Antibiotic resistance: Prepping for a world without effective antibiotics

My Background: I have an undergraduate degree in Biology and Society with a concentration in Infectious Disease Biology and I worked as a researcher in a microbiology lab focusing on Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. I’m a fellow of the Cornell Institute for Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease. I am currently a COVID-19 contact tracer and part of the COVID-19 vaccine effort in my hometown. I will be beginning my PhD in the emerging infectious disease field in August.


This thread arose as a continuation of a post I made in the ‘How to prep for new and emerging diseases’ thread. Here is an excerpt from my original post about why antibiotic resistance is something we should be concerned about: “We must focus on what we can truly prepare for. A concern I have that should be on preppers radars is how  bacteria pick up new genetic material (here’s a link explaining the process) which can confer antibiotic resistance to bacterial species. An estimated two million people are infected with antibiotic resistant infections annually in the United States alone. The World Health Organization has expressed concerns that the world is running out of effective antibiotics and this could present serious challenges to the standards of health we currently have in many countries. I stumbled upon an edition of The Economist’s July 2019 “The World If” series. Basically, it’s a fictional take on what happens if [insert event here]. This one focused on what would happen if we no longer had effective antibiotics. I stress that this is a link to FICTION (and everything else I’ve linked is to non-fiction), but it is chilling to read the authors take on what the world may look like with no access or severely reduced access to effective antibiotics. It definitely got me thinking about how and why to prep for a future without antibiotics.”


Legitimacy/Transparency: Most links are peer-reviewed publications from journals, universities, or from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the United Nations. Feel free to not take my word for it and read the linked publications!


Reasons a Future Without Effective Antibiotics Is a Possibility: The problem is not so much a lack of supply of currently approved antibiotics, but the fact that current antibiotics are becoming obsolete due to overuse and we currently have a lack of incentives for companies to do research that brings new antimicrobials to market. Furthermore, the cost of bringing new antibiotics to market is a barrier and the profitability of antibiotics is lower than other drugs. Cancer drugs took precedence over bringing antibiotics to market, and this will likely come back to bite us: the United Nations antimicrobial resistance group estimates that 10 million drug-resistant related disease deaths will occur annually by 2050 if no action is taken to shift our current trajectory, which is “more than the number of people who currently die of cancer worldwide every year”. We have also stagnated on introducing new antibiotics to the market, as “the last entirely original class of antibiotic was discovered in the late 1980’s.” If this doesn’t shift soon it is not far-fetched to say we may end up in a world in the not-to -distant future with no access to effective antibiotics (potentially returning us to the ‘Pre-Antibiotic Age’). Medical care before antibiotics were first discovered and used, looked like lots of now-preventable deaths from infection, see this article from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly for more information.


What Antibiotic Resistance Is: Antibiotic resistance naturally develops after use of an antibiotic  treatment in a population over time (and this is why there are so many types of antibiotics with different targets that exist in the first place) however we have accelerated the rate of resistance development to the antibiotics we have due to overuse. Many anti-microbial compounds were  isolated from bacterial species in our soil which live in close contact with each other, thus necessitating the development of something deadly with which to kill off their competition: antibiotics. The caveat being the antibiotic is only effective if it didn’t also kill off the bacterial species producing it. It makes sense then that “antibiotic resistance genes in soil are tightly linked to specific bacteria, suggesting little sharing between species, in infectious bacteria though, more frequent sharing of genes creates antibiotic-resistance portfolios that differ greatly among related bacteria.”


Current Prepping (Gathering Information, Pushing for Changes): Preparing now could look like questioning the trend of over-prescribing of antibiotics, encouraging better infection control practices in hospitals and in agriculture so antibiotic use could be avoided and encouraging lab testing that confirms an illness is treatable with antibiotics (if it’s not bacterial in nature, it should not be treated with antibiotics and even then different antibiotics are used for different infections). Talking about it and bringing awareness is also important, which is what I’m trying to do with this thread-put lots of information in the same place where it’s easily accessed. The Prepared had an article about the WHO’s 2019 Antibiotic Awareness Week with suggestions for reducing risk of infection so you don’t need antibiotics in the first place which is worth checking out. This article suggests how government entities could set us up for success in bringing new antibiotics to market. The authors wisely point out that: “Even a limited return to the pre-antibiotic age is a fate best avoided. It need not happen.” As with most emerging infectious disease issues, avoiding continuing on our current trajectory requires changes to our behavior and that of our communities, a difficult undertaking. A return to a pre-antibiotic age certainly need not happen, but it might anyway.


