Wednesday : Questions and Answers With The Wolf Pack

Question from Reuben

I love your website and have been an avid reader for a year now. I was wondering if you could post a question for me. My question is about Band-Aids and medical items.

  • How long do Band-Aids last past their expiration date?
  • Will they stay sterile past their exp. date if unopened or does the plastic go bad or their individual package break down (as paper degrades over time)?
  • How does expiration dates apply to items such as Hydrogen Peroxide, Benadine, Mercurochrome, Ointments, Alcohol?

Please help Reuben out by posting your advice and thoughts in the comments below…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. I can give a tiny bit of insight on band aids. We’ve always bought the expensive brands but for hoarding,we bought the cheapest of cheap and bought in huge quantities. A couple years go by and I cut myself enough to require a bandaid. We were out of the expensive ones so I dug out the storage ones and they were dried out and wouldn’t release from the paper. They had become totally useless. I don’t know if this would have happened to the good ones but the cheap ones were worth what I paid for them,which was nearly nothing.

    • I don’t bother with band-aids at all; just use good medical tape and either a cotton ball or cotton pad with some form of bacitracin ointment. For open wounds I use the Nexcare waterproof Tegaderm dressing.

  2. Yikes, I was wondering the same thing yesterday!

    Don’t have an answer, but did find this about ways to use rubbing alcohol, in case it helps anyone:

  3. Winomega says:

    Hydrogen Peroxide is very unstable. If you pour it onto a cut and the edges don’t fizz, you’ve just washed the wound with not-quite drinkable water. Basically you may have trace amounts of H2O2 which is harmful to drink, but not enough oxygen generated to kill the germs in the wound. The science is actually pretty cool.

    Rubbing alcohol, I found someone who said it degrades into acetone among other things, other places say that the plastic container and evaporation is what causes problems. You could learn ways to test alcohol’s flammability, but acetone also burns.

    Ointments can get contaminated, but I don’t know if they naturally degrade.

    Trying to find more information on anything else is getting confusing. I’m finding articles saying that vinegar has a one-year shelf life.

    There is also an accusation that drug companies got information from the “shelf life extension program” pulled from public records.

    • Papabear says:


      Hydrogen Peroxide is stable. It “degrades” at about 1% per year. There is a bottle that has been in my car for 2 yrs, through Texas summers and our version of winter. It is still usable. If the peroxide does not fizz when poured on a wound then there was not a reaction to any bacteria or virus, meaning that it was relatively clean.

      A virus is not ‘alive’ or ‘dead’. It is a particle that attaches itself to our cells and causes us illnesses. Peroxide will destroy the outer layer of a virus and cause the inner proteins to be degraded or destroyed.

      Rubbing alcohol does not “degrade” into acetone. It evaporates.

      Decades ago my first attempt at a college education was in chemistry.

      • Winomega says:

        Thanks, Papabear, I was wondering if that rubbing-alcohol guy was BS. (I encountered a comment about 8-year old Bailey’s that was viscous, no word about whether they actually ate it.)

        I am confused about the H2O2. I still don’t know how they get that extra Oxygen molecule to attach, but I would think that contact with blood is one of the things that breaks it. I’ve got superstitious-sounding reasons for why what you say might be true, so firing the science at me should take care of things.

      • Hmm, that’s certainly interesting. How did you determine that after two years in a vehicle that it was still effective? Because it fizzes? I’m not sure I will bet one of my limbs (or life, for that matter) that the fizz is all it takes. Just my opinion… All the information I found (from the manufactures) is that if left sealed, the shelf life of hydrogen peroxide is (appox) one year; if opened, 35-45 days. YMMV, but this what the manufactures recommend as guidelines. These estimates were based on the condition that it was kept at room temperature. It is also very sensitive to light (explaining why it is always in dark bottles). I concur on your assessment of alcohol, but keep in mind that unless immersed in the alcohol for ONE FULL MINUTE you are not receiving the full benefit of disinfecting. Also, to achieve cleaning of more than just surface area of skin, it should be somewhat diluted with water to facilitate diffusion through cell membrane. A few simple searches on line will provide these same answers to anyone interested.

        • Winomega says:


          I was interested enough in late-90’s high-school chemistry to believe things about H2O2. Then again, it takes Ozone to disinfect a non-cycled soaking tub.

          • Then you certainly know more about chemistry than I. When I was in high school the periodic table had only 8 elements.

        • LukeAlaska says:

          Soap and water has been proven to be effective for cleaning wounds. H2O2 is a caustic substance that harms living tissue. I’ll stick to my doctor’s advice and wash my wounds with soap.

