The medical care system functions very well on a day-to-day basis. Sure, it has its warts, but far more often than not, if you have a medical problem, you can get great medical care for it. But what if there were a major catastrophe in the United States? What if our medical system weren’t functioning? Would you be prepared to manage simple or complicated health issues?
Our guest today is physician and author Cindy Koelker, MD. Her latest book Armageddon Medicine, How to Be Your Own Doctor in 2012 and Beyond explains how to treat hundreds, even thousands of conditions as a family doctor would. The inspiration for this book came when she realized how many people are concerned about the future of this country, from the economy, to terrorism, to natural disaster, not to mention 2012 prophecies. This book is her contribution to being prepared for any contingency.
Could such contingencies be needed. Koelker points out that the our health care system is at least as fragile as the economy, that pharmacies only keep a few days of medicine on hand, that most of our generic drugs come from overseas, and that if communication or transportation is disrupted, you’ll be on your own. During Hurricane Katrina, pharmacies were flooded and shut down, as were doctors’ offices. Serious potential problems can occur, for example if a patient with diabetes ran out of insulin or someone with asthma were out of their inhaler.
Or what if you were asthmatic and were out of your inhaler? Things could have been much worse, as Katrina was a local problem, with the rest of the United Sates available as a back up. If our society was disrupted to the extent that Haiti was, things would be much worse.
Koelker suggests everyone should be prepared to care for themselves for at least 6 months. This means getting an extra supply of essential medications, such as insulin, inhalers, and antibiotics. It means understanding your condition to the point of being able to care for yourself in a crisis. It means gathering more than a medical kit – though that’s a good place to start. Over the counter medications can be used to treat at least dozens of conditions, including vertigo, asthma, allergies, reflux, ulcers, fungal infections, yeast infections, poison ivy, swimmer’s ear, respiratory infections, diarrhea, strains, certain fractures, and much more.
Koelker’s book Armageddon Medicine is only available for sale online. You can find it at ArmageddonMedicine.net.
Dr. Koelker is also author of the book 101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care which we will feature on an upcoming show.