Five Major Sources of Bacterial Pathogens:

1.     Water

2.     Food

3.     Arthropods (like ticks)

4.     Wounds (bites, wounds contaminated with debris, surgeries that introduce foreign bodies etc.)

5.     Other Humans (respiratory/sexually-transmitted/enteric/etc.)


Potential Non-Antibiotic ‘Solutions’ (none of which are perfect):

1.     Vaccines: Often toxoid vaccines are used to prevent bacterial disease, the DTaP or diptheria & tetanus vaccine is a toxoid vaccine, it also contains subunits of pertussis. We can’t vaccinate for everything however. Vaccines are also not a magic-bullet. You can still get infected after being vaccinated, usually vaccines just lessen the severity and duration of the potential infection.

2.     Bacteriophage Cocktail Therapies: Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacterial species. A bacteriophage cocktail is a clinical treatment that can theoretically be tailored to the exact infection (just takes money, lots of research and time, which can be in short supply…always) and thus far in the US this therapy has only been used in compassionate use cases as it is experimental. Phage therapy is fascinating but we still have a long way to go before it’s mainstream and effective. Bacteriophages have been described as bacteria’s natural predator, however interestingly enough, in some cases bacterial species can pick up antibiotic resistance genes from phages. 


How Life Could Change in a World With No Effective Antibiotics:

1.     Would we wear masks to protect ourselves from bacterial respiratory infections due to the health stakes of getting such an illness without access to effective antibiotics? Without antibiotics (and even now, with antibiotics, in the case of multi-drug or total-drug resistant tuberculosis) these infections could cause high mortality rates. The CDC estimated in 2018 that about 23% of the global population was infected with tuberculosis.


2.     Without effective antibiotics I doubt elective surgeries like knee and hip replacements (which we often use prophylactic antibiotics for), or even Cesarean sections would be common (or advisable) because of the potential for introducing infection that couldn’t be treated. This could impact quality of life for many people. Would we still remove our ‘wisdom’ teeth?


3.     Cleaning wounds regardless of severity, and caring for them in a way that minimizes infection risk would likely be more of a major concern than it already is if we didn’t have effective antibiotics available.


4.     There would likely be deep concerns about food safety and inspection processes and cooking to safe temperatures. I could see stricter requirements being enforced by food safety and inspection entities in order to quell fear about concerns over food being contaminated through irrigated water, poor packaging or unclean processing equipment. This publication on the Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illness suggests that annually, one in six Americans will experience a food borne illness. Not all food borne illnesses are deadly or require treatment with antibiotics. Not all food borne illnesses are bacterial in nature either, but some of note are including: Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Listeria.


5.     Tick checks, proper clothing and anti-tick products could be vital depending on where you live and what bacterial pathogens are endemic in the tick populations near you. Here is a list of tick-borne disease from the CDC. Again, not all diseases carried by ticks are bacterial in nature, but enough are to cause concern such as: the causative agents of Lyme disease, multiple spotted fevers and tularemia .


6.     Those without access to clean drinking water could suffer even more without access to effective antibiotics. Antibiotics are not considered a life-saving treatment for diseases like cholera, but antimicrobial resistance has developing in this water-borne pathogen which is concerning because without antibiotic treatment the “illness will persist for about twice as long, lengthening the hospital stay and increasing the resources used”. No effective antibiotics could be deadly in a real-world cholera epidemic scenario as  even “antibiotic resistance means higher costs, a greater need for supplies and more deaths.” For some reason the document these two quotes are from won’t link-if you want to look it up I found this information in a WHO publication titled  “Antimicrobial resistance in shigellosis, cholera and campylobacteriosis” by Sack, Lyke, McLaughlin and Suwanvanichchkij. 


7.     Any bacterial disease impacting humans, be it: Lyme, syphilis, cholera, E. coli, MRSA, diptheria, tuberculosis, Y. pestis (plague) or listeria would carry far higher risks of mortality and disability without effective antibiotics.