    • We have used vinegar many years later and it was fine .I think that keeping it cool and the top sealed is helpful.
      Our first aid kits have been years old and worked fine. A Dr once told us that some prescription meds can change over years and become wither very potent or not potent at all-I don’t know what meds they are.
      When I worked as a Vet. assistant many meds used on animals were outdated human drugs and they worked fine.
      For ex Olive oil kept cool and dry can last several hundered years.(folks in Eyypt tested this out when they found it in tombs etc.)

  4. Reuben,

    I can tell you what I know from my own experience. Since the 1980’s from the military on till now, I have handled dogs. I get bitten a lot. I have had first-aid kits that the government has supplied for me and those that I have put together myself.

    As far as band-aids go. Always. always, always go with the flexible fabric ones. My first aid kits sit in my trunk and only get taken out when I have a gash in my hand or my arm. The band-aids that are the latex ones NEVER seem to stick. I have never had a problem with flexible fabric ones. Even ones that have baked in Texas summer temperatures or soaked in San Francisco rains.

    I have never had hydrogen peroxide NOT go fizz on a wound. Even when it was ten years old. Alcohol in a first-aid kit… same thing. It always stung.

    Betadine has always been my go-to anticeptic, even when I have to debride a wound with a stiff swab.

    I have never gotten an infection from using an “out of date” sterile product. I have gotten an infection from not properly cleaning a wound and then having the Band-Aid fall off or not stay secure to the wound.

    I haven’t seen mercurochrome since I was five years old. If you can tell me where you can find some, I’d really appreciate it. The red mark it leaves behind is a wonderful reminder to the kids of what to keep clean..

    I don’t generally go for ointments. In my experience, they tend to hold in any infection that you may not have cleaned out of the wound.

    Bottom line… my go-to which has been proven to work in all temperatures over years is Betadine and flex-fabric band-aids.

    • Sirus;
      Let you a post but it went to a different area. Thanks for the heads up on the band-aids. I purchase Betadine in small packs so it is not wasted, then vacuum seal them in to the portions size bags from Food Saver, band-aids also go in there.

    • Lauri no e says:


      It’s a wonder us 5 kids growing up did not die from staff infection. My mother would put that mercurochrome on us (the red stuff) which was fine but would have us all stand around and blow on the cut while she was putting it on the wound because that stuff did sting and no telling how many germs that cut had on it then.

      It does bring back a happy memory from childhood about us taking care of each other.

      • Cousin Lauri,

        I’m not joking. Is that you? Mom and Nana did the same thing…blowing on a wound.

        I feel like I’m 5 again.

        • Kin_of_Sgt. Alvin C. York says:

          Roger that! blowing on a cut, scrape, or abrasion…takes me back 60 years when all you went to the hospital for was “to die.”

          Our family doc would drive to our homestead (in his shiny new 1951 black Chevy coupe) to treat us kids for really serious stuff that mom or dad couldn’t fix us up. I remember Momma crying one time after doc left because she had to give doc the last $5 in the house for the house call.

          Momma’s rule back then: if you could walk, talk, or still breathe–no doc call!

        • Lauri no e says:


          You never know we could be cousins, I had written a response early but it disappeared.

      • YUP we put monkey blood on every cut scrap or scratch we had, no I did not get mine blown on , I tried to be the tuff little boy and handle the sting like a man. Same with getting my teeth drilled by the dentist and the shot before , in my house you did not scream, whine or go on or the butt whupping would be worse than what you were whining about.

      • Laura no e,
        I remember those times also; however, the whole point of mercurochrome was that it did not sting. The topical antiseptic that stung was iodine. Mercurochrome was taken off the list of topical antiseptics in 1998 due to its Mercury content.

        • Ohio – glad you made that comment – that’s how I remembered as well and was wondering if I was getting more senile than I thought!

        • Lauri no e says:


          Was the iodine red? What ever it was that was red and we did called it monkey blood and it did sting and my Mom would make the other kids blow on it so it wouldn’t hurt. Maybe it was all psychological on our part. Thanks for the updated information.

          • FarmerKin says:

            Both were red … sort of. The iodine is a dark reddish-brown, and the mercurochrome was sort of orangish and was in a small bottle with a stick in it … which was then used to apply it on everyone’s yucky boo boo … Eeek!

            I recently saw some at WalMart, but it wasn’t orange, it is clear.

            I didn’t buy any because for some reason I was under the impression that it disappeared off of the shelves because it was determined to not be effective … on the lines of being a placebo … mom draws a little heart on your boo boo and everything is all better. Plus I don’t think the yucky applicator thing would be good in SHTF. I didn’t know about the mercury content – interesting.

