DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or any other sort of medical professional. This article is not meant to be medical advice. Please do your own research and consult a doctor if you have any questions
On the 1st I started feeling really bad: a headache that wouldn't go away, sinus pressure, a gradually increasing fever, and overall body soreness/fatigue. I was pretty much useless around the house and would be awake for 2 hours and sleep for one. Through the day it got worse and worse until about 2000 my wife asked if I wanted to go to the ER. I declined, but she insisted on taking my temp (103) and insisted that I go see a doctor the next day.
I have nothing against doctors, hospitals, or the medical profession in general; I just don't like going to the doctor. Maybe it's a macho, guy thing? I don't know. But I was feeling so bad that I was ready to do anything (even get a shot!) to feel better. Since I had "flu-like" symptoms, we both thought that was what I had.
As I tried to sleep that night (while alternately freezing and burning up) I stated thinking about what we would do if we were in a grid-down or SHTF situation. There is a lot to do around here now and since the adult workforce was cut in half, poor Mrs. H was having to do everything - plus I didn't want to get our young children sick. We also don't have fully stocked pharmacy in our medicine cabinet, so thoughts about medical preps were on my mind too.
Turns out that I have Strep (and Mrs. H may be a carrier...) I was given a prescription of what my doctor said was "super penicillin" and was told I'd start to feel better in a few days. What she didn't tell me was that the pills are huge. They look to me better suites for livestock than people. I have been taking them for the last few days and I do feel better - thank goodness.
So what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, as I alluded to earlier - what would have happened to us if I would have caught this serious case of Strep at a time or place when I would have been unable to go to a doctor or pharmacy?
I'm afraid in our current level of preparedness, it may have been pretty rough. We don't have penicillin just lying around (or any other antibiotics) and we may have not even been able to accurately diagnose my sickness. I'm sure I would have eventually recovered with our OTC meds we have stocked; but how long would it have taken? What if something else were to go wrong while I was sick in bed? Now don't get me wrong, my wife is awesome and can do just about anything; but after a few days of taking care of a sick me, 2 small children, and the homestead - she would be exhausted and might end up sick as well.
So what's the solution?
Well, it's really not practical or even possible to have enough medicines on hand to account for all possible illnesses. I'm also pretty sure your doctor won't give you a prescription for meds just so you can "stock up, just in case". Plus, all medicines have a set shelf like and eventually loose their effectiveness, so you would have to get new prescriptions every few years.
What is possible is to know what illnesses you and your family are likely to get (for us it's Strep) and at least try to plan for that. While I can't always have a stock of super penicillin horse pills on hand, I can do something. While we can't buy antibiotics over the counter here - Mexico isn't too far away and you can (or could a little while ago) buy amoxicillin OTC in large quantities. This may not be as easy or practical as it once was due to the increased violence along the Mexican side of the border, but it is a possible solution. Do you know of anyone going on a cruise or vacation there? Ask them to bring you back a big bottle or two.
There is also the possibility of using medicines that weren't intended for humans. Many times the same medicines we would need a prescription for can be bought OTC for animals.
*I do remember as a kid going with a older male family member to the vet because he was sick and he didn't want/couldn't afford to go the doctor. So the vet just gave him a shot. He got well and never had to go to the doctor for that illness. This was most likely illegal, but in rural areas probably happens a lot.*
It seems to me that meds for a cow can't be that different than meds for a human, right? Don't take my word for it though. Do your own research and reach your own conclusions.
There is even a lot of information out there about using fish medications. I have no personal experience with this and am a little bit skeptical. Search the internet, do your own research, and decide for yourself.
Other than that, physical fitness and proper hygiene/sanitation will prevent a lot of sickness. Keep physically fit so your body can better fight off any bugs you may pick up. Good hygiene will prevent the spread of many diseases as well.
I've only scratched the surface here. There is a multitude of resources available on the internet regarding this topic and I encourage you to do plenty of research before deciding on a plan of action for you and yours. Making bad choices in your medical preps will at the least make a bad situation worse and could (at the worst) lead to the death of you or one of your loved ones. A good place to start is www.survivalblog.com as well as the book Where There is No Doctor. Search the website for medical info. The book can be picked up new or used online and there is also a .PDF version that is free. I don't have a link, but it's easy to find for those with moderately good search-fu.
Keep your powder dry and your nose to the wind and joy in your heart.