by Chris Hayes
When prepping, it’s crucial to remember to stock up on prepper medical supplies. Often people think about stocking up on food, firearms, and ammo. But what about health care, first aid, or trauma care? If you had to take care of an injury or illness at home, could you do it?
Regardless of one’s personal thoughts and feelings on COVID-19 and vaccines, the strain of a pandemic can produce unexpected responses. In Cat Ellis’ book, Prepping for a Pandemic, she examined those responses during the 2014 Ebola pandemic, and her warnings for us are proving true. In her book, Ms. Ellis lays out how people die during a pandemic – not from the pandemic disease itself – but lack of healthcare of all kinds.
Why You Need to be Medically Prepared
Three risk factors may jeopardize your access to healthcare soon.
- A shortage of healthcare workers in the US
- The likelihood of continued supply chain disruptions
- Medical providers denying service due to COVID-19 vaccination status
US Shortage of Healthcare Workers
As Aden Tate reports here, we are facing a shortage of healthcare workers in the US. Hospitals and healthcare facilities have been short-staffed for years. But, the exhaustion of providing care during COVID-19 while understaffed has only exacerbated the problem.
As we enter another cold, flu & covid season, we can expect the demands on our healthcare system and workers to intensify. Appointments will become more challenging to make, and wait times for urgent care will be longer.
Supply Chain Disruptions
Add to this that we still import most of our medical supplies from China. In May, China’s Yantian port shut down for an entire month due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Last week, China just shut down Ningbo-Zhoushan port when a single worker tested positive for COVID-19. Ningbo-Zhoushan is the world’s third busiest container port and the second largest in China. Chinese port closings could easily cause a global shortage in medical supplies.
Denial of Service
In the book mentioned above, Prepping for a Pandemic, author Cat Ellis describes how a pregnant woman died because a doctor would not see her during the Ebola pandemic. She did not have any symptoms of Ebola, but the fear was too great. During her at-home labor, the woman experienced complications, and both she and her baby died.
While COVID-19 does not remotely come close to the lethality of Ebola, some doctors are still refusing service. Not out of fear of catching the disease, but because they don’t want to treat unvaccinated people. This Alabama doctor is refusing to treat unvaccinated patients because he “doesn’t want to see them die.” That Alabama doc isn’t the only one. This New York physician wants to restrict non-vaccinated patients to telehealth only. Hopefully, their patients can all afford reliable internet.
This mindset doesn’t seem to match the Hippocratic oath to treat all. But, as Daisy Luther points out, the discrimination and dehumanization of non-vaccinated people are only going to get worse.
Prepper Medical Supplies to Get NOW
With fewer healthcare workers available to treat patients, plus the likelihood of additional port closures, now is the time to do two things:
- Stock up on medical/trauma care supplies.
- Learn how to use them.
Below is my list of OTC medicines and medical supplies I keep on hand for my family, broken down by category. I have included brand names next to the generic name or active ingredient for name recognition when appropriate.
Don’t panic when you see the list. You don’t have to buy absolutely everything at once, and you may already have many of these items on hand. But all of us at The OP strongly recommend doing an inventory of your home medical supplies and plugging holes as soon as possible.
I have included multiple options in some cases because different medications may be more appropriate for different situations. For example, there are several options for general pain relief. However, some people are allergic to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. Others may not be able to take aspirin due to blood-thinning medication. Know your health and use your best judgment.
Be sure to read the product labels of each item to make sure these specific items are safe and appropriate for you and your family. Some medications have cautions for children or individuals with specific health conditions. Make substitutions to suit your individual needs.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)- general aches and pain
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)- general aches and pain, inflammation
- Aspirin– general aches and pain
- Migraine Relief (Excedrin)- Migraine headaches
- Naproxen sodium (Aleve)- Back pain, joint pain
- Lidocaine Patches– Back pain
- Lidocaine Cream – topical pain
- Combo hot & cold gel pack– Acute injuries, sprains
- Orajel– Mouth pain
Wound Care: Bandages
Note: Within the wound care category, there are several subcategories. All are important.