            • FarmerKin,
              I think it’s effective due to the mercury content which also makes it a catch 22. The effective ingredient is also potentially harmful.

          • Lauri no e,
            The iodine is red and stings like, well, iodine in a cut. Never heard the monkey blood before, but it’s probably a regional colloquialism.

          • RustyGunner says:

            You may be thinking of Merthiolate, which was what my mother always told me I was lucky she wasn’t using when I crabbed about the Mercurochrome.

          • the stinging stuff is merthiolate. mercuochrome is now color-free and is called mercuroclear. i get it at walmart.

    • tommy2rs says:
  5. The other day I was watching a preppers youtube video and they said that Hydrogen Peroxide had a shelf life, but they didn’t say what it was. So I went off in search of that information.

    Several sites said the following. Unopened bottles last a year to a little over and opened bottles last from 30-45 days.

    I’ve also read that you can use hydrogen peroxide (haven’t tried it yet) to help whiten your laundry. I’m not sure how much to pour in with the wash though. Still have to do some research.

    If this is the case then we could always store about a years worth then add it to the wash when it’s getting near the expiration date.

    • I buy brown bottles of peroxide for about 50 cents a piece and I usually have several on the shelf. I typically use it for my white load of laundry instead of bleach and just fill the “bleach” cup of my machine. I read that you’re supposed to use a cup at a time (measuring cup style). We keep a bottle in the bathroom too. I don’t think I’ve ever had any go bad.

    • I pour a cup of peroxide in the wash everytime I do whites. The same as Oxyclean since the homeade laundry detergent has soda and borax.
      A whole bottle if you have a grungy load.
      A regular squirt bottle sprayer will fit right onto the brown bottles and I use it to clean EVERYTHING. Counters, sinks, toilet seats, cutting boards, I spray myself, dogs, cats, livestock, chickens for whatever.
      You can use it in the carpet cleaner.
      I have a bottle in every room, in the vehicles, in the barns.
      I use 35% peroxide to shock my hot tub.

    • FarmerKin says:

      Peroxide is good for getting blood out of clothing. I used it to get a wine stain out once too, but it had to sit for a while. Then learned that if you don’t rinse the peroxide out of the clothing, it will eat a whole in it.

      • Works wonders on cleaning grout on tile floors. I have about three acres of tile..exaggerating.. Whole living area, but I stick a spray nozzle in the quart bottle and let it sit for a while, then I use a deck brush to scrub it a bit, then mop up the rest. Nontoxic and with regular use, the grout doesn’t have dirt building up in it. I keep at least a half dozen bottles on hand just to clean with.

        • I make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to clean those stubborn stains off my pots, pans, and cookie sheets. I also used the paste to clean the gunk off the door of an old oven that I put in my sons apartment.

          I’ve read where some people use the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to brush their teeth, but I think you couldn’t swallow it at all…anybody else hear this?

          • I haven’t heard of that but my mom’s dentist told her to use peroxide as mouthwash. There are several kinds that come with peroxide in them now.

    • S'wt Tater says:

      FDA requires an expiration date to be placed on them. Tests to determine the actual accuracy of those dates, I haven’t seen them, but I’m thinking they are paid for by the ones who profit from the sale of those items….I don’t trust the dates on most things as anything more than a suggestion….that said.
      …..I have bought off brand bandaids as well, but in smaller amounts. I have found if they are used over just a few months they are sufficient, but nothing to write about.
      If they get out of the rotation, they are still sterile until wet or damaged as long as they are sealed, but may not stick well,but I have used them when several are required, as in an emergency steri strip, when held in place by another bandage. I seal such wounds and do not disturb, after initial care for 20-24 hrs.
      The best thing for dog bites I have found, after cleaning is to use the Prid drawing salve., a small tin lasts for a long time. IT works. As does epsom salt and bleach solution for wound soaks, of infected wounds. Temperature control goes a long way on preserving the life of all of your supplies. Regular rotation is the first key to keeping from throwing our money away. That’s the primary reason to buy what ever you buy in storable whatever amount you will store together, and is usable in a reasonable timeframe. ( If you rarely use an item, just don’t buy beyond what you are willing to donate, consider it as insurance )

  6. Sirus;
    I found Mercurochrome in Amazon for sale, bottle was 1 oz for $4.93, like you I have not seen it available in years. So better add that to the pile of medical items.

    • Becky,

      The last time I saw it for sale it was 23 cents. If it’s gone up that much in price in 40 or so years, you might want to invest in it. Don’t spent that much for something that peroxide or rubbing alcohol can do the same thing for. If you need the red color as a “red flag” for the kids, just put some food coloring in it.

      They won’t get to see it go on green then turn red though. That always made me feel safe.

