As an asthmatic, one of my biggest concerns is stopping an upper respiratory infection before it's had time to pick up steam. A head cold for me is a guarentee of a sinus infection, and left untreated that quickly moves into my chest, becoming bronchitis and if STILL ignored, pneumonia, as I learned a few years ago. Having antibiotics available during extended emergencies can help prevent infections or even save a life. Unfortunately, you can't just go down to the nearest box store and pick them up like you can a case of Spam or a bag of rice.
That doesn't mean you can't get your hands on them. It just means you'll have to put a little extra effort into their procurement. Whether you choose to hit up a vet supply house or shop a little further from home is up to you.
According to the Patriot Nurse, the five most popular types of antibiotics (including their generics) are:
Zithromax – UTIs, URIs, Sepsis (used in an IV), STDs, and ear infections.
Ampicillan – This a more broad spectrum antibiotic that treats skin infections, STDs, Sepsis and ear infections.
Cipro – This antibiotic has a lot of toxicity issues and should be taken sparingly. Can be used for UTIs, infectious diarreah, bone and joint infections.
Amoxicillan – This is a very popular antibiotic used in upper respiratory, ear, nose and throat infections, and teeth abscesses.
Doxycycline – An effective antibiotic used for malaria, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
She also suggests Clindamyacin, Flagyl and Bactrim as some back ups to the aforementioned. I would like Augmentin as an alternative to Amoxicillan, which my own doctor never even bothers with any more because it never works on me.
More than a few preppers have turned to fish antibiotics after an article surfaced by a real live doctor about them being the same thing as the stuff we get at the pharmacy. It is true that many fish antibiotics contain the same active ingredients as those formulated for humans. However, there are few considerations to keep in mind, such as using the correct dosage as to not over medicate yourself, and the differences in human metabolism vs. the metabolism rate of a fish.
You can purchase fishbiotics like FishMox, FishFlox, etc from Vet Depot. Their service is good, shipping reasonable, and prices better than the other vet supplies. Or you can do what some folks I know do, and go to an online pharmacy. They offer Zithromax (can't get that for fish), and even with the shipping fee their prices are a fraction of what fishbiotics cost. If your order goes AWOL just let them know and they'll resend it for you, no charge, though I've only heard of one person having to do that.
If you decide to stock up on antibiotics, for the love of all things you revere take the time to visit Drugs.com and print out all relevant information on the pills you get. They have outstanding spec sheets that include dose and usage information.
Antibiotics are an essential item to have on hand for extended disasters, however, they should be taken when they are needed to most and not just whenever you have a snotty nose. Take the time to research the different classes and names so you know what needs to go when.
I provide this information for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor and am not dispensing medical advice. :D