Antibiotics: When the SHTF

A bug-out-bag (BOB) or a bug-out-location (BOL) is not considered complete without medications. If you are prescribed any long term medications, there should be stock of those. There should be painkillers, fever reducers, allergy meds, and just about any over-the-counter (OTC) medications you can think of at a BOL. One of the medications that get overlooked though is antibiotics. Often, this is because it can be hard to know which ones to stock, which ones to use, and how to use them.

First, we should talk about what antibiotics treat. These medications are only effective on conditions and diseases caused by bacteria. They cannot treat viruses such as the cold or flu. They can, however, treat pneumonia, skin infections, intestinal infections, and other such ailments.

80-90% off all conditions can be treated with the 5 antibiotics listed below. There are others that can treat the same conditions, single medications that can cover a broader spectrum of infections, or some that are easier to take. I do not include them in this list due to the risks of side effects being too high for a SHTF situation. As always, consult with your doctor before taking any medication.

Drug Name Treats Restrictions Non-prescription Drug Fact Links
Ciprofloxacin Urinary infections, bacterial diarrhea, anthrax, respiratory infections Children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should never use this Fish Flox

Metronidazole Diabetic foot ulcers, intestinal infections, vaginosis, bone/joint infections, lung abscesses, and meningitis Children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should never use this Fish Zole

Cephalexin Respritory and middle ear infections None Fish Flex
Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP) Respiratory and urinary tract infections. This also treats MRSA Children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should never use this Bird Sulfa
Azitrhomycin Respiratory infections, chlamydia, Lyme disease, syphilis, typhoid Okay for pregnant women and children older than 6 months old. It is unknown if it is safe for nursing mothers None- This is Rx only and harder to find. Can be obtained through a vet


With these five medications, just about all infections can be treated. In a SHTF situation, it is important that you take any antibiotics for a few days after all symptoms are gone to ensure that all bacteria have been killed. It is also important to understand that the use of these medications without a doctor’s approval is only to be done when a medical facility is unavailable. The dosing information for antibiotics is very extensive and cannot be covered in this article. All of the links have dosing information, which should be viewed. In addition to reading this information, it is a good idea to print this information out and put it with the medications.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt

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