      • Sirus & Papa Bear:
        Thanks, but I remember the “unhappy dance” when that stuff went on my booboo as a child, I usually ran the other way from my mom.
        I thought you serious Sirus on finding it.
        Papa Bear thank you for the offer, but no more UNhappy dances for this woman!! 😉
        I rinse with water, dry and put on a band-aid, if dh is around he insists that I use the antibiotic cream.
        You guys are a riot..thanks for the memories.

    • Papabear says:

      Check Wal Mart for mercurochrome

      • Yes, I found in my local supercenter as well, just last week.

      • Bam Bam says:

        I’ve never even heard of mercurochrome. Is that the stuff folks used back in the ice ages before Neosporin was invented?

        • Yep! You got it…..
          Oh, dear I just aged myself 😉

          • Bam Bam says:

            I just checked this stuff out. Here’s what I found:

            In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared that Mercurochrome, generically known as merbromin, was “not generally recognized as safe and effective” as an over-the-counter antiseptic and forbade its sale across state lines.

          • That’s cool, Becky, we’re in good company..

        • Hahahahahaha,

          And your avatar makes you look so ol……. wise Bam Bam.

        • Lauri no e says:

          Bam Bam,

          I am allergic to Neosporin and my Dr. has me use Polysporin.
          Just letting anyone know if they are allergic to Neosporin.

          • Lauri, have you tried making your own? It is really easy, and you can make a huge batch for unbelievably cheap.

            • TG,

              How do you make your antibiotic ointment. I do the St. Johns Wort infused oil (half pint) with 1 TBS beeswax and 40 drops tea tree oil.

              I am also working on a skin rash salve: olive oil infused with calendula, comfrey and plantain, and then mixed with beeswax and probably lavender.

              • Bam Bam,
                *top secret skin care recipe*
                Rosehip seed oil infused with calendula and roses, beeswax, vitamin e oil, and then the essential oils of, chamomile, lavender and helichrysum. I dont measure, I kinda eyeball it.

                I use this on anything skin related. Cuts, scrapes, bug bites, diaper issues with the baby, you name it. It isnt ‘antibacterial’ per say, but it does help prevent skin infections. If something is already infected I would rather do a poultice or a compress rather then an ointment.

                • Bam Bam says:


                  I’ve never used rose seed oil. I was thinking of ordering some to use in a face lotion. My skin gets so dry–and that’s with humidity hovering near 100 percent. I don’t think I could live out west. My dh went out to New Mexico a few years ago and he coughed the whole time he was there because the air was so dry.

            • Lauri no e says:


              No I haven’t tried it but I need to make some. Thanks for the info.

          • I also can’t use the triple antibiotic ointments (Neosporin) in a prolonged use situation (once or twice and that is all). My dermatologist suggested Bacitracin.

            • Bam Bam says:

              GA Red,

              Try some homemade salve–it’s inexpensive and it tends to work better than store-bought stuff.

              • One of many things on my long list of things to do – learn to make salves and ointments. I do keep honey on the shelf and buy local honey whenever I get the chance. I don’t like spending a lot on it, but I do like having different jars of it from various locations in Georgia.

  7. JP in MT says:

    I have similar questions. I look forward to the answers.

  8. The plastic bottles that rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, saline solution and betadine solution come in are oxygen permeable. So are those little paper packets that antiseptic wipes come in. The plastic bottles that hold vitamins and all sorts of tablets and capsules are also oxygen permeable. If you place these oxygen permeable containers inside something that is not oxygen permeable you should be able to extend the shelf life somewhat beyond any expiration date on the package — let’s say use a sealed Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers or a wide-mouth canning jar that is vacuum sealed. If you can keep out the oxygen and daylight and store the stuff at a cool temperature then you just have to worry about the natural instability of the chemical concoctions themselves.

    You will have to check your medial supplies periodically and replace some stuff because some of it eventually will undergo chemical reactions no matter how well you store it. I don’t worry about containers of Vaseline, but I know those little squeeze tubes of antibacterial gel won’t be good much past their expiration dates. Raw honey however will store indefinitely in a cool dry dark pantry if kept in a glass jar with metal lid and is an excellent antibacterial. Plain old table salt mixed into boiling water to make a sterile saline solution and then cooled and stored in sterile canning jars makes a good rinse for wounds (but it does sting).

    I make it a point to not buy those adhesive strip bandages that have antiseptics/antibiotics already added to them because this stuff turns hard as a rock and useless in a short time. I have found that small plain gauze pads and surgical tape keep a very long time in a cool, dry pantry and can be made into the equivalent of expensive store-bought adhesive strip bandages if you are willing to go to the trouble of cleaning your hands well and putting on clean disposable gloves before handling the materials. Your hands should be well cleaned and gloved anyway before cleaning any size wound or putting any kind of a bandage on a wound.

