Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before using any of the herbs and/or remedies mentioned in this article.
Preparing for a post-antibiotic world is one of the wisest things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. Unfortunately, the window to do so has narrowed substantially. Some scientists and health experts believe the post-antibiotic era has already arrived.
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When self-reliance minded folks feel concerned about the impact that a post-antibiotic world would have on their lives, two distinctly separate problems are being pondered:
- A long-term SHTF event that removes access to modern antibiotics.
- A world where overexposure to antibiotics and an increasing number of pathogens have caused historically successful drugs to have little or no impact on an illness or disease.
Both potential or evolving scenarios would be equally deadly.
Modern Antibiotics Failing
For at least a decade, scientists and doctors have warned governments around the world that an increasing number of resistant pathogens are pushing our world ever closer to a post-antibiotic era.
The overuse of traditionally effective antibiotics along with a lack of new development of drugs to combat new pathogens have left even the most advanced healthcare systems in developed countries struggling to defeat mounting and expanding antimicrobial resistance in patients, as a report by Modern Healthcare notes.
Colistin is one such drug that brings the dire state of antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance into clear view. Colistin was once the “go-to” drug of last resort to use when more conventional and less potent antibiotics failed to work. A type of gene recently found in salmonella bacteria has proven to be resistant to Colistin, leaving doctors with no treatment option for patients suffering from this specific variety of salmonella.
A report released by the United Nations last year indicated that without substantial action to combat antibiotic resistance along with the creation of new medicines, untreated disease will cause 10 million deaths around the globe in the next three decades. In excess of two million of those deaths are predicted to occur in First World nations like the United States.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report from seven years ago warned that a minimum of 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year. A total of 23,000 of those patients die as a result of their exposure to the pathogen.
The number of antibiotic-resistant pathogens and people who can find no treatment for their illness has only increased since that CDC report was released.
Example of What Could Happen
If you still don’t understand how serious this problem is, imagine the following scenario: One day you’re driving to work when you get into a car accident. You don’t break any bones, but you get a deep cut on your arm.
After you’re rushed to the hospital, the wound is cleaned and bandaged, and you’re given antibiotics to prevent an infection. However, the antibiotics don’t work, and the infection keeps getting worse. Soon you’re fighting for your life, not because of the car accident itself, but because of a cut that got infected.
This scenario goes to show how we take modern antibiotics for granted. Doctors prescribe them all the time, and we just take them without ever considering that one day they might not work.
Access To Antibiotics
The other side of the post-antibiotic world concerns access to available and effective drugs. We do not have to wait for a long-term disaster to grow uneasy about being able to garner the medications we need for routine infections.
The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 brought to light some substantially unsettling facts about antibiotic drug availability. Before the pandemic broke out in China, most Americans were blissfully unaware of the fact that the active components needed to make nearly all antibiotics also come from China.
Threats by the Chinese government to hold the antibiotics and antibiotic components hostage in cargo ships unless the United States bent to its will over pandemic blame and the temporary travel ban nearly sent us into a post-antibiotic world overnight.
What You Can Do To Prepare For A Post-Antibiotic World
Preppers have long considered the medical aspect of survival preparedness the most troublesome. Diligent preppers learned first aid skills and purchased a plethora of supplies for use when the SHTF and calling 911 becomes an act of futility.
The sale of fish medications online and the purchase of livestock medications – including penicillin – from agriculture supply stores like Tractor Supply and Rural King, were constantly worked into the monthly prepping budget.
Whether you think stockpiling and learning how to dose those types of medications for human consumption is wise or not, they – like all things – have a shelf life. While the shelf life of some tablets, capsules, and pills could be several years, vaccines and antibiotics like equine Penicillin have a far shorter shelf life and may require refrigeration.
In addition to purchasing whatever medications you feel safe using to keep yourself and your family healthy in a post-antibiotic world, there are some other sustainable steps you should be taking.
Learn how to grow, use, and preserve what Mother Nature has provided us with for centuries. Sometimes (in my personal experience, frequently) the old ways are simply best. You can grow your own “natural antibiotics” even if you don’t have a large garden.
Herbs take up little space to grow and can be moved indoors as needed. Miniature varieties of plants like the “Tree of Life” or Moringa tree can be grown indoors year-round or moved outdoors during the hot weather months.
Foraging for not just wild edibles but wild medicinals should also be a part of your monthly prepping routine. I was completely shocked when taking a foraging class taught by Richard Cleveland at Prepper Camp this year when eager adults in the class could identify far fewer common medicinal plants than my 4-year-old granddaughter … and did not know how to use them like little Auddie does.
While I applaud their efforts to learn this valuable and potentially life-saving information, it also saddened me that so many self-reliant folks still have not embraced the medicine that is right there at their fingertips until later in life.
In addition to learning how to grow and forage for your own natural antibiotics and medicines, I also highly recommend investing in a manual pill maker. It is a nominal investment and should cost less than $100 for the durable machine and empty gel capsules in adult, child, and livestock sizes.
Mixing together the herbs you grow or forage and preserve in proper weights so they are both handy and ready to use in an emergency will make you more prepared to survive in a post-antibiotic world.
Garnering the knowledge of how to make your own infusions, tinctures, and extracts should also be a part of the grow-your-own-pharmacy survival medicine project. When created and stored properly, these homemade natural healers should keep for a minimum of two years – but likely up to five.
Never use all of the dried herbs, flowers, and roots you have grown or foraged. They will retain their potency the longest in a sealed Mason jar or vacuum-sealed bag. Store these natural antibiotics and medication ingredients in small containers so they are not opened frequently to scoop more out, exposing the contents inside to air and moisture that will reduce their shelf life.
Always label and date the containers the gel capsules are placed into and create a document that details how each homemade antibiotic or medication is to be used. Possessing the life-saving medicine will do your loved ones no good if they cannot safely use it if you are gone.
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