Top 7 Medicines for WTSHTF

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Thomas O’Connor, M.D. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

Let’s get right down to business. WTSHTF there will be no time to plan things out. There are no apps to give you notice for this event, so those who are prepared will be ready. Can TSHTF?  And when will this happen? Obviously, no one knows and for God’s sake, we all hope that this day never comes. This is not fear-mongering; rather, a calculated risk that even the most conservative consider possible and someday inevitable. This thought was enough to motivate an old-school Primary Care Doc like me to do something! I created the Survivor Doc division of my medical practice. My objective was to make sure people have a personalized supply of medicines to protect them from common medical conditions that can lead to death, if not treated early and properly.

During my residency training years in New York and Hartford CT, my teachers would use a classic pearl during rounds: “Common things are common, so when you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras”.

Let’s talk about horses. WTSHTF you better have the basics covered – that includes a supply of medications for common medical issues. Next, you better understand how to use them. From infectious diseases to deadly systemic reactions – you will need to be prepared.  Flu to systemic allergic reactions, I will discuss common, yet potentially deadly medical conditions and Top 7 Medicines that can protect you from getting sick WTSHTF.

Starting from the crown. A common cold, AKA- upper respiratory infection can lead to bacterial bronchitis, which can end up as a deadly bacterial pneumonia. The flu can kill rapidly as it can lead to a viral pneumonia and overwhelm the immune system via a “cytokine storm”.  Pneumonia is a common lung illness and rates are greatest in children younger than five and adults older than 75. Anyone with heart or lung disease is at greater risk for pneumonia. The best protection against pneumonia is to get vaccinated if you are at risk and to receive early and appropriate medical treatment. Treating the flu with anti-viral medication within 48 hours in addition to treating a bad cold that has led to a bacterial bronchitis at the appropriate time can be truly live saving events. If in fact you end up with a pneumonia, you BETTER have a broad spectrum respiratory antibiotic at your fingertips!

Top 7 Medicines for WTSHTF - The Prepper Journal

WTSHTF and you or your honey are bumbling around the basement trying to secure the necessities to hunker down and suddenly discover that in all the chaos, you have a significant laceration on your lower leg. This simple cut can lead to a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis and over only a few days can lead to serious trouble. This type of infection is seen every day in walk-in clinics throughout the United States and in most circumstances, does not pose any threat because of early and appropriate antibiotic treatment. First-line treatment for cellulitis is usually a beta-lactam antibiotic called a cephalosporin. Having the right type of anti-biotic is crucial and can definitely make the difference between life and death. Having a medication on hand based on a personal history with an expert Internist who understands and has experience with treating common medical conditions that can hurt you is key. From true drug allergies to a thorough history of your medical conditions and even details regarding, if and how long you were hospitalized in the past are very important factors in deciding exactly what antibiotic you will need to treat this and other specific medical conditions WTSHTF.  Remember, we are still talking horses. These are very common medical conditions that can lead to death if not treated appropriately and EARLY.

If TSHTF and you find yourself in a region that has infectious agents that can cause diarrhea, you better have anti-diarrheal and anti-biotic medications on-hand and understand when and how to use them. Educating people on this is quite simple- when talking to an experience Internist. Doctors at Travel Clinic’s around the world have been giving “travelers” prophylactic anti-biotics for potentially dangerous diarrhea for years. Why wouldn’t you have these live saving medicines in your armamentarium for WTSHTF? Again, having spent time reviewing your medical history, medications and drug allergies with an expert physician and having a personal supply of PERSONALIZED medications on hand, PRIOR to interfacing with any serious illness, is going to be your best chance of surviving WTSHTF.

Top 7 Medicines for WTSHTF - The Prepper Journal

A simple cut can lead to a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis and over only a few days can lead to serious trouble.

Are you or someone you love prone to urinary tract infections-UTIs? A simple UTI can be very uncomfortable and is easy to treat with a course of an appropriate anti-biotic. If not treated properly simple UTIs can lead to a bacterial infection of the kidney called Pyelonephritis. If this is not treated aggressively in the early stages, it may have to be treated in a hospital setting with intravenous broad spectrum anti-biotics. When these bacterial infections of the kidney or even an aggressive UTI are not treated appropriately and early they can lead to Uro-Sepsis. An overwhelming bacterial infection in the blood that can be deadly in many cases. Again, treating a simple UTI early with a specific anti-biotic regimen, based on your past medical and allergy history will be crucial to saving your live WTSHTF.

Top 7 Medicines for WTSHTF - The Prepper Journal

Injuries and illness will be prevalent in a SHTF scenario.