- Waterproof Bandages (assorted sizes)- minor cuts
- Sterile Gauze Pads– Compression, absorption
- Dental Gauze– Compression, absorption
- Surgical tape– Secure Gauze in place
- Self-adhesive bandage wrap– Compression, cut to length
- Tourniquet/Hemostatic Bandage– Stops blood flow to a wound
- Hemostatic Gauze (moderate to severe)- Stops bleeding at the wound site
- Hemostatic Gauze (severe)- Stops bleeding from high-pressure wounds
- Israeli Bandage – Stops severe bleeding, contains clotting agent
- Chest Seal – for sucking chest wound
- Celox Gel – Clotting agent
Wound Care: Wound Closures
- Butterfly bandages– minor lacerations
- Steri Strips– minor lacerations
- Zip sutures– replaces the need for stitches
- Liquid Bandage– for minor wounds in difficult to bandage areas
- Suture Kit– suture supplies, tools (scissors, forceps, etc.), and a suture practice pad
- Skin Stapler (disposable)- preloaded
Wound Care: Wound Wash
- Antiseptic wound wash
- Antibacterial/antiseptic wash
- Vetrycin– Antimicrobial wash intended for animals that many have used on humans
- Acid Reflux
- Diarrhea– eases symptoms
- Diarrhea– kills bacteria
- Multiple symptom relief
- Guaifenesin (Mucinex)- expectorant, thins mucus, makes coughing easier and more productive
- Dextromethorphan (Delsym, Robitussin)- cough suppressant
- Phenylephrine HCI– decongestant
- Expectorant & Suppressant Combo
- Cold & Flu Relief- safe for high blood pressure
- Strep A Test Kit
- Salt– for saltwater gargles
- Zinc lozenges
- Nebulizer– Delivers medicated or non-medicated saline solution to airways
- Saline for nebulizer– to humidify airway
- Saline nasal spray– Moistens nasal passages
- Hydrocortisone Cream– wide range of skin irritations and rashes
- Calamine Lotion– relief from poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac
- Antibacterial Cream
- Antimicrobial Spray
- Anti-Staph Gel– for application to staph-infected wounds
- Tolnaftate– fungal infections
- Clotrimazole– fungal infections
- Burn gel
- Miconazole– yeast infections
- Yeast infection and bacterial infection testing kit
- Pulse oximeter
- BP Cuff– digital
- BP Cuff– manual
- Digital Thermometer
- 9-Piece Diagnostic Kit
- Ear, Nose, and Throat Diagnostic Kit
Other Miscellaneous Prepper Medical Supplies
- Eyewash/saline solution
- Eyewash cup
- N95 Cool Flow Masks
- 70% Isopropyl alcohol– disinfection of stainless steel tools
- Hand Sanitizer
- Choking Rescue Device
- Immobilization Boot
- Wrist Brace
- Arm Sling
- Dental First Aid Kit
- Nitrile gloves (be sure to get the right size)
It’s Crucial to Know How to Use Your Prepper Medical Supplies
All of this stuff is useless if you do not know how to use them. Here are some reference manuals to get you started. These will show you what to do in most common, and some not so common situations when medical and dental care are either restricted or unavailable.
- The Prepper’s Medical Handbook
- Where There Is No Doctor
- Where There Is No Dentist
- The Survival Medical Handbook
- Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook
Plan for Your Unique Needs
Every household will have different medical needs depending on factors like age, gender, and overall health. If you need to refill prescriptions, stock up on diabetic supplies, or add diaper rash ointment if you have infants. If you have children, make sure you know the proper dosages of kid-safe medicine.
With some basic medical supplies on hand, you can avoid long lines at your doctor, walk-in clinic, or emergency room during a pandemic. You may also find those supplies necessary in case of supply or service shortages. I hope you never need them. But, I hope even more that you’ll have them if you do.
Are You Stocked Up On Prepper Medical Supplies?
Do you have any prepper medical supplies you would add to the list? Tell us what those things are and why you believe it’s important to have them. Let’s discuss it in the comments.
Chris Hayes is a lifelong prepper and survivalist from rural Maine. Due to extreme weather, preparedness is built into the lifestyle of many Mainers. The Hayes family are no exception. They live off-grid, enjoy hunting and fishing, bushcraft, beekeeping, and making their own herbal medicines. When not tending to the homestead, Chris spends time practicing martial arts.