Month 5: Focus on Colds & Flu

Buy a Book:  

Because I deleted Where There Is No Doctor and Be Your Own “Doctor” from the monthly lists, I have 2 free months (5 & 9) that don’t have anything slotted.  You have a few options:

  1. go back through the months and pick up a book you wanted but couldn’t afford at the time
  2. work ahead and get books from Month 6, then continue working ahead
  3. Buy flower/herb identification guides, or perhaps a good edible plant guide if you don’t have one (suggestion: Forager’s Harvest)
  4. Buy another book that applies to you or your situation (for example, those living in a Lyme heavy area may consider Healing Lyme by Stephen Buhner)
  5. Skip buying books this month and Month 9 and focus on building up your supplies

It is completely up to you, what you would like to do.  No pressure from me.


elder berries

astragalus root if you don’t already have it

yarrow for fever

ginger, honey, lemon for ginger tea (I keep ginger & lemon in my fridge all cold & flu season, just in case)


I hate cold medicine.  But I understand that if the SHTF and you have a cold or the flu, sometimes having that DayQuil is means the difference between getting things done and not.  Sometimes we just don’t have the choice to stay in bed to get better.  On that note, stock up on



Tylenol Cold & Flu, TheraFlu, or Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Flu, or the like

fever reducer for kids and adults in appropriate formulations

cough syrup (have I mentioned Buckley’s?  It tastes nasty, but it works)


blood pressure cuff  here’s one for $13 from

To Do:

Make Super tonic (Be Your Own Doctor p 316)

Make hot echinacea tincture if you haven’t already (Be Your Own Doctor)  but be sure to use echinacea angustifolia rather than purpurea (more effective)


read the appropriate sections in Be Your Own “Doctor”

Read about a natural cough syrup and the whooping cough here (scroll down).

Read about natural cold & flu remedies here, also paying attention to the articles on the right.

For the Fish — (we mustn’t forget to keep our beloved tropical fish healthy)


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Month 4: Focus on Nervines, Muscles, & Eyecare

Buy a Book:  

If you may be caring for children, whether your own or someone else’s, add pediatric books here


How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor (beginner)

Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark (beginner)

Primary Child Care (intermediate/advanced)


Deep Tissue Oil or ingredients to make it (Be Your Own “Doctor”)

cayenne if you don’t have it already

chamomile (calming, and makes a good remedy for pink eye.  See


 castor oil (good quality from health food store)

wool flannel or cotton flannel, white if possible, for castor oil packs

Ben-Gay/Absorbine Junior/Bio Freeze if you use otc for muscle aches

epsom salt

inexpensive reading glasses, especially if you are or are coming upon “a certain age”

extra sunglasses — I like Foster Grants as they are well made, work well, and are cheap. Walmart carries them for $10, Walgreens for $15.  However, after several months the coating on the earpieces of the fashion sunglasses will start  to bubble.   My mother prefers Polar Optics, since that is what her doctor prescribed after my dad’s glaucoma surgery.  They are made by the same company that makes Foster Grants but don’t seem to have the same bubbling problem with wear.  They aren’t as fashionable as Foster Grants, though.   I just saw Polar Optics at Walmart’s vision center.

For the little ones, I like Frubi shades but I’m having trouble finding them now.   The only place I was able to find them was ebay.

eye cup

eye wash

To Do:

make nervine tincture (hops, valerian, wild lettuce)

make cayenne liniment for painful joints

make deep tissue oil


Care for a sprained or twisted ankle — look up the information in Where There Is No Doctor or Be Your Own “Doctor”

How to use castor oil packs for muscle relaxation in Be Your Own “Doctor”

For the Fish — (we mustn’t forget to keep our beloved tropical fish healthy)


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The levels of medical preparedness

I was reading on another site about Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, etc, and it got me to thinking about levels of preparedness.