Anyone who has asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease-COPD knows that even a simple cold can be a nightmare. Treatment regimens for these conditions will require being prepared with anti-biotics in addition to rescue inhalers and in many instances a course of corticosteroids- Prednisone will be required. I regularly provide my patients with enough of these medications, so that if they are unable to get to the pharmacy or to see another doctor, they have enough of these lifesaving medications to get through for at least a week.

In the end, there are many medical issues that can arise when you are off the grid and WTSHTF. From a severe case of poison ivy to a skin rash of unknown cause or any systemic reaction to an allergen, having a medication called Prednisone on hand can make the difference between having a better quality of life to saving your life.

Medical conditions that you will need a Rx:

  • Upper respiratory infections– bacterial bronchitis and pneumonia that can lead to sepsis and will require an anti-biotic.
  • Flu– can be deadly and can lead to life-threatening pneumonia. Early treatment with an ant-viral will be required.
  • Skin infections from cuts, animal/snake bites or any break of the skin that is worsening – cellulitis will require an anti-biotic.
  • Severe skin reactions like poison ivy that need a local or systemic corticosteroid (Prednisone)
  • Severe diarrhea that requires an antibiotic – traveler’s diarrhea and bacterial food poisoning.
  • Urinary tract infections– can lead to kidney infection and uro-sepsis will require an anti-biotic.
  • Respiratory emergencies, e.g., asthma attacks and COPD that require a rescue inhaler and possible systemic corticosteroids
  • Systemic Allergic reactions of any type that will require a corticosteroid (Prednisone)

Lifesaving Rx:

  • Respiratory infection –personal antibiotic, rescue inhaler and systemic corticosteroid
  • Flu – Tamiflu Rx
  • Skin infection –personal antibiotic
  • Skin rashes, contact dermatitis –Potent topical corticosteroid Rx and Prednisone
  • Prednisone –multipurpose lifesaving medication for many emergency medical situations
  • Traveler’s diarrhea antibiotic – personal antibiotic
  • Urinary Tract Infection –personal antibiotic
  • Systemic Allergic reaction –prednisone and Epi-pen


The 7 medications for WTSHTF are based on a personal review with an expert physician and will cover:

  1. Anti-biotic for a common bacterial bronchitis or community acquired pneumonia. Azithromycin would be a good example for someone without an allergy to this medication . A full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  2. Medicine for Flu. Typically, Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) is used. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  3. Medicine for a Broad Spectrum anti-biotic for severe pneumonia, urinary tract infection, skin infection or gastrointestinal bacterial infection. Levaquin (Levofloxacin) is a great lifesaving anti-biotic for these medical situations. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  4. Medicine for a simple urinary tract infection or simple skin infection-cellulitis. Keflex (Cephalexin) and Bactrim (Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) are 2 classic anti-biotics used regally for these medical conditions. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  5. Rescue inhaler – a bronchodilator called Albuterol comes in a hand-held inhaler ready to use on the spot. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  6. Epinephrine Auto-Injector called EpiPen is a must for any medical allergic emergency. Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.
  7. Taper dose of oral glucocorticoid steroid called Prednisone. This is one the most important and universal lifesaving medication known to man! Again, a full medical history and list of medications, including allergies to medications is mandatory.

To summarize this article: There are a limited number of common medical issues that can lead to varying degrees of illness and death, if not treated early. Understanding these conditions and having these medications ON HAND BEFORE WTSHTF can definitely save your life!  No one would argue this, so see an expert physician or The Survivor Doc before WTSHTF.

Stay Strong, healthy and prepared.

Top 7 Medicines for WTSHTF - The Prepper Journal

About the Author:  My name is Thomas O’Connor, MD. I am a General Internal Medicine Physician and I came up with the concept of Survivor Doc when I realized that my patients wanted to be prepared for medical issues in case they get sick and have no access to a doctor or medications. From hunters, campers, leisurely traveling in the US or abroad to WTSHTF, my patients wanted to be ready!

I have been in private practice since 2005, when I was the first physician to start a retainer-based concierge medical practice directly out for residency training. Some say that I been a Visionary Physician with what I saw regarding patient service needs. Now I predict that the world is ready to integrate Telemedicine and Preparedness as is the scope set forth in The Survivor Doc.


DISCLAIMER: This article and any other articles by Thomas O’Connor, MD are strictly for educational purpose and never intended as medical advice!

