Dr. Allen shares his thoughts…………

The following comes from a comment posted by Dr. Allen in response to a recent post – Survivalist First Aid Kits: What Do I Need? I appreciate Dr. Allen’s willingness to share his thoughts and expertise. – Rourke


The postings for a “first aid kit” have been of interest with some of them of concern.


Only FYI and substantiation: my training/experience has been rather extensive both in years (13 in training and (37) “on site application” years in in Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, on site in Mexico missions to the “shack” and “garbage dump” patients; Haitians just after their earthquake; “under the bridge – (literally)” patients in Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas; and male and female inmates in Texas. So you may take the offered information for what it may be worth.

There will be differences of professional opinion among health care individuals as to correct and proper diagnosis and treatments due to many factors – mainly what is called “standard-of-care” recommendations from our various state and federal licensing boards.


1. You might ask your physician/pcp for a written prescription for your medications to mail to Canada for “backup”. And let your pcp know why. Such as for disaster backup.


2. You should ask your pharmacist what the most distant date of effectiveness is for your medications – assuming they are refrigerated they may well last much longer than the “expiration date”. Most medications have a “half-life” of reasonable effectiveness and potency and many are able to be “stored” to enable extension of said effectiveness/potency.


If you do obtain your necessary medications in greater quantity then you should ROTATE them – first in-first out.


3. ONLY ONLY ONLY utilize different medications in the same class IF your pcp/pharmacist agree. DO NOT change/stop taking or utilize another person’s “similar” medication. You risk significant adverse side effects if you do not.


4. Contrary to much anecdotal information on the Internet – herbs/minerals/vitamin supplements/and any other “wonder” preparations are just that – anecdotes (personal stories of some sort of verification/effectiveness). Whether you agree or do not agree with the pharmaceutical companies/FDA – usually much time and money is allocated to determine the many qualifications necessary to approve use of pharmaceuticals in humans. There are too many such stories of success with alternates that FAIL in the light of accurate measurement to list – in my own experience.


5. Please do not assume you can read a book and – somehow – vicariously know what to do in a disaster/survival situation. You can gain the experience – but gradually. Audit classes, take available online courses in anatomy/physiology/pharmaco-therpeutics/trauma – especially trauma.


Begin with CERT, American Red Cross training, volunteer in an ER (if allowed in your community) – ask pcp, emt/ems, nursing, military medics; for help. Most are very willing to teach – if asked correctly.


Read and obtain reasonable supplies in case there is a trained person available who will need those supplies.

Last – everything (that reads EVERYTHING) is contaminated with bacteria/virus/fungus/spores unless labeled and dated as “sterility guaranteed unless opened”.
Soap is great – but the water, your hands, the bandages/ointment/environment may well not be sterile.


Also FYI – there are no companies or any government agencies with which I have affiliation.


Hope this is of assistance and email if there are individual questions or concerns.


Dr. Allen



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  1. I appreciate the remark about EVERYTHING being contaminated. Lots of things may be clean, but very few are sterile. And, once you open a sterile package in a non-sterile environment, it is no longer sterile. Clean, but not sterile.

  2. All good advise, I’ve ignored medical preps… shame on me. I’ve bought a few books, including “When There’s No Doctor” but haven’t read a page. I’ve had some first aid training and CPR training, I asked the instructor for the “emergency tracheostomy with a pen” training, he declined. Guess I need to put some effort in on this, so much to do, so little time.

  3. Thank you Dr Allen for your expertise.Thank you for giving your medical time to so many
    of those who must have needed it so desperately. I appreciated all of your suggestions and I will follow up on a few of them. Arlene
    PS I am giving talks on basic preparedness in local churches,libraries etc as part of my
    service to others and I will include some suggestions that you offer if thats scceptable to you and Rourke.

  4. Dr Allen, thank you for the information which will be helpful in that I am just beginning to put away first aid and medical supplies. I wonder what the chances are of getting an extra prescription for meds from the VA?

  5. JohnP
    Prescription meds and their refillability depend upon multiple variables. Such as stability (will they be is a very cool environ, how long will they stay sealed and away from light, what is their effective half-life, is there a more stable yet effective alternative medication, etc)
    Whether the VA or any other entity would be willing is an unknown until they are presented with the request. You may be planning an extended excursion/vacation/away training and may then need additional medication, or you can present your opinion on disaster preparation and request additional.
    Alternatively you could ask for a written prescription for 90 days plus 3 refills and have a garage sale and mail the Rx to Canada for a generic.
    A few of the pharmaceutical companies actually give various medications “free” to those they determine to be qualified.
    Hope this is helpful as there are few health care advocates on your side.

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