Our series on preparedness continues. We have looked at records, did an extensive (and ongoing) examination of power, and now we move on to medicine. When people think of medicine, they think of the sexy parts: usually trauma. Yeah, using a ballpoint pen and a pocketknife to open an airway in someone’s throat makes for great television, but isn’t really something you are going to have to do.

Trauma is a surgical emergency. The only thing I can recommend with trauma, beyond first aid is stabilize the injury and get the victim to a location that is equipped and able to perform the necessary surgery. If things have gotten to the point where that isn’t possible, the victim probably isn’t going to make it. To stabilize the patient, it helps to have a decent first aid kit like this one. Here are the basics of how to treat a gunshot wound from a talk I gave at the 2021 Florida Blogshoot. There are all sorts of people that will tell you to carry IV equipment, BVMs, and all of that, but frankly, you don’t need that stuff. There are plenty of studies that bear that out.

I have seen medical bloggers insist that you need to stock a room full of sterile, disposable dressings. Hogwash. All you need to do is cut up some old sheets, put them in a pot of boiling water for ten minutes, wring them out with hands freshly washed in clean, potable water, then dry them in the clothes dryer. Now you have clean bandages.

No, the important medicine that you need are the less sexy parts of the medical profession. The most important thing that you can have from a medical standpoint is knowledge. Start with a first aid and CPR course, something like First Responder or EMT. You can get an EMT certification in as little as two months for the cost of a single handgun. The more you know, the more you know, and one thing that you learn may be the difference between saving a life and not.

What medicines do we need? First, recognize that the biggest killers of people in a SHTF scenario will be contaminated food/water, and sepsis. Having things on hand to deal with those things will go a long way. So here we are with a list of medicines:

  • Iodine (Betadine will do)- wound disinfectant
  • Soap- cleanliness prevents infection
  • Rubbing alcohol- disinfectant
  • Vinegar- it can be used as a disinfectant
  • Loperamide (Immodium)- diarrhea is a huge killer, as it can cause severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances
  • ondansetron (which is a prescription drug) and meclizine (over the counter) to prevent vomiting. They are dangerous for the same reasons that diarrhea is.
  • Acetaminophen (for fevers)
  • Ibuprofen (for inflammation)
  • hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (for parasitic infections)
  • if possible, grow an aloe plant. Aloe is useful for burns and as a powerful laxative. If you can’t have an aloe plant, you need some burn ointments and a laxative.
  • hydrocortisone cream for inflammatory rashes
  • diphenhydramine, both pills and ointment
  • triple antibiotic cream
  • the following five broad spectrum antibiotics: augmentin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, metronidazole, azithromicin
  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Aspirin
  • Famitodine
  • Clotrimazole cream

Those will handle most of what you will need in a SHTF situation.

If you want to read more in my preparedness series, click here for the complete library of posts on the subject. You can also refer to the training materials page.