 How would consider prepping for a world in which there are no effective antibiotics?


  • Comments (33)

    • 5

      Camille, Only a few years ago, the Civil Service mariners on the USN ships of the Military Sealift Command were required to get the anthrax shots/jabs as a condition of employment.

      I don’t know if this was experimental or not. Would guess the anthrax scare in Washington, D.C. a couple of years prior was the trigger mechanism to work on anthrax.

    • 7


      Closely related. There are major national efforts around the world to immunize those in line with the several COVID-19 vaccines. Why not also screen for TB ?!  XDRTB – Extremely Drug Resistant TB … believe new name for this mentioned in inital thread post above  … kept a few of us away from helping in an overseas project.

      • 7

        I think we are not screening for tuberculosis because it requires a tuberculin injection (TST) that you then need to return in 2-3 days to have a health care provider ‘read’. This would require immense organizational effort, and there’s already a struggle to organize the vaccine effort. Essentially the healthcare worker is looking for a reaction to the injection (or the absence of one) 2-3 days post injection. The CDC also doesn’t recommend screening for everyone-just those they consider at risk populations. More info on the TST here from the CDC. People who have been vaccinated for tuberculosis may sometimes get a false positive for the TST. 

      • 4

        This is my point Camille.  Labor and real estate are the 2 big costs w/o discussing the pharma products. Current COVID programs are makeshift, inadequate and in blunt terms: worse.  

        Was just emailed asking for some volunteer hours at an area community college holding a COVID immunization clinic. On nice, clear, pleasant days, the parking lot is inadequate.  

    • 7

      Camille – EXCELLENT write up! This is a serious threat to our health and society and many doctors are not caring to look up alternative ways to treat things. I find that doctors just prescribe antibiotics as an easy way to deal with an issue. Sure there are times when it really is needed, but my dermatologist had me on antibiotics daily for years to treat acne. I wish I knew back then what I know now and had not listened to his counsel and just dealt with the acne. Over the years he had me on that, he would increase the dosage every few months because it would help for a bit but then would come back. Maybe it was because my body was building up a resistance to it?

      I saw on another forum post on here that some people were treating their dog’s surgery wound with honey or sugar. Knowing things like this will help prevent your dependence on antibiotics for minor issues. 

      In one of your last points you mention how things like knee or hip replacement surgeries may be harder to recommend because you may get an infection that would kill you. So if i’m needing to get my knee replaced soon, I might do it sooner rather than later when it might not be available. 

      All of this would be under a doctor’s guidance though.

      One last thought… Question your doctor about his use of antibiotics. If they prescribe you one, ask if that’s really the best one or if you could get a lower dose or a more targeted one. In my experience they have recommended the nuclear option that kills absolutely everything, but upon asking they give me a much milder option that does the trick and hopefully my body can use that nuclear option in the future if needed. 

      • 6

        Carter – It was raw honey and used to help accelerate wound healing from surgery. I believe she was on a dose of post surgical antibiotics.

        A point about joint replacement surgery. Make sure you understand how many years the joint is good for. 

        Some surgeries have to be repeated after so many years. It is also important to check for problems with surgical joint replacement. It has been a very popular surgery but lately the tide is turning. So be careful and check it out throughly.

      • 6

        Glad you found my write-up useful! I think antibiotic resistance has so many stakeholders and you bring up a great point about starting the conversation with clinicians about their recommendations surrounding antibiotics. This isn’t to say clinicians are to blame for the problem (nor does the blame rest solely with agriculturists who use antibiotics – another common target). We all share some responsibility.

        I think the antibiotic resistance issue was almost inevitable in a way-we really haven’t had access to antibiotics for that long of a stretch of time-and we were bound to find the limitations of the effectiveness of the current products at some point. Antibiotics are a tool, and we used them as a tool without good stewardship for a long time, and in some cases we continue to apply them to tasks they are not suited to be used for which is ruining the effectiveness of a tool that we previously took for granted. The guidelines around acne treatment have changed due to antibiotic resistance!

        Individuals don’t typically develop immunity to antibiotics from taking them (even if the antibiotics are used  frequently). Instead, it is the bacteria responsible for the infections that become resistant through antibiotic exposure and if these bacteria then spread to another person, they could potentially cause an antibiotic resistant infection in the new individual/host.