This medical service is for emergency medical situations only and not intended as a substitute for personal medical/physician services. This service and any medications prescribed by Thomas O’Connor, MD or any Survivor Doc physicians will never substitute for emergency medical services and you are instructed to call 911 immediately when you are in any medical emergency. Medications and advice from Thomas O’Connor, MD or any Survivor Doc physicians will never be used for other persons not interviewed by said physician(s)- Thomas O’Connor, MD and or any Survivor Doc Physician. Medications and advice from Thomas O’Connor, MD or any Survivor Doc physicians will only be used as a last resort and when your life is in danger and these medications are being used for a life threatening medical issue only.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Tamiflu has some issues as do a few of these. I get you cannot make prescriptions on the net but given many might access these meds illegally common contraindications would help


You took the words from my mouth.. agree with you 100%.


I might have to do a rebuttal at some point. Epipen but no oral antihistamine. I’ll breath deep and move on. As the article says call 911


Hopefully they get there before the epi stops working in 10-20 mins. lol

Mikey Likey

If I walked into my F/P office and asked for several does of each, would they be inclined to say yes? I don’t want to sound too crazy. But, I really don’t want to hear, “Don’t worry, just come back if you need some. Oh, and do you have any firearms in your household?”


I’ll get my weapons and take what I need, Thanks’ for the list doc.


This article is useless because the Doc doesn’t provide any useful info on how to obtain the necessary drugs. Also flu is a bunch of crap, unless you have fallen for the CDC’s BS. And make no mistake, it is pure BS!!! This article gets one star only because I can’t give no stars!!! If you want real prepper info, see the book by Tess Pennington.


Curious about the CDC flu thingy. Generally I find it a decent source. Generally speaking antiviral meds for flu is a very bad idea unless the flu kills and you are over 30 and have zero mental issues. Even then I’d be careful. That said I have tamiflu. I thought the CDC was saying the same ?
The idea of antibiotics for flu to avoid a bacterial pneumonia is very odd. If you have end stage copd then maybe but I’d not rate your chances high in an shtf in that case.


My physician regularly prescribed an antibiotic for me (100+) to take if I got the flu, because I was so susceptible to bronchitis and pneumonia; Since the vaccines became available, they really helped in my incidence of infection, but I still keep the antibiotic around—just in case.

Danielle Webster

This article reads like a long advertisement for Survivor Doc. If you pay upwards of $500 he will call your prescriptions in to your local pharmacy. Useless.

paul crosley

I understand that some people need their meds. Most of the “conventional” pharma drugs have a counterpart in nature. Colloidal silver inhalers can combat lung infections. Oil of oregano is anti microbial. Crepe Myrtle , Loquat, Porterweed leaves are anti-diabetic if made into tea, and many more. Most diseased are not a deficiency of the latest drug.
70% of drugs are derived from plants, but since they can’t patent plants, they have to isolate specific chemicals to get patents and make billion$. Problem is most plants have multiple chemicals that work synergistically to have a beneficial effect.


Jim Henson went the non pharma route. There is a time and a place for prescription medications. Obviously in shtf anyone not using and knowing about locally sourced natural forms of medications is goi g to be in trouble.

paul crosley

So did Steve McQueen! Some people wait too long to get treated and not every disease is cureable. In SHTF it’s going to be hard to get commercial drugs so knowlege of “alternative” can help.


I completely agree


Would have been better had the Doc recommended otc meds which are readily available to us

Nelson Campbell

I do not know of any doctor that will prescribe antibiotics for future or potential use.They are hard enough to obtain when you really need them and the doctor knows it.And in a SHTF/EOTWAWKI scenario,I doubt anyone will be able to run down to the pharmacy and stock up.Which is why you need to know about alternatives.


Nelson, I asked my doctor and he was willing to write me prescriptions for antibiotics. Last November, while visiting my daughter in Maryland, I had swollen glands, it was difficult to swallow and I was coughing up green globs. I emailed him, explained my situation and what I had on hand (from him) and he told me what to take. My symptoms began clearing up almost immediately when I took the first two pills! I had azithromycin and cipro on hand, he said to take the azithromycin. Maybe I’m lucky in having a doctor who was willing to do this,… Read more »

Nelson Campbell

My doc will do the same for me.I even have his home number for emergencies.He is a wonderful doctor and sounds as if yours is also.What I am saying is that I really doubt he would give me presrciptions for multiple antibiotics so that I could stockpile them for a future catastrophic event that may not even happen,especially as these meds have expiration dates.