    • Linda,

      I am trying really hard… really, really hard not to come out and verbally blast you.

      Here’s why…

      The other day, when Southern Wolf asked his question of the day for the Wolf Pack, you made a comment (and I’m paraphrasing) that drug addicts slept one hour before sunrise until two hours after. I called a “comment foul” on you. I made up that term “comment foul” and asked you where you got your facts. You never responded.

      Today you are talking about “oxygen permeable” bottles.

      You are bringing this up as an issue so before I say anything about “oxygen permeable” bottles please, PLEASE tell us what they are, how we can identify them, why we shouldn’t use them, what hazards they might cause, what benefits they might have, why we might like them, why we might like to use them…

      And cite resources!

      People who espouse knowledge with no backup need to be called out. I have espoused much knowledge in my few months here but no one has called me on anything. In fact, I have been agreed upon or not commented on.

      Linda, I see many words typed from your fingers. I’m calling you out. What you said to Southern Wolf the other day was just insanely dangerous. Today, your misuse of scientific terms in accordance with health care and anticeptic tools borders on the haphazard. I am sorry Ma’am. You sound like some one who can give bad advise and hurt someone.

      If anyone has hate mail, disagreements, bitches, whines, complaints, or dare I hope… agreements… please forward them to M.D. to give to me. M.D. you are here by authorized to send anything regarding this call out directly to me.

      • Sirius,
        Most plastics are oxygen permeable; meaning that over time oxygen will make its way through the plastic from the outside to the inside. It’s the main reason we use Mylar bags (that are not permeable) along with O2 absorbers inside if a plastic 5-gallon bucket.

      • tommy2rs says:

        Decent (read that as actually understandable) chart on permeability coefficients for common plastics on this thread at homebrewtalk. You’ll have to scroll down a little to get the chart. Due to spaces between molecules pretty much everything is permeable some degree or other.

      • Whoa. Take a deep breath and chill. You can use the internet to look up information on plastic containers. There’s really good info out there, especially about the different types of food safe plastics and how to interpret the symbols on the bottom of plastic containers.

        • You can use the internet to look up ANYTHING. Where the problem arises is how dependable the information gathered is – that is why some type of reference’s, if possible, allow others to follow up if the answer is of importance to them. I don’t always add a college approved foot note, but, as in my comment above, I referenced the manufacture.
          Not ‘non-chilled’, or upset, just offering a happy medium.

        • Winomega says:

          Tex Mex, your BS filter went off. Linda, yours didn’t.

          ANYTHING said here should be searched, it is hopeful to have enough information for a solid result.

  9. I work in water treatment and am very familiar with sodium hypochlorite (bleach). It does degrade and there is a degradation curve to it. Heat and sunlight degrade it faster.

    I can try to dig out an optimal curve if anyone wants, I’m having trouble finding one in internet link friendly format to post here.

    Long story short, the higher the concentration the faster the degradation. At about 1% the curve almost completely flattens out. Meaning if you don’t expose it to anything metallic or sunlight or excessive heat, 1% bleach will last for years and years.

    To get 1% from the store bought bleach dilute it 5:1 with water. Maybe a little less water as new water will consume a bit of the active ingredient. 1% is still 10,000 ppm, lots and lots for disinfecting cuts and other things.

    • Mike – thanks for the new info – however at the LDS site I found the following information, (which is a paraphrase of what I read at the Clorox site):
      “According to Clorox™, the amount of hypochlorite that is added to their bleach depends on the season in which it is manufactured, because temperature affects the decomposition rate of sodium hypochlorite.[open or not] So, more hypochlorite is added to bleach made in the summer than in cooler months. Clorox aims to maintain a 6% hypochlorite concentration for at least six months after the manufacturing date, assuming the bleach is stored around 70°F. It takes about 4-8 weeks from the time chlorine bleach is made to when it gets to a store so that you can buy it to take home. This leaves you 3-5 months where the bleach is at the effectiveness level stated on its label.”
      I hope this will help separate urban legends from fact. It would be a major drag to stick a bottle of bleach back to disinfect you drinking water only to find it inert when you needed it the worst. The way get around this and still have any form of bleach you desire in the future is Pool Shok , you can find the recipe for making household bleach from it as well as disinfection large quantities of water, in many places online. CAUTION: POOL SHOK IS VOLITALE AND SHOULD BE HANDLED, AND STORED, VERY CAREFULLY.

