The Survival Medicine Handbook by Joseph and Amy Alton


The Living Force
Hey guys, Ennio had told me about this book, The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for when help is NOT on the way by Joseph and Amy Alton. It's a really good summary of medical knowledge, as well as a guide to the attitude and spirit of medicine. It offers a serious look at how to prepare for a collapse situation, suggests training, things to stockpile, and acts as a reference for a whole of common conditions and how to treat them. They keep things simple, and it can seem overwhelming, but it's a useful thing to have and to read through. After reading the first bit of it I thought I'd put together a very simplified note to publish on facebook. I've included it here as well. It's a amalgam of generalized advice that I tend to give out frequently, feel free to republish it anywhere.

Luck Favors the Prepared...
...or an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I know a lot of folks who are sick lately, so I wanted to put together a general sort of guide to help prevent folks from having to suffer avoidable illness. It's also that time of year that the plants start spewing pollen everywhere and that tends to make me miserable, so here's some good ways to avoid and deal with that problem as well.

Vitamin C. I get this in powdered form from the Westerly on 54th and 8th, but any health food or vitamin store should have it. You can always order it online if you don't live near one. The stuff is amazing. It's an essential nutrient in your body's biochemistry, there's at least 8 different enzymatic reactions that need it to happen. These included making collagen (keeping your skin healthy), moving fatty acids into Mitochrondria (especially important for Ketogenic folks), manufacture of neurotransmitters (keeping your mind and brain healthy), and it also gets used up rapidly whenever you suffer an infection or an injury.

Dosing: I take 5 grams twice a week for general maintenance. If you're feeling off, or tired, or a little sniffly it helps to take 5 grams in water daily. It's non toxic, so don't worry about an overdose. You can cut the tart taste out with a little lemon juice and stevia or xylitol and it goes down like lemonade.

Echinacaea: This is a natural herb which has been associated with increases in the performance of the immune system. I take it like a natural antibiotic, so if I'm feeling weird I'll take 1-2 400mg tabs a day until I feel better. The scientific jury is out on how it works or even if it works, but Great Plains indians used it for thousands of years, so I'll take that testimonial over the mainstream medical establishment's word any day.

Vitamin D: I take D3 from Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, this is more important in the winter months, but again, you can't overdo it. It's presence in the body turns on genes associated with antimicrobial activity. This is one of the few known genes that codes for short-chain peptides which can bust open bacterial cells. I also find that high concentrations in my blood stream makes me happy, so it's like a natural antidepressant.

It's also a natural anti inflammatory. It modulates immune responses by slowing down B-cell growth and promoting the expression of regulatory cytokines, in english, that means it calms down your immune system. Useful for spring time if your allergies are acting up.

Granted, you can get it from sunlight, but to get enough you want to be 20 minutes in the sun, lightly clad, a day. If you're not getting that, supplement.

Diet: Are you still eating gluten? A lot? Every once in awhile? Yikes. Stop that. Gluten metabolizes into opioid-like compounds, meaning you basically have heroin problem on a much smaller, chronic scale. It's also proinflammatory, in everyone. Which means your immune system will be more likely to overreact and get stressed, making you much more likely to succomb to infections when they strike. I'm willing to bet that the thought of cutting it down or giving it up makes your brain shout NOOOOO! followed by a list of reasons why gluten is totally fine for you. That's your biochemistry hi-jacking your thinking.

That's all I'm gonna say about it, but if you want preventative measures, that's a big one.

Are you getting enough fat? Probably not. Ever since the 90s we've been inundated with the how bad fat is for you message. The common misconception is that fat makes you fat and contributes to heart disease. It's a lie. In point of fact, fat is actually the bodies preferred fuel, in the brain and in your mitochondria (energy-making cellular organs). Great sources of fat include organ meats, bone broth, butter, and bacon. The bone broth is high in a lot of trace minerals and essential nutrients as well, and thinking logically, if you're eating bone marrow and cartilage you're body will have an easier time making more marrow and more cartilage.

An important caveat here is that you simultaneously decrease your carbohydrate intake. Carb's spike your insulin, giving you a energetic high followed by a low. The more easier to break down, the faster and harder the spike. It's tough on your liver and it's also not good if you're trying to loose weight. Sugar is a real bad one and it's associated with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndromes and autoimmune issues.

Also important, avoid GMO vegetables and fruits as well as stuff coated in pesticides. This is one reason why shopping organic is worth it. Organic means non-GMO in the US, at least as of this writing. Pesticides are neurotoxic, and their affect on folks will vary, but keeping yourself healthy is about minimizing risks and maximizing efficiency. For my red meats, I get grass-fed & grass finished moo cow, this helps with the meat having the proper omega 3-6-9 ratios and in general the animals tend to be better treated and healthier than their factory-farmed counterparts.

