One of the things we have been shown by the Coronavirus Pandemic is the grave danger we all face because so much of our medical supplies come from China. Not only do masks and gloves come from the Middle Kingdom but they also come from key ingredients to a large number of medicines.
The proposal by President Trump to move as much of this production back to the United States is a positive one, given that it has become a matter of national security.
As this transition happens, I expect a continuation of shortages to be seen. China has already shown that if they go down, they’re going to go down fighting. They have withheld medical shipments, not only from us but from other countries, while at the same time there have been many shipments of medical supplies sent out, which have proved to be inferior and even unusable.
Related: 30 Supplies for Pandemic Survival
China isn’t America’s only source of drugs and medical equipment overseas. A surprising amount of our medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are coming from other countries.
What happens if shipment comes to a halt? What if our European allies, who manufacture those products, are unable to ship because an EMP hits them?
The shortages we face as a result of the COVID-19 are nothing in addition to the shortages we face if there is ever a major disaster with a real disruption of our supply lines. In that case, the supply shortages we are going to face will be far more severe than what we are now facing.
When that disaster comes, the only medical supplies you will have at your disposal are the things you set aside before the disaster strikes in your stockpile.
With that in mind, ensuring you ‘re well-prepared is a good idea. The question is what to store in stock?
Personal Protection Equipment
A shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of the things which marked the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a shortage of surgical masks and gloves; enough that the Surgeon General urged the public to keep them for use by emergency staff. Part of that was due to Chinese hoarding; but there would have been shortages even without it.
I’m not just thinking about masks and gloves when I’m talking about PPE here, but I’m talking about Tyvek suits (disposable HAZMAT suits), goggles and plastic face shields too. Should we ever face a more serious pandemic like Ebola, we’re going to need a lot more than the cloth masks we’re using now.
There is a reason why doctor’s offices and hospitals are so careful about cleaning; it is because they want to prevent disease transmission. Germs easily spread to others on surfaces. That’s why businesses are putting so much effort into cleaning up, and more than half of the population is disinfecting their grocery stores before they are brought home.
Do you guess where most of these disinfectants originate? You’re right, they’re Chinese. That’s why Clorox wipes can’t be found in stores. Not only do people buy them every chance that they get, but China doesn’t ship as many as we need. And that also doesn’t just apply to those wipes; it applies to just about any disinfectant that you might think of.
If there is any drug that you should always have on hand, it’s an array of various antibiotics. But our doctors don’t want you to have it, because people are known to make mistakes and to take antibiotics when they don’t have to. That is also dangerous. It is difficult to buy antibiotics without a prescription because of this.
Buying veterinary grade antibiotics is one way to build a stockpile of antibiotics. Though packaged differently and bearing different names, many of these are made in the same factories producing those manufactured for human use. They ‘re the same drug. You can use these if you find out which ones are which. Only make sure you are aware of the right dosages to use and which antibiotics work for which infections.
In Mexico, one more source is buying them. In Mexican pharmacies antibiotics are sold over-the-counter.
You can buy them in small boxes that have enough pills packed with blisters for one treatment regimen or you can buy 100 bottles. For years, I used Mexican pharmaceuticals, and had very good results. Every year many thousands of retired “Winter Texans” buy all of their pharmaceuticals in Mexico, saving hundreds of dollars themselves. Also, make sure you look up what they are, and how to best use them.
The pain relievers, other than antibiotics, are perhaps the most essential medicines in your bag. Managing pain is an integral part of the healing process. Besides that, we all encounter a lot of little aches and pains with which we need help to cope.
But pain relievers in any emergency are one of the fastest medicines to fly off the shelves; not just the panic buying COVID-19.
Due to hurricanes and severe winter snowstorms, I have seen empty store shelves. People realize their need for these essential medicines and, when they can, they purchase them. But that may not leave you any, if you don’t have them on hand already.
Specialty Trauma Treatment Supplies
Bandages can be made of any kind of cloth. That is what people have done for centuries. But that doesn’t mean we want to, if we can prevent it. Compared with some other things I’m mentioning here, stockpiling bandages is cheap. Just make sure you stock those of quality; fabric bandage strips, rather than plastic strips. They last longer, and work better when SHTF.
Yet what’s more important than bandages are stuff you can’t find simple alternatives to.
Things like Steri-strips and butterfly bandages, tourniquets, celox, cohesive medical tape, and elastic bandages. If you can’t do it on your own, and need it for first aid, make sure you have it.
Cleaning your home is not the only important thing, you do need to be able to clean off cuts and wounds. But alcohol and hydrogen peroxide have become difficult to obtain in the recent crisis; not because of accidents, but because they can also be used as disinfectants.
But it is considerably more important to disinfect a wound than to disinfect your kitchen table. So make sure you’ve set aside plenty of antiseptics just for first aid, above and beyond anything you might need to get to keep your home germ free.
Decongestants & Antihistamines
Believe it or not, all of these are manufactured in Europe, not here in the USA. If something happens to Italy, for example, what happens to our supply. I didn’t check, but there are several antihistamines made.
Admittedly, antihistamines and decongestants do not cure anything but treat the symptoms instead. But that is also essential.
When we’re talking about patients with respiratory diseases like COVID-19 or flu, it’s important to deal with symptoms, so the patient can breathe.
If you have any family members that have chronic conditions, you should have those drugs on hand for as many months as you can. This can be difficult unless you have a doctor who is very understanding and willing to write the prescriptions. But if you know your doctor well and there are stable dosages of medication, many will cooperate with you on that.
Again, if you want to make a trip to the border to buy antibiotics, you can buy most of these in Mexico.
The cost is going to be much lower but the quality is going to be just fine. There, the pharmacies will turn American drug names into those that come from their own pharmaceutical industry. Only make sure to write it down, and when you get home, you’ll know what they are.
If some of those drugs need syringes and needles, it would be best to ensure that you do have a good supply of them. Most of the supply of syringes worldwide comes from … you guessed that, China. While that is likely to change in the future, I wouldn’t count on waiting to see it happen.
Although you might not think of vitamins as medical supplies, in fact they are. We take vitamins (those of us who do) to preserve our health, seeking to compensate for the lacks in our diets. Even if you don’t take vitamins now, for a time of crisis, you should find these. With a limited diet, consuming supplements, making up for the nutrients you don’t get, would be a smart idea.
But, as we just mentioned with the prescription drugs and so many other things, many vitamin brands are made in China. So who knows what the supply situation in the future will be like, especially during a time of crisis.
Related: The Power of Vitamin C
When they think of medical supplies, most people don’t think of ultraviolet (UV) lights, but they are perhaps one of the most important. Bacteria, bacteria, mold, mildew and even fungi have been known to destroy UV light. The UV light has to be between 200 and 400 nanometers in range to operate.
Black lights, of the kind used to make posters glow in the dark, are at 320 to 350 nanometers, so that they can be used to give this UV light.
If you’re concerned about any kind of illness, having UV lights to disinfect with is valuable. You ‘re going to want the strongest lights you can get, as the testing is mostly done with sunlight to kill those pathogens. The greater the light intensity, the better it will function as a disinfectant. Just be careful, because too much UV light can cause skin cancer or cause sunburn.