All the Bug Out First Aid You’ll Ever Need (Probably) – Page 2 – Readyman

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All the Bug Out First Aid You’ll Ever Need (Probably)

Posted on February 06 2019

There are four “Anti’s” that are essential for survival in a SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenario and all together, they weigh less than this blog article.


1. Antibiotics – Prior to modern times, infection killed millions in both war and peacetime.  Penicillin, the Mac Daddy of antibiotics, was discovered in 1928 but not purified until 1942. The Allies kept it a secret through World War Two.Penicillin has saved millions of lives in the last 70 years. Since its discovery, dozens of antibiotics have arisen. Until someone in government decides different, preppers can buy pet fish antibiotics that work the same as human antibiotics. Keep in mind, powder or liquid antibiotics have a limited shelf life. Antibiotics in pill form keep longer—much longer than their official expiration date. Still, smart preppers add new fish antibiotics to their stores every year. It’s expensive, but living without antibiotics could be very tragic in a collapse scenario. Even in your bug-out bag, you should carry a small assortment.


2. Anti-inflammatories – Based on willow bark tea, Aspirin was formally invented in 1899. Willow bark tea reduced inflammation and soreness among early peoples. The reduction of inflammation helps in a variety of ways, but for the sake of this discussion we focus on pain. Being able to freely labor would be essential in a world where the SHTF.In modern day, we employ non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve) acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) acetaminophen is not a true anti-inflammatory, but  does reduce pain and swelling. They belong in your bug-out first aid kit.


3. Antidiarrheals – Opioids have been used for centuries to fight diarrhea by causing constipation to reduce the effects of diarrhea. Unfortunately opioids are also highly addictive. They accounted for an extremely high level of addicts during and after the US civil war and today they’re nothing short of a modern epidemic. Still, more men in the Civil War died from dysentery than bullets.

Today we have safer treatments like Imodium and Pepto-Bismol. They work wonders relieving the harsh symptoms of diarrhea.  In a SHTF scenario, diarrhea would be a major killer due to tainted water, unclean cooking and spoiled food. Carry some Pepto or Imodium in your bug-out EFAK.


4. Antiseptics – Dr. Lister first used carbolic acid in 1867 to clean his surgical instruments and bandages.  Carbolic acid kept the smell down from sewage and thus became “anti-septic.” Dr. Lister believed in germ theory, which was not widely accepted until 1900.We now know that bleach, alcohol and many soaps and cleaners kill germs and viruses. At very least, carry some small packets of antiseptic wipes in your bug-out kit—or just plan to use the denatured alcohol for your mini stove.


Probably the biggest mistake you could make with your bug-out first aid kit is to carry too much. When you load your bug-out bag down with tons of options, you vastly increase the odds that you’ll need your first aid kit, likely to fix your blistered feet. Go light, but don’t forget these miracle cures. Modern medicine has handed us these ultra-light solutions. Let’s pack ‘em!


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  • Michael L Rhodes: February 11, 2019

    For most people items 2-4 should be the easiest to acquire and stockpile. As for antiseptics (#4) bleach does not have a sufficient self-life for long-term storage (~12mo). I recommend obtaining a bag of Pool-shock and reconstituting your own when the time comes.
    As for Antibiotics; I’d recommend covering my bases with at least 4 different types (in case of allergies). Amoxicillin (such as the Fish Mox in the article), but also Cephalexin, Doxycycline and a Sulfa based (SMZ-TMP). All are available at Vet Suppliers e.g. “” and others.

    Michael Rhodes, MD, FAAFP
    Instructor – Advanced Wilderness Medicine

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