I think it’s a good idea to not only define what we are preparing for, but also what level we are preparing to.  After some thought, here’s what I came up:


Level (Tier 1) — you want to reduce your visits to the doctor, increase your overall health, and be able to handle minor emergencies at home without having to run to the drugstore.  Medical services are fully operational and accessible.  Anything even remotely serious will be dealt with by your friendly doctor.  Mixing your own IV antibiotics at home?  Are you crazy?   Books:  American Medical Association Family Medical Guide, a family herbal


Level (Tier) 2 — Medical services are harder to come by.  Emergency services may be hours or days away.  Transport to a higher level of care is possible but difficult and/or expensive.  Doctor’s appointments may be weeks to months or longer.  Anything that can be handled at home, is, but serious problems are still sent out.  Think socialized medicine or no insurance.  Mixing your own IV antibiotics at home?  Um, no.  Serious problems still can be well handled by the hospitals, even though it may take awhile to get there.  Books:  Where there is no doctor


Level (Tier 3) — Medical services are scarce, and transport out, though possible, is very difficult and reserved for only the most serious cases.   Total economic collapse, EMP, civil war, pandemic.   Mixing your own IV antibiotics?  Probably not.  If he needs IV antibiotics, you’re still going to try to get him to a hospital.  Book:  Village Medical Manual


Level 4:  There is no transport out.  If you can’t do it at home or within your group, it doesn’t get done.  TEOTWAWKI.  Mixing your own IV antibiotics?  Well, he’s going to die without them, so if he’s important enough, you have enough of the supplies, and you are reasonably sure he will recover if he gets them, what’s there to lose?  Books:  Primary Surgery vols 1 & 2.  Primary Anasthesia.  War Surgery.


I think everyone should prep to at least Level 1.   People who call themselves prepping should be shooting for Level 2 or higher.


Writing it down like this has helped me to clarify things for myself.  I want to be fully prepped for one level and maybe starting on another, but not skipping randomly to Level 4 if I’m still working on Level 2, kwim?   I can better prioritize my preps this way, too.  It’s easy for me to get sucked into wanting the biggest, baddest tools and supplies I can get, but reality is that we will use Level 1 every year, Level 2 occasionally, and hopefully never be require to use Levels 3 & 4.  It makes sense, then, to begin prepping with the lower levels and move up only as there the lower levels are completed.


This is not to mean that you should spend a year prepping at each level, though that is certainly possible.  What I plan to do, is each month assess what I already have and what I would like to have.  Go in order of Level 1, Level 2, etc, until the budgeted money runs out.  There is no reason for me to have surgical implements if I don’t have means to get through the stomach flu, right?

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How Month 3 played out in my home

Well, this was an interesting month, but not in a medical prepping sort of way.

We found out, after an ER visit (first time dh’s ever been to the ER), that he had 3 hernias and needed surgery.  We scheduled it for a week and a half later and dh has been off work since then.  He goes back to the surgeon in another week, at which point he’ll have been off work for a month.

Luckily, he has good benefits and short term disability through work, so we didn’t lose any income other than overtime.

What with the surgery and recovery and all though, I didn’t get the medical prepping done that I’d wanted.  I made no Mountain Rose Herbs order.  I did buy the fish antibiotic, nitrile gloves at Sam’s… and I think that’s about it.  I already own Herbal Antibiotics (a great book, by the way!), grapefruit seed extract, a neti pot, triple antibiotic, etc, so I’m not doing too badly for this category.

I may still pick up the contractor bags at Walmart ($9.97 for 18), but I hesitate to buy things that are easy to find but heavy since we may be moving yet again this fall.

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Month 3: Focus on Infection & Quarantine

Buy a Book: 

Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd edition by Stephen Buhner (2012) or Herbal Antivirals by same, due out Sept 24, 2013 according to Amazon.

There are 2 editions of Herbal Antibiotics, the first one published in the 1990s.  Get the 2nd edition.  It is much, much better.

a used PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) a few years old is fine or a Nursing Drug Handbook (used also.  My version is 2004)

Note:  With the books bought in the first 3 months, you should be prepared to handle most any issues that will come up in your family, both in everyday situations and in more austere ones.