Exercise: Most NYCers get a good amount. The gay community here is also big into the gym and having the sexiest body possible. My research has shown that small amounts of moderate resistance and cardio is all you really need to maintain your health and limit the affects of aging. It can be as simple as doing 20-30 pushups 2-3x a week, walking a lot, utilizing the stairs, and bike riding. Coincidentally, that's what I do!

I want to take a moment to comment on steroid use. Steroids artificially hijack your bodies natural biochemistry and force it to do something it can do naturally but without the proper controls. They cause a host of problems down the line, organ issues, neurochemical imbalances, difficulties with testosterone production to name a few. Increasing oxidative stress is another big one that leads to organ damage (this means that your body is working hard, overtime, throwing off 'radical' electrons all willy-nilly inside your cells which hit things and cause damage on the cellular level). Oxidative stress is a huge factor in cancer formation and aging in general.

There's a lot of simple, natural ways to build your muscle and maximize your sexiness factor without juicing. For example, if you fast, 1 day a week, for 24 hours, your body's natural biochemistry will up the level of human-growth hormone (HGH) 2000% in men, and 1300% in women on average. Testosterone is also a naturally manufactured steroid-like hormone. Interesting fact: Your body makes testosterone and a whole host of other hormones from cholesterol. Resistance training+Cholesterol in your diet=Testosterone. It's really that easy.

Mental health and stress: Stress is unavoidable and it affects everyone. We get different doses and have different levels of psychological and physiological susceptibility, but stress has been correlated with illness. Your mind and body are connected, so if you're having a mentally tough time with whatever is before you it's only a matter of time until that affects your health physically. There's a lot of different ways to manage that, talking it out with someone whom your trust seems to be very beneficial. This can be a friend or a professional or a family member. You can also meditate.

The program I like is called Eiriu Eolas, which means Growth of Knowledge in Irish-Gaelic. My favorite author, Laura Knight-Jadczyk came up with this combination of different breathing techniques which stimulate the vagus nerve. It's also known as the wandering nerve and starts at your brainstem, travels down your neck and touches every organ system in your body. Simulating it induces an relaxed awareness and helps with emotional processing. A lot of my personal growth is due to this program specifically, and it's helped me release emotional trauma from my youth as well as deal with stressful interpersonal situations as an adult. They offer the entire program for free on their website, check google, give it a try.

Stay healthy, happy and prepared!
Funny as I just watched "The Physician". About the movie:


In Persia in the 11th Century, a surgeon's apprentice disguises himself as a Jew to study at a school that does not admit Christians.

When nine-year-old Rob Cole felt the life force slipping from his mother's hand he could not foresee that this terrifying awareness of impending death was a gift that would lead him from the familiar life of 11th-century London to small villages throughout England and finally to the medical school at Ispahan. Though apprenticed to an itinerant barber surgeon, it is the dazzling surgery of a Jewish physician trained by the legendary Persian physician Avicenna that inspires him to accept his gift and to commit his life to healing by studying at Avicenna's school. Despite the ban on Christian students, Rob goes there, disguising himself as a Jew to gain admission. Gordon has written an adventurous and inspiring tale of a quest for medical knowledge pursued in a violent world full of superstition and prejudice.

It was actually a bad movie. But the recreation of that time period was really great and... they recreated the Black Death which looked pretty realistic until the writer added the rat/flea nonsense into it. Summarizing the medical knowledge until those days, it was pretty clear that the ancients knew this was something spread through the air. The recreation of the bubons was also way too realistic... Slow horrifying death :/

Okay, slightly off-topic, but reading your summary is like yeah... that is the kind of short summary that could be handed down in advance of an outbreak. Short and straight to the point ;)
Hi Puck. Thanks for posting "The Survival Medicine Handbook" by Joseph and Amy Alton. I sent the 2 first aid manuals back that I got and ordered the above instead. The first aid manuals did not cover close to what the survival handbook covers. It is the smart thing to be prepared.
Almost finished reading it and I highly recommend getting it. It isn't an especially big volume, and at $35 U.S. it's kind of pricey, but the information in it is very valuable because, as Puck mentioned, the authors have really thought through a number of concerns and likely problems that will arise in addressing the adequate application of first aid in a collapse situation (which seem likely to occur soon on a number of fronts).

First though, if you haven't yet, do have a listen to this SOTT blog talk radio discussion: Surviving the End of the World (as we know it). A lot of what's discussed there is reiterated nicely in the book. One point that both the show and book repeat is the work involved in taking care to prevent as many maladies as possible by maintaining good health in the first place because modern medical facilities may be, at best, completely overwhelmed if they are operating at all.

