Investigative Report: Do Antibiotic Expiration Dates Matter?

This is part 2 in our special series about antibiotics controversies. See part 1, about fish antibiotics for humans, here. by Leigh Ann Hubbard The expiration date is not a magic number. This is one of the first things preppers (preparedness-minded people) learn when they start stockpiling. Shelf-stable products tend not to suddenly go rancid on the stamped date. Sometimes they last a long time after that. Their quality, however, may begin to decrease. A can of vegetables that’s a while past its date may not taste as good. A supplement may be less potent. An antibiotic may not work as well. The first two situations won’t necessarily kill you. That last one? It could. If the antibiotic doesn’t pull its weight, you’re at the mercy of the infection—which, thanks to that weak medicine you just took, has likely mutated into an antibiotic-resistant strain. Whoops. So as a prepper, if you store antibiotics, should you immediately replace them when they’re expired? It’s a much-discussed topic online since antibiotics aren’t like ibuprofen. If they don’t work exactly right and you’re in a survival situation, it’s bad news. Really bad news. Some people say, “Yes!! Replace them immediately! Even before!” Others say, “No, they’ll last at least a decade, if not longer! Don’t worry about it.” It’s a tad confusing. So who’s right? […]

By | August 5th, 2015|Infectious Disease|24 Comments

Investigative Report: Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Fish Antibiotics for Humans

I asked the editor of The Survival Doctor, Leigh Ann Hubbard (a professional journalist and my daughter), to investigate fish antibiotics for use in humans. Here’s her in-depth report. (Don’t miss our related report: Do antibiotic expiration dates matter?) by Leigh Ann Hubbard When you’re in a pinch, everyday items can substitute for many traditional medical supplies: honey for cough syrup, vodka for rubbing alcohol, a T-shirt and safety pin for a sling. But there are a few must-have lifesavers nothing can replace. One is oral antibiotics. When antibiotics came on the scene in the 1940s, they changed the world. Suddenly, with one little medicine—penicillin at the time—more people could survive serious bacterial infections like staph and strep. Antibiotics brought hope, health, and life. Today, we have many types of antibiotics that work for different bacterial infections. If we lost access to them, we’d revert to the time when people died for lack of a pill. So it’s common for preppers to stock up on a round. The challenge is these meds are only available through prescription. Some doctors will prescribe antibiotics for survival storage. But another option many preppers explore is fish antibiotics. They’re commonly sold in human doses and available without a prescription. Despite the fact that buying these meds is common, preppers struggle to find an answer to this seemingly simple question: Are fish antibiotics safe and effective for humans? The only answers provided thus far have been speculative. So we decided to delve into the topic, The Survival Doctor style, seeking evidence and expert insight. We spent weeks contacting pharmacists, drug manufacturers, veterinarians, and safety watchers. We located key experts who shared invaluable, never-before-reported information—some on the record, some off. […]

By | July 21st, 2015|Infectious Disease|69 Comments

Coming Next Week: Everything You Want to Know About Fish Antibiotics

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH There will be no post this week because we’re putting the final touches on a special investigative report we’ve been working on for weeks. It’s about a topic that’s often speculated about in the survival community: the possibility of using fish antibiotics in humans. Are these medicines safe for people? Are they effective? We found some surprising, never-before-reported information. Stay tuned for more. (And if you’re not subscribed, sign up to the left to get a reminder when it’s published!) […]

By | July 14th, 2015|General|Comments Off on Coming Next Week: Everything You Want to Know About Fish Antibiotics

In the News: Dangers of Combining Two Popular Medications

(This is a bonus post this week due to the timeliness of the topic.) An example of clarithromycin. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Some of my readers stock up on antibiotics. (Read more about doing that in my free report about medical supplies.) Whenever you’re storing prescription meds for disaster prep, remember that there are reasons these medications are tightly regulated. In other words, be careful. For one thing, some of them can have serious interactions with other medications. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reminds us of this. Canadian researchers reconfirmed that taking a calcium-channel blocker and the antibiotic clarithromycin (Biaxin) together can cause serious side effects, including a dangerous lowering of blood pressure, kidney damage, and even death. […]

By | November 16th, 2013|Infectious Disease|7 Comments

How the Doxycycline Antibiotic Shortage May Affect You

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Thanks to The Survival Mom for reminding me of the public concerns over the doxycycline shortage. For several months now, this commonly prescribed antibiotic has been in short supply. There are plenty of other antibiotics, so why the worry? Well, this one’s particularly good for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever—and we’re right on the verge of peak season for those two dangerous diseases. Uh-oh. […]

By | June 12th, 2013|Infectious Disease|20 Comments

Sinus Infection Remedies (And Why You Might Not Need Antibiotics)

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH When I was a young doctor and just out of training, I developed a toothache. After a few days of not getting better, I went to my dentist. I assumed, best case, that I’d need a filling. I’d only had one filling before and wasn’t exactly looking forward to another one, but I had to do something for the pain. Well, after the dentist did a thorough exam and X-rayed the area, he told me my teeth were perfectly fine. I couldn’t believe it. He then, as tactfully as he could, suggested that perhaps I had a sinus infection. This took me by surprise. My tooth hurt, not my sinuses. Well, after over a week of pain, I swallowed my pride and started on antibiotics. In about three days, the pain was gone. Oh, it’s come back since, but not in a long time. Because since that time, I’ve come up with some sinus infection remedies—things I can do to prevent an infection or stop it in its tracks when I feel it coming on. […]

By | January 31st, 2013|Infectious Disease|99 Comments

Not All Ear Infections Require Antibiotics

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH After my post about complications of the flu, a reader chided me on short-changing a couple of complications. One was ear infections. I wrote that if you develop an ear infection and can’t get to a doctor, you can treat it easily with antibiotics. But, the reader asked, what if you don’t have them? Is there anything else you can do? The truth is, you may not even need the antibiotics. […]

By | January 28th, 2013|Children, Infectious Disease|9 Comments

When to Treat a Cough With Antibiotics

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the cold and flu season. In fact my last few posts have dealt with “Flu Shots: The Good and the Bad,” things you can to do if you get the flu, and “How NOT to Die From the Flu.” But now, your cold or flu symptoms are over, except for that lingering cough. Do you need antibiotics? How long can a cough linger and just be related to getting over your virus? Two new studies investigate these questions and give some surprising (at least to me) findings—findings that I think might help you decide for yourself, especially if you can’t get medical help and antibiotics are in short supply. […]

By | January 24th, 2013|Infectious Disease|11 Comments

No Mercy for MRSA. How to Treat One of the Most Common Superbugs.

MRSA may be resistant to some antibiotics, but honey can still kill it. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Of all the “superbugs” that can infect you, the one you’re most likely to get outside of a hospital setting is community-acquired MRSA (pronounced mer’-suh). The official name is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. I see it in the office fairly often, and it’s resistant to the antibiotics we commonly use for staph. For cases where you can’t get to a doctor, everyone should know how to treat MRSA. […]

By | September 18th, 2012|Infectious Disease|227 Comments