(read Herbal Antibiotics before deciding which of the herbs you’d like to buy.  These are the ones I personally want and don’t have local access to)

echninacea angustifolia *not* purpurea (immune booster)

cryptolepis sanguinolenta (systemic antibiotic herb)

sweet annie (artemisia annua) — systemic antibiotic herb

flax seed

oil of oregano (oregano essential oil) – several of my friends use a drop under the tongue to quickly get over an illness.  Honestly, I have no idea if it works, but I’m going to try it.  Approx $10 for 1/2 oz from Mountain Rose Herbs

I also like to use grapefruit seed extract in a neti pot to help clear up sinus infections

Supplies and Over the Counter:  

burn salve (a bit on the expensive side.  Can also use raw honey)

nitrile gloves — don’t use latex, as allergies can develop

activated charcoal

antibiotic ointment (many sources recommend not buying triple antibiotic ointment, as the neomycin can cause skin irritation)

isolation gowns, or large trash bags (see page 36 Improvised Medicine, available on Amazon’s Look Inside)

a good stethoscope, if you are more than a rank beginner.  A good stethoscope is used to check blood pressure, listen to lung sounds, heart beat, abdominal sounds.   The best stethoscope for the price, imho, is the UltraScope.   Check it out here for $41.  This is the brand I used when I was nursing, and I could hear better with it than a Littman.  A bonus is they have a fabulous warranty.  Mine is 7 or 8 years old and I want to replace the tubing that’s faded and get an extra set of ear pieces to have on hand.  It will cost me only $10 to make it like new again, and that’s merely to pay shipping.  When I lost one of the earpieces a few years ago, the company sent me a new set free of charge.

To Do: create forms for medical record keeping–

   assessment and progress notes (keep a record of what the injured area looks like, or what  the complaint is.  Also write down what you do to help heal, and make notes with the date as it improves or worsens.  Doctors don’t rely on their memories, and neither should you.)  Just a simple notebook page with the patient’s name at the top, and the date, is fine.  You can make it like a journal entry, or be more specific and use SOAP (subjective findings, objective findings, assessment and plan.   Here is a good introduction)  Whatever you do, use abbreviations and terminology that you understand and will understand next month.  Don’t use TID if you can never remember if it means Twice per Day or Three times per Day

     Medication Administration Record (MAR) — write down what medication or herb you are giving, the dosage, and how often it should/can be administered.  Write down also what time you give the dose.  You can also use this for dressing changes.  I’ll go further into this in a later post, but every time we get sick I make up a simple MAR to remind myself when the next dose of herbs/meds is due, and to remember when I gave the last dose.  Otherwise I’m stuck thinking “did I give that noon dose of Tylenol, or was that at 2:30?”


abscess, incision, and drainage videos (youtube)

read p 80-89 in Where There Is No Doctor — cleaning wounds, wound care, how to recognize infection, and when and how to close a wound

video on how to remove mask, gown, and gloves to reduce contamination (youtube)

For the Fish — (we mustn’t forget to keep our beloved tropical fish healthy)


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How Month 2 played out in my home

Buy a Book:  

general family medical books

I already have the AMA Family Medical Guide (got it at Goodwill) so I instead bought Village Medical Manual, a book that I just found out about last month.  If you think you may ever be in a third-world type situation, this is a great book to get.  It is for educated people, but not medically educated.  If you are clueless when it comes to medical things (the way I am with mechanical), then don’t get this book.  If you feel you have a decent handle on how the body works, then give it a look.


lavender essential oil
peppermint essential oil
bottles and droppers for tinctures
ashwaghanda (immune booster)

I bought 4 oz of cloves, and had lavender and peppermint essential oil on hand already.  I didn’t place an order from Mountain Rose Herbs so didn’t get the ashwaghanda or bottles/droppers.

To Buy: 

acetaminophen (Tylenol)
ibuprofen (Motrin)
naproxen sodium (Aleve)
Percogesic — original formulation — if you are lucky enough to find it

I bought extra aspirin and tylenol and decided to pass on the motrin and aleve this go round.  My dh is allergic and I ran out of money for prepping this month, so I didn’t feel that spending on something that doesn’t benefit us all was the best use of my my money.  Still haven’t been able to find the original formulation of Percogesic, but I do have a single bottle on the shelf.

At the end of the month (I’m posting a month behind, so this was actually my June month) we found clearance BC Powder at Goodwill.  I bought 10 boxes for $1.99 each.  My dh relies on this stuff several times a week.


