goes double if you live in an area or a country without easy and/or affordable access to health care.



Aesop said...

If you're going to prepare that way (and if your IQ is over 100, you should), you'd better by God know what antibiotic to take for what infection, how strong, how frequently, and have MULTIPLE FULL COURSES of same.

The Pill Book,
Alton's Antibiotics and Infectious Diseases, and the Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopeia,
at a minimum, and always the most current editions, should be on your bookshelf, and you need to know that stuff better than your doctor.

Know when antibiotics are a waste of time (viral infections), and which ones are 1st choice, 2d choice, 3rd choice, and NEVER choice. The only thing worse than using a scarce resource is wasting a scarce resource because you were stupid.

You'd also better know your allergies, know what an allergic reaction looks like, and be able to cope with mild to moderate allergic reactions, multiple times, or you're gonna kill yourself or someone important to you because you're too stupid to play with this stuff.

Life's hard setting is ZFG.

If you aren't going to do this right, don't do it at all.

millerized said...

Allivet is my source, and freezer storage if you can swing it will keep them for years.
As above with how and when to use them, you should also know storage life, what can/can't be kept at the end of its useful life, what will kill you if you try.

boron said...

Somehow I'm just reminded o the fella with a bad headache; he felt that by playing Russian roulette with his .45, he might just be able to alleviate the pain:
which is not to say that I don't keep a very large pharmacy-style jar of Pen VK 500 in the fridge for just such emergencies, but there are a lot of gram-negatives and anaerobes (not even mentioning fungi and some other microscopic little goodies) out there that just won't respond to Pen.
I also keep a fresh bottle of peroxide (3%) to wash all skin wounds and another bottle of Betadine to drip on it when that dries.
I am not a physician. This is not (repeat, not) advice; just something I've been doing for/to myself for years.

Eric Wilner said...

It's also useful to have a stash of emergency meds for actual pets with known health issues, just in case there's a crisis when the vet's office isn't open.
(The local vet here is prepared to treat, e.g., serious blood clots in cats in a timely manner, but only during business hours. The big shiny 24/7 emergency vet clinics won't treat that problem, but will happily waste time and money running lots of tests until it's much too late for treatment to be effective.)

Doug Cranmer said...

I'm older and work at a desk but with Covid early last year contracts disappeared until people figured out what was going on. With no work I started an early morning stoking job at a local big box store for income and to keep busy.

It had been years since I had done steady manual type labour that required work boots. Not heavy lifting but still lots of lifting with constant moving, twisting, etc. for a few hours a day. It was good for me but it was new.

Oh joy. Blisters on my feet from my new boots. No big deal. I grew up on a farm so put a patch on them and forget them.

Except the one little one that got infected. One day and my foot is swollen and red and I can't walk on it.

It was no big deal with some antibiotic pills and a few daily sessions of an IV antibiotic drip.

But it really hit home. It was not a large blister at all but I didn't clean it properly and it got infected and if this were a SHTF situation I would have probably lost my leg at best and far more likely died from it. Within a week. Just like it used to be.

Another item on my list to take care of.

Don RN said...

From his symptoms, sounds like the localized infection had turned into systemic sepsis ... which is a killer.

Old NFO said...

Concur with Aesop. And a Physician's Desk Reference is a handy (but expensive) one to have on hand too.

Nick Flandrey said...

I think they're worth having even if you don't have the skill to self prescribe because there are a whole lot of scenarios where you can "phone a friend" ie-telemedicine and get a professional opinion/diagnosis/recommended course of treatment that would be completely useless if you didn't have the meds available.

A really bad hurricane might put Houston in a true grid down situation for a week, but my sat phone still works. For that matter, my HF radio likely works too. Sailors are often in this situation, and can get help remotely. During Katrina there were people in NOLA that had contact with the rest of the world, but no access to anything locally.

Like a lot of preps, better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. And it gives you options besides "watch them die."