      • 4

        My understanding of how pathogens gain immunity might be simplistic, but I think it is correct.  Any given bacteria is competing with billions of their “brothers” for resources.  When a new antibiotic is used, it seems effective, because the bacteria are killed off & the patient gets better.  But what actually happens is not every single one of those billions of bacteria are killed off.  Maybe one or two survives because of some random genetic mutation which just so happens to protect them from that antibiotic.  But now, the competition is gone, or mostly so, so that now when they reproduce, the vast majority of the bacteria are now resistant to that given antibiotic.  As the disease spready from individual to individual, these resistant bacteria start showing up all over the population, and as we keep treating that disease with the same antibiotic, more & more of those resistant bacteria gain footholds in the population, so that eventually that antibiotic begins to stop working across an entire population.

        Same principle with worming horses.  If you just use one wormer, that wormer kills off most of the worms… but some survive & they thrive.  Worm again in a few months using the same chemical, and you get a worm kill but just not as complete… and the resistant worms thrive even more until eventually you get almost no protection.  So with horses, there are all different classes of wormers with different modes of killing and the point is to rotate between these classes.  You use wormer A first, get a good kill but those few resistant worms survive & start reproducing.  Next worming, 2 months later, I switch to wormer B.  Now those worms that were resistant to A get mostly killed off.  Point being, in a years time, I’ll use 4-6 different types of wormers, so that resistance can’t build up greatly.

        With pathogens, since we are talking billions upon billions of individuals, there is enough genetic diversity thru normal, random mutations, that you really struggle to get a complete kill.  You get enough to get well but those tricky little beast hang around.  That’s all they have to do to be “successful”… keep surviving.  Time is on their side.  Eventually, we run out of treatment options.  

      • 5

        Your last paragraph there clarified a question I had. Even if I don’t take antibiotics, I’m still going to be affected by everyone else taking them because the bacteria will become resistant in someone else and that can spread to me.

        Much like lots of things in this world like climate change, even if you are the greenest person in the world, the actions of others will still affect me.

      • 5

        Liz, Still, it’s an incremental improvement.

        You’ll have better health without a perpetual loadup of the antibacterials. When, for example, in a store with many co-shoppers who max – use   antibacterials, you are still the healthier person in the store with the ability to confront the pathogens. … Not completely; just incrementally.

      • 1

        Thanks bob. And the few times I have had to have an antibiotic, it has wrecked my gut for days after. I usually try and take some good probiotics after to help it feel better after being wiped out.

      • 8

        Yep, sadly everyone is impacted by resistant strains of pathogens… no matter your individual choices.

        As someone with a degree in Biology, I am fascinated in how life, in all forms, adapts to changes in the environment.  The roll of random mutations and natural selection can reshape a population where it can survive under new pressures.  We can actually see this in real time with the Covid virus.  It keeps mutating and the vast majority of these mutations have no impact.  Some mutations will cause the death of that individual virus.  But then, amongst all these billions & billions of Covid viruses, every so often a mutation gives that virus an advantage… and because of that advantage, it will reproduce better and keep spreading.  We see this in real time as we find new strains of covid popping up.  They pop up because their mutation gave them some advantage over the original strain.

        A few years ago I was able to demonstrate to my God kids how natural selection works, by observing the catfish in my pond as they came up to feed.  A normal channel catfish is white on the bottom and dark blue on the top.  This is a vital trait to camouflage the fish from predators.  A predator on the bottom, looking upward will have trouble seeing the fish because it will be looking at a white fish against a light background.  An airborne predator (my bald eagles) likewise has more trouble spotting them, as it will be seeing a dark fish against the dark water.  The experiment occurred when we noticed some albino catfish… white on top & bottom.  To us, they really stood out when feeding and sure enough, those didn’t last long.  That was natural selection removing those genes from the genetic pool, as those fish were eaten by eagles & they couldn’t reproduce.  Kinda reminded me of the classic case of natural selection, involving the peppered moths in England in the 1800s.