Alcohol for tincture making (Everclear, rum, brandy, not rubbing alcohol)

I was hoping to be able to purchase more Everclear this month, but alas, ’twas not to be.  I used some of my Everclear on hand to make an Eleuthero tincture.

For the Fish –  (we mustn’t forget to keep our beloved tropical fish healthy)


got it.

Money didn’t seem to go as far this month as it usually does. I think it was the Village Medical Manual, because that used up almost half of my budget.  In my opinion, it was well worth the purchase price, though.

I also see that Doom and Bloom has come out with a 2nd edition of their Survival Medicine Handbook.  From the accounts I’ve read, it’s been much improved, so if you buy it make sure to get the new edition.

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Master list of med prep books

Since some might be haunting used book stores or Goodwill and want to pick up books as they find them (like me!), I thought it would be a good idea to post a master list of books to be on the lookout for. 

I also want to remind you (and myself) to keep an open mind.  Though the categories I think are sound, the specific books are only suggestions.   There may very well be better books for your situation that I’m not aware of.  Just this month, I discovered a book called Village Medical Manual.  I’ve been an RN for 5 years and prepping for 15 and I’ve never heard of this book, yet it’s much more in depth and comprehensive than Where There Is No Doctor.

This morning dh and I went garage saleing (is that even a word?) and I found The 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 2010 edition, for a whopping 20 cents.  I looked it over, found I could understand most of it, and shelled out the money.  Score!  This is not a book I would ever put on a recommended list because the newer editions are expensive and it is written for Nurse Practitioners or Doctors, not your average Joe, but it suits me just fine.

I’ve asterisked those books in the list that I feel are must-haves.  IOW, if I could only have a few books, these are the ones I’d choose for all around medical care for my family.
A good medical-help-isn’t-easy-to-come-by-but-I-do-have-some-resources medical book** Where There Is No Doctor (Beginner)
Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First Aid by William Forgey.
Medicine for the Outdoors (Paul Auerbach) (Beginner/Intermediate).
Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook (Intermediate/Advanced) Wilderness Medicine (textbook) by Paul Auerbach (Advanced)Village Medical Manual: A Layman’s Guide to Health Care in Developing Countries (Beginner/Intermediate — don’t get this if you have no clue about anything medical, but if you consider yourself well educated and fairly medical savvy, it’s a top choice)A general herbal.

** Be Your Own “Doctor” by Rachel Weaver
Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use (Beginner)


** Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd edition by Stephen Buhner (2012) (don’t get the 1st edition)
or Herbal Anti-Virals by same, due out summer 2013
a used PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference)  or Nursing Drug Handbook
Survival medicine book.
Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook (beginner)
** 101 Ways to Save on Health Care (Beginner)
When There Is No Doctor (Beginner — not to be confused with WHERE There Is No Doctor)
Improvised Medicine (intermediate)
Special Operations Medical Manual (intermediate/advanced)
Village Medical Manual: A Layman’s Guide to Health Care in Developing Countries (Beginner/Intermediate — don’t get this if you have no clue about anything medical, but if you consider yourself well educated and fairly medical savvy, it’s a top choice)  I’m putting this in twice, under both this and the first category, because it is such a good book. It could easily apply to both categories.
Another one to research is Armageddon Medicine (approx $80 from  (Beginner)
general family medical books
** American Medical Association Family Medical Guide
The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases
** Where There is No Dentist
Pediatric book 
How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor (beginner)
Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark (beginner)

Pediatric textbook (intermediate/advanced)

a local herbal with plants specific to your area, not a general herbal

Backyard Medicine:  Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies (Beginner)

Male or Female specific herbal


 A book for Midwives (Hesperian Foundation)
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
Mental Health:
inspirational books, puzzle books, Hoyle’s Book of Rules, spiritual book of your tradition, or go back through the months and fill in any gaps
Medical Dictionary (Stedman’s or Mosby’s)
Holistic Anatomy or an anatomy textbook
Dermatology atlas (for rashes)
The Merck Manual (not for the beginner)
The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook
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