  10. A really good question. The bandaids, I really have no clue. If someone can tell me how to keep them in the house where little fingers dont find them to bandage their baby dolls and stuffed animals I am all ears. Lol

    The peroxide, I have read in many places it degrades. My experience, it might degrade, but *maybe* not as fast as people think. I have peroxide that is not stored in optimal conditions, is who knows how old and still works. I use it in place of bleach to sanitize counters, cutting boards and occasionally for clothes.

    The alcohol should be fine. The ointments, I would really say depends on the type, what it is made from ect. I am not sure what benadine is but if you are referring to betadine (iodine) I had some individual swabs that I was given about 10 years ago, I used a couple of them last year and they were fine.

    I really think it is going to depend on storage conditions, and the reality is things do break down with time. Just keep checking on things and try to keep your stock rotated.
    As for the sterility of the items, as long as the package isnt compramised most items will still be sterile when needed.

    • Winomega says:

      TG, is there a “dead space” above your kitchen cupboards? Anyplace else to stash spare supplies where the kids would really have to get creative to get to them?

      Give your kids a “bandage allowance” where they only get the a special box from the oldest stock, 30 per month or something. If they need a bandage for themselves, fine, but perhaps stock your own supply in your underwear drawer.

      My mother had drop-lighting in the kitchen and that was just an invitation to store weird jars above the everyday cupboards.

    • TG;
      If you have something to make up medical kit for the kids. Give them a band aid allowance, or other supplies. When they are gone(band aids) they have wait until the next allotment can be given. It gives them their own, an hopefully out of yours.
      What my mom did when we were little, she would put them where we would never look. Empty coffee can, tea canister, something only parents use, and the kids would never look there. Hope this helps you.

    • Hmmm, you know I have a canister in my kitchen that never gets touched. I kept telling myself to just get it out and free up that space. I think I will put the bandaids in there and then just do the allotment thing. That os a great idea, thank you.

      I guess I should be thankful that it is only the bandages they use on the dolls. For their own cuts they know to grab the hydrosals, or if I its mom doctoring one of them has already grabbed the lavender oil, skin cream, or honey for me to use depending on the situation. So at least I am not cleaning up bandaids AND honey.

      • TG ;
        You are quite welcome. I remember my baby sister(years difference in age)would get into mom’s stuff. She explained what she did with all of us, when we decided what was mom’s was ours…….smart mom.
        You know it is a compliment to you as a parent, they are imitating mom & how she cares for her little one’s.

  11. Bam Bam says:

    You guys do know that hydrogen peroxide is better used for dirty laundry than cleaning a wound, right? Peroxide damages healthy tissue and can thus slow the body’s natural healing process. Soap and water are typically sufficient to clean wounds. Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin or homemade) helps to prevent infection. To make your own ointment, infuse olive oil with St. Johns Wort and then add 1 Tbs. beeswax and some tea tree oil.

    • Bam Bam says:

      Here’s a slide show from WebM.D. that show how to treat a cut. (If you don’t have time to watch it, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol are not longer recommended–that’s like putting butter on a burn (another bad practice).

    • BamBam;
      Yes, I knew about it damaging the skin, my mom was a nurse. I love your recipe for a natural healing cream, we do not let you know how much your recipes come in handy. thank you

      • Thanks Becky. A lot of this stuff is internet research and then trial and error to see what works for my family and what doesn’t.

    • Bam Bam, I agree that peroxide shouldnt be used on cuts and stuff, I just use it in place of bleach for sanitation purposes.

      Speaking of infused oils and making your own ointment, MD, did you get part 2 of my article?

      • TG,

        Oh, I can’t wait for the second part. I am just eating up whatever information I can find on herbal medicine. I have come to the conclusion that we have all been hoodwinked by the pharmacological model of medicine. The “better living through chemistry” just doesn’t work for me any more.

        • Bam Bam, in part 2 I went over infused oils, ointments and compresses mostly. Just a finishing up of how to use those herbs.

          I agree that the pharmaceutical companies are doing a good job of covering up and hiding a lot of info. Cant make money off something people can do at home.

    • I wasn’t going to jump in on this one, but after a horse stepped on my foot, did as much damage that could be done without cruising any bones, including breaking the skin, I got an infection. I was pouring peroxiden over it everyday and leaving the wound uncovered. Doc gave me antibiotics, but DS’s scoutmaster who is also a colonel in the medical corps of the Army explained to me what peroxide did to the tissue (what Bambam said), only use it when flushing out a cat or dog bite if there was no clean running water. And to use antibiotic ointment and bandaids. Healed in 3 days after driving me crazy for two weeks. Took a year for the soft tissues in my feet to heal from the stallion stomp, though.
      One thing I always keep is a couple of bottles of liquid bandage for burns and scrapes. Helps when you’re doing a lot of canning and have a finger cut..

