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Investigative Report: Do Antibiotic Expiration Dates Matter?

Do expiration dates matter?

This is part 2 in our special series about antibiotics controversies. See part 1, about fish antibiotics for humans, here.

by Leigh Ann Hubbard

The expiration date is not a magic number. This is one of the first things preppers (preparedness-minded people) learn when they start stockpiling. Shelf-stable products tend not to suddenly go rancid on the stamped date. Sometimes they last a long time after that.

Their quality, however, may begin to decrease. A can of vegetables that’s a while past its date may not taste as good. A supplement may be less potent. An antibiotic may not work as well.

The first two situations won’t necessarily kill you. That last one? It could. If the antibiotic doesn’t pull its weight, you’re at the mercy of the infection—which, thanks to that weak medicine you just took, has likely mutated into an antibiotic-resistant strain. Whoops.

So as a prepper, if you store antibiotics, should you immediately replace them when they’re expired? It’s a much-discussed topic online since antibiotics aren’t like ibuprofen. If they don’t work exactly right and you’re in a survival situation, it’s bad news. Really bad news.

Some [… continue reading]

Investigative Report: Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Fish Antibiotics for Humans

Special Investigative Report: Do Fish Antibiotics Work Well in Humans? | The Survival Doctor

I asked the editor of The Survival Doctor, Leigh Ann Hubbard (a professional journalist and my daughter), to investigate fish antibiotics for use in humans. Here’s her in-depth report. (Don’t miss our related report: Do antibiotic expiration dates matter?)

by Leigh Ann Hubbard

When you’re in a pinch, everyday items can substitute for many traditional medical supplies: honey for cough syrup, vodka for rubbing alcohol, a T-shirt and safety pin for a sling.

But there are a few must-have lifesavers nothing can replace. One is oral antibiotics.

When antibiotics came on the scene in the 1940s, they changed the world. Suddenly, with one little medicine—penicillin at the time—more people could survive serious bacterial infections like staph and strep. Antibiotics brought hope, health, and life.

Today, we have many types of antibiotics that work for different bacterial infections. If we lost access to them, we’d revert to the time when people died for lack of a pill. So it’s common for preppers to stock up on a round.

The challenge is these meds are only available through prescription. Some doctors will prescribe antibiotics for survival storage. But another option many preppers explore is [… continue reading]

Measles Outbreak 2015: What’s the Big Deal?

Measles outbreak 2015: What's the big deal? This is. | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Every year we have a few measles outbreaks in the U.S., but they’re still pretty limited to a few hundred people. You’ve probably heard about the most recent one that started in Disneyland and may have led to over 100 people getting the measles so far in 2015.

The worry is the outbreaks are going to get more frequent and bigger, and that’s not just because of people coming to the U.S. from countries where fewer children are vaccinated, as some have speculated. The percentage of children getting vaccinated in the U.S. is down to 91 percent. Compare that to 89 percent in Mexico, for example, and you can see there’s not a lot of difference.

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How Long Do Flu Symptoms Last? 10 FAQs

How long do the flu symptoms last? Here are more flu answers from The Survival Doctor:

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Doc, how call I tell the flu from a cold? Should I get seen? How long do the flu symptoms last?

Both online and in clinic, I get a lot of questions about the flu. In this post I’ll answer some of the most commonly asked.

Q: How do I know if I have the flu?

A: When seeing a patient for aches, pains, and fever, here are some of the clues that make me think I’m dealing with the flu:

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The Top 10 Most Popular Posts About Surviving Colds and the Flu

The Top 10 Most Popular Posts About Surviving Colds and the Flu | The Survival Doctor

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by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

The difference between cold and flu symptoms is somewhat a question of severity. Whereas a cold may make you feel like you’ve just run a race, the flu makes you feel like someone beat you with a baseball bat along the way. A cold can make you ache and feel fatigued. You can feel miserable and even run a low-grade fever or 100 F or so. But the flu puts you in the bed (where you should be). If you don’t listen to your body and take care of yourself, you could end up in the hospital. People die from the flu.

Just in time to celebrate the upcoming cold and flu season, here are my most popular posts about surviving colds and the flu for 2014.

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Sensation-Free Ebola Facts: What We Know and What We Don’t

Sensation-Free Ebola Facts: What We Know and What We Don’t | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

In the medical field, other than death, nothing is absolute. One radio interviewer told me recently he would never be comfortable about the Ebola risks until we knew absolutely everything about it and there was zero risk for everyone. Guess what. He’s never going to be comfortable.

Part of the Ebola fear fuel in America right now is the fact that we don’t know everything about this disease. And when questions arise, people come out of the woodwork with answers, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. Often, their answers boil down to: Well, we don’t know, but maybe, and if so, yikes!

All I know to do is go with what we do know now. As with any disease, we can ask: How much at risk are we? Can we can change any of our actions to reduce our risk? Is it worth it to us to change those actions? And if what we know changes, we can reassess the risk.

The facts, for now, Oct 20, 2014:

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3 Childhood Illnesses That Cause Swollen Necks

3 Illnesses That Cause Swollen Necks

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

When you’re sick and go to the doctor, one of the first things we often do is feel your neck. We’re looking for swelling in certain places, which can indicate an infection.

So if your child gets sick and you’re unable to get expert help, if there’s swelling in the neck, that can give you clues about what’s going on.

[… continue reading]

4 Common Causes of Coughs in Kids—With a Printable Chart

4 Common Causes of Coughs in Kids—With a Printable Chart | The Survival Doctor

Part 2 in my childhood charts series. See more charts here.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

This is part two of my series about tips on recognizing childhood illness. Last time, I talked about illnesses with rashes. This time, it’s illnesses that come with bad coughs.

[… continue reading]

Disease-Scare Burnout? 4 Action Tips to Help Prevent Almost Any Infection

Disease-Scares. Best Tips Everyone Can Do To Prevent Any Infection Any Time.

Disease scares getting you down? 4 action-based tips you can take other than just worry.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Scares … can be quite scary. And the scarier the news, the more it sells. So headlines emphasize the worst scenario.

A few years back, a producer of a popular television program told me their crew called this phenomenon of headlining the latest bad health news their “scare of the week.”

Well, OK, they’ve scared us. Now what do we do?

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12 Things You Must Know About Ebola

Ebola Risks and Air Travel

Ebola Facts, Risks, and Air Travel

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Ebola is highly contagious and kills nine out of 10 people infected. So, why do I think headlines like USA Today’s “Ebola only a plane ride away from USA.” paint the wrong picture? Now that I think of it, why does my first sentence do the same? It’s all about perspective.

First, a little background.

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