    • 7

      Makes me wonder if nucleic acid vaccines might one day be used to fight bacterial pathogens? It amazes me what they are doing with them lately. I’m getting to start reading The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race.  CRISPR technology just blows me away.  I think this technology will do to mankind what computers have done… totally change the way we live.

      If you didn’t see her on 60 Minutes, it is well worth your time.


    • 4

      Camille, Glad you got this up! I plan to spend more time pouring over all this wonderful information a bit later today.

      One thing that springs to mind for prepping without antibiotics is how my Dad treated my Grandmother’s severe leg infection in WWII. Packets of Sulphur (?) were part of what he was issued to treat wounds.

      He said the wound was almost gangrenous it was so bad. He described opening the packet of powder and pouring it directly on her leg wound.

      I know there are “sulpha” drugs which I believe are antibiotics, but I think he said Sulpher. Have you heard of this?

      • 6

        I haven’t heard of this. I found a digitized page on JSTOR from a British Medical Journal published in 1941 describing using packets of Sulfanilamide locally in wounds…maybe that is what he was describing using? It appears to have antibacterial properties. I can’t find evidence of sulfanilamide being used recently, but names change and I’m definitely not an expert on wound care or pharmaceutical safety/info.

      • 6

        Camille,  fyi, your first link under “What antibiotic resistance is”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3617123/

        paragraph 5 speaks about sulfanilamide. 

      • 4

        The first antibiotics were sulfa drugs, derivatives of sulfanilamide.  Thus the name Sulfa. It was identified to have antibiotic tendencies in the 1930s and was commonly used in the 1940s.  All GIs during WWII had packets of the powder in their first aid kits.  I remember making sulfa drugs in my college organic chemistry class.

      • 3

        Per my response above to Camille, her first link under “What antibiotic resistance is” talks about sulfanilamide.

        What you identified is the same thing and the one I was referring to.

        Sulfa drugs.

      • 6

        Paragraph five does mention sulfonamides. Apologies, I should have chosen my wording more carefully in my response. I had never heard of the  “pour on powder” to local wounds that you described until I found that 1941 digitized to JSTOR article that I linked about sulfanilamide usage. Sulfanilamide is one of the sulfonamide class of antibiotics.

      • 6

        No worries, Camille. You are managing a lot of info and links and responses. 

    • 4

      Hi Camille

      I’m back and diving into your article. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write this for all of us.

      My comments will be experience based and written with a view to what we as consumers can do to be part of the solution for this very serious problem.

      Re: a future without effective antibiotics a possibility.

      Consumers do not pay enough attention to the long and broad view of where funds for drug development are channelled.

      Since the advent of medication and particularly in the post second world war era, consumers have been conditioned to the idea of medication control versus preventative and adjunct therapies.

      In the 1950’s “mother’s little helper” tranquillizers were marketed to women who were encouraged to “just take a pill and relax.”

      This is not written to slam pharmaceutical companies. It is to hold them accountable for how they do business.

      I don’t like the methodology behind their marketing to physicians and the public. We must always remember that they represent a business based on making a profit.

      Those involved in research, as Camille has chosen, physicians and others involved in health care will experience the frustration of dealing with this kind of marketing and promotion.

      It will affect where research is directed and how it is encouraged to develop.

      Doctors are offered perks by pharmaceutical sales reps and Doctors are encouraged to give out the sales reps samples in addition to the perks.

      In Canada, a radio news broadcaster, Mark Elliott, now deceased, broke the news publicly that Ontario doctors were receiving a $250.00 per prescription written for methadone. This was after they were encourage to write prescriptions for Oxycodone.

      This is the practices that should never be allowed. Perks and other motivations should be banned.

      My Mom was one of the women who nearly died in the 1970’s because of condition du jour prescribing. She was written off as a “case of bad nerves” when in reality she had Grave’s disease and a massive infection.

      She went twelve years including a stint in a psych ward before a proper diagnosis was made and surgery performed. All of it because not one person involved in her care thought to repeat a simple test for thyroid. They were too busy shuffling her from one specialist to the other and all of them were prescribing medications that were “popular” or as we would call them now “trending”.

      Her case raises the point also about how we view infection.

      Some infections can linger inside us for a long time, as in Mom’s case. Her uterus had adhered to her spine during her last delivery. The tissue would rend and then adhere which caused back pain, and finally an infection developed.