Randall Schreurs

If u want a dr to write 1-2 prescriptions for future use, first go to him/her REGULARLY (every 5-6 wks) for 7-10 months, so that s/he knows u as well as possible. If u have a history of abusing or selling RX’s, this likely won’t work, as dr’s are very reluctant to risk losing their lic to do an extra favor for a patient(s). But if u have a clean record, & have developed a good, honest, dialogue & relationship with him/her, then u begin to think about how to ask. If I asked for Rx’s for future, I’d be… Read more »

Randall Schreurs

Another option is to make a list a Rx’s u want/need, & take a trip to Mexico, where I’m told u can many, many med’s w/out a prescription.


The medications listed in this post are available in pharmacy stores across the border in Mexico. For my particular region, I go to Los Algadonas, which is just a few miles across the state line from Yuma, AZ on the California-Mexico border. People from all over the west (including winter snowbirds from God knows where) flock to this border town to stock up on prescription drugs at considerable savings. These towns would not exist if they had disreputable practices or sold inferior products. One thing you will quickly learn is how overpriced American pharmaceutical products are.

Nelson Campbell

Some medicines can be lethal if stored too long.So,stocking might keep you alive longer and might kill you sooner.


Ive always wondered about Diabetes. When the SHTF and you cant get meds for Diabetes, what are you supposed to do? 🙁

Nelson Campbell

You will die.

Randall Schreurs

Everyone in ICU or on electric life-support equipment, such as oxygen tanks, will die immediately or after their supply runs out. Make sure u have a shovel for burials.

Randall Schreurs

If u have a good relationship with ur dr, explain part of ur views & ask if s/he’ll give u a larger dose/prescription, so u can save some for the future. Another option is to ask for another diabetic med, but assure that dr that u will not take it unless shtf.

Sir Sam

Get a full medical history? For real? In a SHTF scenario? Ok, ok, so I get this history. What am I supposed to do with it? Is he really trying to help us or is simply trying to make a buck?

Sir Sam

I almost forgot. How are we supposed to take or use these meds? How much for how long? This is a waste of time! You can always go to other place online that give you these details. See Dr. Alton’s site, for example, which is called Doom and Bloom, I think.


“Consider having a serious discussion with your healthcare provider. Describe your concerns about not having needed medications in a disaster situation. You don’t have to describe the disaster as a complete societal collapse; any catastrophe could leave you without access to your doctor for an extended period.” Dr. Alton ‘s comment on obtaining needed prescription medications in planning for emergencies.

Thomas O'Connor

Thank you Molly. Dr Alton is definitely a great resource for people. Now the Survivor Doc can provide people with the medications for the medical situations he has been describing.

This is the next big thing in preventive medicine!

Stay Strong, Healthy and Prepared

Dr. O

Thomas O'Connor

Thank you for reading my article. Some interesting comments. Definitely take this article to your Doc and have him/her evaluate you for these medical conditions.

My Survivor Doc service is intended to provide people with medications prior to medical issues.

Thank you,

Stay strong, healthy and prepared,

Dr. O


I think some comments missed the point of the article. Notably, that, since it is possible to have a doctor take your history, and prescribe meds you will need if you are traveling to a third world country, going to camp, e.g. , it is possible to obtain this benefit if you are concerned about emergencies. Suvrvivor Doc seems to be an extension of this logic. The question of whether your doctor will provide this service is a separate issue. Anyone who thinks that herbs will do for them in a serious medical emergency what Rx meds will do is… Read more »


Just found this comment on Dr. Alton’s site. This respected source of medical information for preppers seems to be quite in line with Survivor Doc concept. “Consider having a serious discussion with your healthcare provider. Describe your concerns about not having needed medications in a disaster situation. You don’t have to describe the disaster as a complete societal collapse; any catastrophe could leave you without access to your doctor for an extended period.” Dr. Alton ‘s comment on obtaining needed prescription medications in planning for emergencies.


I can endorse these recommendations 100%. The good doctor is disseminating sound info here. I’ve had these medications (or analogs) in my own kit for years. One thing I might as is that if one is having to rough it in the wild, it’s likely that there will be contact with Flora that creates something contact dermatitis, e.g., handling a plant that then leads to a nasty rash…poison ivy/oak/sumac is an extreme example. Diphenhydramine 25 mg tablets (OTC) and a moderately potent topical corticosteroid preparation like Triamcinolone 0.1% cream is a way to treat this and not blow through the… Read more »

Thomas O'Connor

Great point! I agree that if you can treat a contact dermatitis early with aggressive washing and agents and then apply a strong topical steroid, one will in many circumstances avoid this getting worse. And of course hold off on using up the life saving Prednisone tabs. You and I both know that some people will have no choice but to use the Prednisone as this condition can be very severe for some people. Yes, add OTC meds like Benadryl is very important. Stay Strong Healthy and Prepared.

Dr O

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x