      • Bam Bam says:


        Good call on the liquid bandage. Does anyone know how to make homemade liquid bandage–maybe honey and beeswax.

  12. One of my pet peeves with most store bought first aid kits are the little tiny bandages they all seem to put in the kits in abundance. I don’t have kids that always want a bandage for a booboo or for their dolls so having some on hand never hearts but I wouldn’t make it a major priority to have lots of smaller bandages on hand.

    Personally I tend to ignore most small cuts and scrapes (I do keep the cut or scrape clean but usually just expose it to air – now I’m not on in the barn dealing with hay or manure so that would be different) and try to keep an abundance of 2×2 and 4×4 guaze pads around in case of something major.

    Where I live the major disasters would be earthquake and/or tsuamis. Thinking about these types of disasters, I decided that having the larger guaze pads, etc., made the most sense since we would probably be dealing with broken windows, shards of metal and other sharp items that can leave big cuts or gashes.

    Think about what the worst possible case you might face and plan for that. Remember our great grandparents didn’t have a lot of store bought bandages and they handled things with clean, torn up sheets, etc. Learn how to sterilize and make your own bandages and “ace” type wraps and you will be farther ahead.

    • Sarahy, there are reasons to have regular small bandaids on hand. An accidental knick while cutting up dinner, dont want blood all over the food or an open wound to collect all the bacteria especially if you are handling raw meat. That is the first thing that comes to mind.
      But I do agree, let it air out and keep it clean and most small cuts will heal right up.

      • I agree there is a place for the smaller bandages – its just I don’t see a reason for keeping a large supply of bandages on hand in my situation. But eventually, in a grid down scenario, the bandages will run out – so learning alternative methods of dealing with cuts and wounds is always a great idea. Even ironing a handerchief on high heat (great use for an old fashioned iron (the kind you heat over a fire)) can create a sterile bandage, use tape (while available) or tie it in place with a strip of cloth, will keep a wound clean and can later be reused (washing well and sterilizing of course).

        • Sarahy, I think I read your first comment too fast. Lol. If you have the bandaides but dont really need them, perhaps you can put them up for a barter item?

          I do agree that in grid down, we will run out of all the little stuff and its a good idea to have back ups.

  13. Southern Girl says:

    Bam Bam,

    10+ on your info. Just sitting here reading this outdated info on cleaning wounds. Doctors stopped recommending hydrogen peroxide years ago. Prevents healing process. Good ole soap & water to clean, triple antibiotic ointment & cover until healing occurs. Leave open at night to keep area dry to form scab as wounds may stay wet under bandaids. Essentially keep clean & dry. If any signs of infection occur that you are unable to treat at home, see a doctor or grid down, use your natural remedies or borrow some antibiotics from your fish. Just be informed on what to borrow. Just saying.

    As others have mentioned, no info on sterility of bandaids, but if wet or packaging just doesn’t look right, trash it.

    Alcohol & peroxide. I agree with majority. Find other uses for it. Rotate often.


    • My dermatologist recommended cleaning with peroxide, then coating with antibiotic ointment and a band-aid after having two moles biopsied. Apparently, not all doctors are in agreement on this one. You also still clean new piercings with alcohol.

      My vet says that cleaning cat wounds with peroxide is good for the first cleaning, but not necessarily after that. I have an alpha cat that can be rather territorial. Based on wound placement, he’s fighting back and not running.

    • Best thing I did today is decide to read all the comments.

      You and a few others have said…. Doctors stopped recommending hydrogen peroxide years ago. Prevents healing process.

      And that is the whole reason I started picking up the big bottles months ago. I remembered the magical fizz from my childhood. Now I guess I gotta find other uses for the stuff.

  14. Southern Girl says:

    Bam Bam,

    Would you please please please write out your recipes for home remedies in a folder, book form or whatever. I would gladly pay you just to have some tried & trued recipes. Where the heck did that old saying come(tried & trued) from anyway?LOL!

    I have purchased a few medical herbal books, but they just sound weird.
    Yours are basic & make sense to me. Of course, it would be nice to have amounts listed with those ingredients. Hint hint. Thanks for all your common sense advise.


    • Thanks, Southern Girl. I keep most of the recipes in my head. I guess I should write them down. Actually, I think TG was going to write up what herbal remedies she uses most often, and then open up the discussion to the pack on what recipes everyone else uses. If there’s enough discussion, maybe we could put together something akin to the cookbook we did.

      • Holy cow, I almost forgot about that! Thanks for the reminder!
        Will start putting that one together tomorrow.