      I had a kidney infection that put me in hospital when I was 19. I had sudden onset flu like symptoms and landed in the ER. There was a flu circulating at the time, so I was low on the triage list.

      After a 13 hour wait, I was examined. The attending physician thought it was the flu and ready to release me. I’m here today because he paid attention to his intuition, stopped me and palpated my back. I screamed when he tapped my back. Blood and urine came back and I was admitted. I had a massive and very serious kidney and bladder infection. I was very ill and could have died.

      Six weeks in hospital, four months on antibiotics. The Urologist told me that I had that kidney infection since I was “a little girl.”

      We think of infections as what we can see on the outside of our bodies, but infections can be slowly brewing inside as in the case of Mom and later myself.

      These two examples underscore that infections are not always preventable and further supports the urgency of a new class of antibiotics developed.

      Antibiotic resistance:

      If you must take antibiotics, take them as prescribed, on time, exactly by the directions. Double check before you leave the pharmacy that you understand how to take the medication. Are there foods or drinks you should avoid? Before eating or after? Take with water? Avoid dairy?

      Keep a daily record on when you take the antibiotic so you can ensure you don’t forget.

      Don’t make up your own rules about how to take them. Don’t skip doses or take extra because you’re tired of a taking them.

      Never share antibiotics with anyone ever.

      While you are on the antibiotics, do the non-medication management that you can do. Eat properly, and rest. You are ill. You have an infection. Your body requires rest and repair. Bolster your immune system by doing your part to help the healing process.

      Don’t stop taking your antibiotics because you feel better. That’s what they are supposed to do, but antibiotics are also supposed to rid you of the infection and that is why you need to take the full dose as prescribed.

      If for some reason the antibiotic isn’t working and requires a change, bring your unused medication into your pharmacy for safe disposal. PLEASE, don’t dump unused prescriptions down the toilet or sink and into our waterways. Don’t put them in the garbage to degrade and seep into the soil and wash into the water table.

      This isn’t about resistance, but be aware that you can develop an allergy to any medication at any time, regardless of how long you have been on it.

      In my 30’s I went back to do some more post-secondary full time. I was studying when I noticed my throat closing up. I was on a prescription for penicillin and several days into it. I had taken it before without a problem.

      In ER, I discovered that anyone can become allergic at any time. That requires medical intervention and you will require a different antibiotic.

      Current prepping (Gathering information pushing for change)

      Now we have the spectre of a future looming before us without the easy fallback of antibiotics. So, what can we as consumers do about it?

      I know some people like to deal with problems under pressure, but I don’t think this situation warrants any more pressure. Let’s get going on it and become part of the solution.

      Support the education of brilliant students like Camille who will be the next generation to tackle this problem. If you have deeper pockets, invest in a student and put them through school. Get a group together and endow a scholarship. Pay for a student’s books or tuition for a year.

      If you’re a landlord, give the student a break on rent or better yet, if you can host a student so they can focus on their education and not worry if they can afford to complete it.

      Take some of the stress off these young people so they can really devote themselves to learning.

      I know there might be some reading this part, thinking I worked two jobs and I had to put myself through university. I know I get it. I worked full time at 15 and put myself through school as a night student at university.

      But really, we all know that is a tough way to do it and it doesn’t need to be. Plus we can help them get through school faster and with a better grasp of their studies because they were able to focus on them.

      Helping students and education based altruism are an investment in all our futures.

      As Camille explained above, we are this far into a time line since the last entire original class of antibiotic was developed. That isn’t acceptable and it needs to change. Lobby for that change. We have voices and can use them.

      Write letters, start a petition, and inform others in your immediate social and familial group. Why not speak with someone in your local media or online media to focus on this issue? Get the word out.

      Get your local health authority or community to sponsor healthy living programs. I volunteered taught a program developed by Stanford University called “Get Better Together.” It was a free once per week, 6 week session on chronic disease management. It was rolled out across North America. I spent 10 years with this program and highly recommend it as a good starting place.

      Discover where the new antibiotics are being researched and find out how and why that is happening in that particular place. It could be a clue as to how we can get more antibiotic research and development in motion.