Along these lines the authors of TSMH stress the importance of paying attention to consistent physical Hygiene thereby preventing any of the number of different bacterial and viral illnesses, as well as injuries, that we will be more vulnerable to.

Another thing the book provides is information on the symptoms to various conditions and how to treat them using both stockpiled medications as well as herbs and natural cures. It also goes into some depth about a good number of infections, how dangerous they can become, and what to do or take in the event that an injury or sickness would be likely to spread infection - internally, and in some cases, to those around you.

There is one chapter on the different types of antibiotics that are usually prescribed for things, when to use them, and how much to use. But because antibiotics
will likely be less available during a collapse situation there are a number of antibiotics that have equivalents sold for pets like fish and birds that have the same ingredients and do not require a Doctor's prescription. Less expensive too.

TSMH isn't exhaustive - it can't be - but it does seem to cover A LOT of ground for it's size. It also has a list in the back for references to other material.

In a few instances the authors get it wrong about diet as it affects certain conditions but these are pretty easy to spot for anyone who's been reading the threads on diet, ketosis, fat and carb intake, etc.

All in all a good book that could be extremely helpful I think.

I found that article worth copying, printing out and keeping close to hand. Thanks, Puck!
Np Buddy!

I did leave out getting adequate rest. That's a biggie.

Downloaded that Podcast to give a listen to as well.
One of the most interesting chapters in the book concerns the stockpiling of medicines, and antibiotics in particular. Given the discussions on diet, stress as it affects health, and all the many related topics that help prevent falling ill to begin with, one hopes that they will never need to rely on prescription medication to get through something. Having said that, one of the fallbacks to getting over something may sometimes have to be antibiotics. Especially in cases of serious infection.

The authors take care to mention the potential uses and widespread abuses of antibiotics but advocate the purchase of antibiotics used for pet fish (as one would keep in a home aquarium) for a relatively inexpensive and accessible source of medicines.

Having recently watched a documentary on the subject of fisheries overuse of antibiotics worldwide, and the mutations and sicknesses that occur in fish as a result I was a bit leery of the idea. But it seems that the fish farmed and fed antibiotics are gorging out on the stuff and, probably, don't need it to begin with according to some experts. And that may have little to do with the judicious use of the stuff in any case.

The TSMH authors have a website with an article on the subject:


How To Use Fish-Mox (to treat your sick fish, of course)

(As the main proponent of aquatic antibiotics as alternatives in times of trouble, I have discussed these medications but do not sell them. If you are interested in antibiotics to treat your sick fish, consider visiting, where they have a wide variety of aquatic and avian medication for purchase at reasonable prices. Click the link.)

Aquatic Antibiotics

Over the years, I have discussed the importance of having a stockpile of antibiotics to deal with the common infections that we might encounter in a survival situation. Simple activities of daily survival, such as chopping wood, could easily cause injuries that could be contaminated with bacteria. Today, we have access to antibiotics through our healthcare providers that nip problems in the bud. Unfortunately, these “minor” issues can become life-threatening if we are denied such access: Skin infection bacteria could enter the blood, causing “septicemia”. In the past, this was not uncommon as a cause of death.

Stockpiling Aquatic Antibiotics

Therefore, it’s important to accumulate antibiotics. I have told you about my experiences as an aquacukturist (tilapia at present) and the availability of aquatic and avian antibiotics that can be used to treat your sick “fish” in times of trouble. The classic example I have used is Fish-Mox (Amoxicillin 250mg) and Fish-Mox Forte (Amoxicillin 500mg). Some of you may have purchased some for your medical supplies, but do you know when and how to use this medication?

Amoxicillin (veterinary equivalent: FISH-MOX, FISH-MOX FORTE, AQUA-MOX): comes in 250mg and 500mg doses, usually taken 3 times a day. Amoxicillin is the most popular antibiotic prescribed to children, usually in liquid form. It is more versatile and better absorbed and tolerated than the older Pencillins, and is acceptable for use during pregnancy.

Ampicillin (Fish-Cillin) and Cephalexin (Fish-Flex) are related drugs. Amoxicillin may be used for the following diseases:

Anthrax (Prevention or treatment of Cutaneous transmission)

Chlamydia Infection (sexually transmitted)

Urinary Tract Infection (bladder/kidney infections)

Helicobacter pylori Infection (causes peptic ulcer)

Lyme Disease (transmitted by ticks)

Otitis Media (middle ear infection)

Pneumonia (lung infection)


Skin or Soft Tissue Infection (cellulitis, boils)

Actinomycosis (causes abscesses in humans and livestock)

Tonsillitis/Pharyngitis (Strep throat)

You can see that Amoxicillin is a versatile drug. It is even safe for use during pregnancy, but all of the above is a lot of information. How do you determine what dose and frequency would be appropriate for which individual? Let’s take an example: Otitis media is a common ear infection often seen in children. Amoxicillin is often the “drug of choice” for this condition. That is, it is recommended to be used FIRST when you make a diagnosis of otitis media.
Before administering this medication, however, you would want to determine that your patient is not allergic to Amoxicillin. The most common form of allergy would appear as a rash, but diarrhea, itchiness, and even respiratory difficulty could also manifest. If you see any of these symptoms, you should discontinue your treatment and look for other options. Antibiotics such as Azithromycin or Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (Bird-Sulfa) could be a “second-line” solution in this case.

Once you have identified Amoxicillin as your treatment of choice to treat your patient’s ear infection, you will want to determine the dosage. As Otitis Media often occurs in children, you might have to break a tablet in half or open the capsule to separate out a portion that would be appropriate. For Amoxicillin, you would give 20-50mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight (20-30mg/kg for infants less than four months old). This would be useful if you have to give the drug to a toddler less than 30 pounds.

A common older child’s dosage would be 250mg and a common maximum dosage for adults would be 500 mg three times a day. Luckily (or by design), these dosages are exactly how the commercially-made aquatic medications come in the bottle. Take this dosage orally 3 times a day for 10 to 14 days (twice a day for infants). All of the above information can be found in the Physician’s Desk Reference.

If your child is too small to swallow a pill whole, you could make a mixture with water (called a “suspension”). To make a liquid suspension, crush a tablet or empty a capsule into a small glass of water and drink it; then, fill the glass again and drink that (particles may adhere to the walls of the glass). You can add some flavoring to make it taste better.

Do not chew or make a liquid out of time-released capsules of any medication; you will wind up losing some of the gradual release effect and perhaps get too much into your system at once. These medications should be plainly marked “Time-Released”.

You will probably see improvement within 3 days, but don’t be tempted to stop the antibiotic therapy until you’re done with the entire 10-14 days. Sometimes, you’ll kill most of the bacteria but some colonies may persist and multiply if you prematurely end the treatment. This is often cited as a cause of antibiotic resistance. In a long-term survival situation, however, you might be down to your last few pills and have to make some tough decisions.
Don’t use veterinary equivalents (except on your fish) in normal times. Consult your physician or other healthcare provider. Overuse of antibiotics is one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance today.

Dr. Bones
I'd be more inclined to purchase antibiotics from a veterinarian supply company to stockpile. They are tablets (not fish packets or however the fish version is supplied) and it is less expensive. Here's one link They offer 500 Amoxicillin tabs, 250 mg for $17.96. You can shop around and probably find them even cheaper too. Just about anything you want, Keflex, Azithromycin, etc is available.

My 2 cents.
I've also been lucky to have an open minded Doctor and he wrote me a prescription for antibiotics just so I could have them on hand. He gave me ones I've had before for blood infection that resulted from an ant-sting, and said they're very wide-spectrum and will be useful for treating cuts and scrapes or wounds that are likely to be infected. Seriously, doesn't hurt to ask and to ask for as many as they are comfortable giving you. I've got a pretty nice collection of antibiotics at this point, but it's the kind of thing you can always have more of.

The list in the book is great, and before I'd buy gold or silver I'd definitely invest in medical supplies and canning food.
You're lucky, Puck. It may be a good idea to get an Rx for some Epi-pens too, just in case someone has an allergic reaction to something and goes into anaphylactic shock. I asked a doc here once for one, you'd have thunk I was asking for a high powered narcotic or something. Needless to say, he refused. Which reminds me, I do need to get some...just in case.
Lilou said:
You're lucky, Puck. It may be a good idea to get an Rx for some Epi-pens too, just in case someone has an allergic reaction to something and goes into anaphylactic shock.

Oh that's a good thing to collect as well. I'll ask him for that too. I have a legitimate basis too considering the sepsis I got from the ant sting.
Yeah, I almost died from a bee sting when I was 4. I remember it well, my mom's friend driving 90 mph to the hospital..then I lost consciousness and woke up in the Emergency Room, right after the shot. I've never been stung by a honey bee since, so don't know what would happen. It's ironic, since my name means honey bee.

I've just begun working on getting my emergency list of medicines together. I've considered buying this book which looks very good but will need to wait a bit on that.

I was wondering if anyone would like to share what they have put together for preparation on this topic. Vit C and antibiotics are first on my list. Perhaps a powdered magnesium of some kind would be good. Also I'll look into what grows in my area as a source of herbal treatment. Dandelion root grows profusely in my yard and that's a start.

Thank you
p.s. I'm also considering having a supply of colloidal silver (ionic silver more accurately). A friend has a machine and makes her own.
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