      Get as fit as you can. Walking can improve your health and good nutrition need not be expensive. If unable to walk, then find chair exercises that you can do to stay as fit as possible. Learn to prepare healthy meals.

      If diabetic, get the weight down and walk (see Prep to be Fit, Fit to be Prepped thread for some additional info). Avoid the infections associated with uncontrolled diabetes.

      Study and learn all you can about Camille’s list of Five major sources of bacterial infection.

      Wear proper protection on your hands when cleaning the bathroom especially toilet area. I had punctured a finger on rewiring a picture frame. I was gloved up, but got a nasty staph infection. You’d be surprised how fast they can travel up an arm.

      Wear hand protection when working with meat, especially poultry. I punctured a thumb skewering a Christmas turkey and developed an infection. The first antibiotic was the wrong. It worked on everything but turkey. The second worked. That Christmas turkey cost $160.00 by the time I was done.

      If you are harvesting poultry, watch the crop during evisceration. Wear safety glasses. I had one break and land in my unprotected eye. Really bad eye infection.

      I no longer eat in local restaurants because of being food poisoned once too often.

      Stopping here, Camille. It’s a book.

      Excellent article and thank you again very much for writing this.

    • 4

      One thing that can be done now is to consider where and how you shop. I have heard that some industries use antibiotics just in case instead of when actually needed, and also to fix problems that many would consider animal welfare issues. Supporting organic and smaller growers who farm traditionally is one way to act now now.

      The other is to realise that you don’t need to use antibacterial soap, cleansers in daily life. Most things can be cleaned with soap, water, baking soda and vinegar. 

      For me, prepping can also include delaying the inevitable and being vocal about about the reasons.

      • 7

        So true L.  Liability issues, the “just in case” get priority.

    • 5

      Your forum post is excellent, Camille. Thank you!

    • 4

      What could be some alternatives to antibiotics? I know some people take colloidal silver internally and swear by it. I’ve tried it, and can’t really comment on how well it works, though I’ve had excellent results using it externally, especially silver wound gel. I once had a budding case of pink eye that a drop of colloidal silver cleared right up.

      • 3

        Josh, I frame your question a little differently … “literary license” ! … and not compare the antibacterials versus pharma like collodial silver … Great for the bandages/dressings but no ingesting by me unless OKed by med folks .

        My reply is based on what LBV wrote above: minimize the use of the antibiotic products.  Thus, eg, on a daily basis while stuck in this shack I wash hands with basic Ivory soap.  When I go out for errands – typically once a week or every 10 days – I “disinfect” my paws for 4-5 minutes with Ivory soap, then an antibacterial soap, then a combination of aloa and alcohol, all the while humming tunes from a Jerry Garcia Greatful Dead song.

        In a couple of days, the ticks will homestead here.  The pants are pretreated with perm – can’t spell – and boots, plus overlap to pants, with DEET. This is the preventive measure to avoid needing medical treatment for a tick bite … already had Lyme Disease.

        One other method I use to avoid the antibacterials … Ubique alluded to this method a few days ago elsewhere … iinvolves timing. Avoid mosquitoe environments when they’re active.  Currently, we know that ticks are loaded with at bacteri … can’t spell this also … so no deep woods work here until several weeks from now.


        Misc; Check on the consumption of collodial silver.  I’ve heard negative aspects of self-medicating with it.  I’m laity; just heard this.  Still, worth checking out.

      • 4

        Josh, I frame your question a little differently … “literary license” ! … and not compare the antibacterials versus pharma like collodial silver … Great for the bandages/dressings but no ingesting by me unless OKed by med folks .

        My reply is based on what LBV wrote above: minimize the use of the antibiotic products.  Thus, eg, on a daily basis while stuck in this shack I wash hands with basic Ivory soap.  When I go out for errands – typically once a week or every 10 days – I “disinfect” my paws for 4-5 minutes with Ivory soap, then an antibacterial soap, then a combination of aloa and alcohol, all the while humming tunes from a Jerry Garcia Greatful Dead song.

        In a couple of days, the ticks will homestead here.  The pants are pretreated with perm – can’t spell – and boots, plus overlap to pants, with DEET. This is the preventive measure to avoid needing medical treatment for a tick bite … already had Lyme Disease.

        One other method I use to avoid the antibacterials … Ubique alluded to this method a few days ago elsewhere … iinvolves timing. Avoid mosquitoe environments when they’re active.  Currently, we know that ticks are loaded with at bacteri … can’t spell this also … so no deep woods work here until several weeks from now.


        Misc; Check on the consumption of collodial silver.  I’ve heard negative aspects of self-medicating with it.  I’m laity; just heard this.  Still, worth checking out.

      • 3

        Hi, I have used naturopathy remedies. I have successfully used Elderberry syrup to treat congested nose. I use a CPAP machine so nasal congestion is a major problem for me. I have also used tea tree essential oil with things like cat scratches.

        Many years ago I had tonsillitis problem that was not responding to antibiotics. An old family friend decided to use an old remedy. He force-fed me Friars Blasam (which does say do not take internally). It tasted disgusting and took more than a tablespoon of honey to get the taste out of my mouth. Having said that, it did work.

        On a general view towards health would be choice of foods and varieties. In NZ we have the Heritage Food Crops Research Trust and they have been doing some research into our foods.


    • 4

      This is a big topic but unfortunately likely to be important to our children if not to us.   COVID-19 is a bit of case study in what would happen since we don’t have any particularly effective antivirals for it.  Remdesivir is being used but it’s not very impressive, nowhere near the efficacy of amoxicillin versus standard bacterial infections.  We looked into convalescent plasma with some benefit, are using lab-built antibodies that we infuse in people very effectively, and with the new mRNA platforms are cranking out targeted vaccines very quickly.  On the optimistic side, all of those techniques should work against bacterial or fungal infections when there are no antibiotic options.  The downside is that they are incredibly expensive when compared to producing even though most expensive antibiotics.  I foresee an expansion of these techniques in rich countries and leave poorer countries out in the cold.  I think it will also be one more step toward bankrupting our health insurance system in the US, and likely expand the class divide.  These issues will not be good for global or domestic stability.

      There is some good data for honey in wound care, and even an OTC product, medihoney that has passed all the FDA testing.  I’ve read that tea can be used for eye infections.  There are a lot of folk remedies, some of which seem to work on local infections.  Once an infection becomes systemic however, there isn’t much you can do other than hope someone fights it off.  I think that if using systemic silver derivatives or high dose vitamin C really worked, someone would have found a way to patent it and charge $$$.

      I can’t not throw in a brief defense of prescribers.  As much as people in health policy and administration say we value antibiotic stewardship, our (US) system is built in a way that heavily encourages excessive antibiotic use.  When making treatment decisions in real time with incomplete information, there is little to no penalty for erring on the side of caution and huge penalties for choosing less aggressive options.

    • 2


      For comprehensiveness, above article is ideal for this thread’s reading. There’s a glimmer of hope that our “system” is interconnected.  Matters must be addressed globally.

      It’s worth surfing around this website.  Besides the bio-med material, they also address other preparedness news with some applicable to individual citizen preppers.

    • 7

      The herbalist Stephen Buhner has written two excellent books on this: Herbal Antibiotics and Herbal Antivirals. Resistance doesn’t develop because each herb has many different mechanisms to effect improvement and cure. Look at his website and the many positive Amazon reviews by people who have successfully used them.

      • 2

        Good morning Cia,

        Yes, he is a great bio-scientist.  I learned about him from 2 different sources.  When I had Lyme Disease, had read as much as possible on it and Behner’s name was showing up.  Also, from a colleague who knew national broadcast commentator Dr Michael Savage of San Francisco, learned about Stephen Buhner.

        Buhner is not a prominent national name.  When interferring with huge pharmacies … Quinine is from a tree bark and was used for treating malaria. Some of the teas work wonders on treating illnesses.  The rest, as they say, is politics.

        I once did personal use research on the seaweeds … actually all the marine/acquatic botany forms … The oceanographers who helped me mentioned the Stephen Buhner name more than once. 

        Am now in the mood for my favorite botany product: coffee.

      • 4

        Thanks, Bob! Yes, he recommends specific protocols for many diseases which are difficult to treat allopathically. He has several go-to herbs like Japanese knotweed which I ordered and keep in the deep freeze. I’m taking cryptolepsis extract now for MRSA.