  15. Donna in MN says:

    Plastic bandaids don’t last after a few years. I used old cotton stretch ones that last longer and never had one fail to stick when first put on. I always had trouble keeping them on after putting them through water, detergents, and working, etc. For years I used masking tape with a piece of folded paper towel when I had no bandaids as a substitute. They lasted longer staying on than some bandaids. I am prone to finger cuts in my line of work..

  16. honey is a good antibacterial, as is hand soap scrubbed into a wound. Tea tree oil, iodine, silver, the list is endless but I rarely use anything if I get a cut. If you live in a hermetically sealed bubble and never let these bugs have a go at your body you will never develop the natural antibodies to combat them. The best defence against these things is a healthy FIT body, so toss the vitamins in the bin and get your running shoes on and get out there under the sun and crack a sweat.

    • franko – I never liked the idea of anti-bacterial hand gel or anti-bacterial hand soap. Something about it just felt wrong. I have also read several articles in recent years about how countries where everyone’s a clean freak (like the U.S.) have more allergy problems than countries where things aren’t quite as clean. It just makes you wonder if the overly clean environments we create for ourselves are actually good for us or not. I know other diseases run rampant, but allowing your body to create its own anti-bodies seems healthier in the long haul.

  17. Athen Baxter says:

    I don’t have any proof but I have always thought companies put short expiration dates on their products so you will throw them away and buy new.

  18. AB;
    You are not the only one. By giving it a “shelf life”-“use by date”, the younger generation have been raised *do not eat that-it will make you sick*. Growing up in 60-70’s era, when it started to become popular, my mother explained it was a way to have customers continually purchasing goods off the shelves of grocery stores. Yet the product inside was perfectly safe to eat. I have used items way passed the DATE, and there was nothing wrong with the food. The only thing I really noticed was a product with meat inside, after two’s passed it use by date it started to taste old (can of chili). I believe that was due to the fact I was unable to keep it inside a controlled temperature.

    • Becky – I agree. When I tell people that I remember cans with no expiration date, they look at me like I’m crazy. Back then, if the can bulged or the food inside smelled or tasted bad, it was edible. I have run across old medicine bottles in my mother’s things that had no expiration date at all. With medication, you were advised to not take it if it had changed color or had broken down in any other noticeable way.

      • GARed, did you mean “Back then, *unless* the can bulged or the food inside smelled or tasted bad”?

        • Yes – oops! When Friday rolls around, I’m usually pretty worn out – it’s showing today!

          And to make it worse, my reply went out of place.

          • Winomega says:

            I am wondering if concern over botulism is robbing the future of people who can survive mild cases. Basically a “needs of the few” problem.

            Yeah, botulism poisoning doesn’t sound like a fun way to go.

            • There are some medical health and safety reasons behind being fully and truly Kosher. As I was taught when I was learning to cook, pork takes longer to cook and you have to make sure it is done. Cross-contamination is a big issue now, but being Kosher prevents cross contamination. It’s among those things that make me go, “Hmmmmm…”

              • Winomega says:

                GA Red, my hubby actually gave me a short lecture about Kosher…. He explained it as ‘would God bother explaining about cooking temperatures and invisible bugs, or would he just tell his chosen not to eat it?’ And some things relating to nomads and how the local cuisine might not agree with them.

                I’ve heard things about super-kosher being concerned about what the cooking pots touched. I wonder if that translates to some GF stories where the broccoli was blanched in the pasta water (to the point of having a stray noodle in it) and some people don’t get what the deal is.

                • I went to high school with a girl who visited relatives in Israel who were what would be termed super-kosher. There were sets of knives and such specifically set aside for dairy, meats and vegetables (minimum I remember). If a dairy knife was used on a vegetable, a serious cleansing process would have to ensue prior to anything else being prepared in the kitchen. She learned the hard way.

                  As for gluten-free, if you are full Celiac, broccoli being blanched in the pasta water can cause days of illness. My youngest isn’t considered a full Celiac, but she has some cross-contamination issues. It’s similar to someone who has a peanut allergy – just touching them or smelling them can cause an allergic reaction sometimes.

                  • Winomega says:

                    GA Red, that puts my being “religious” about home canning into a good perspective.

                    As for GF, the fad portion is a mixed blessing. Before it was cool, GF would make you shun processed foods. Then GF for weight loss made products available. Now the trend needs to die so awareness can take hold without the gluten-tolerant failing to die from contaminated food.

                    • I wipe my kitchen down with Clorox wipes when I can/process for storage. As a newbie, it’s pure paranoia on my part.

                      Being gluten-free still isn’t easy. I constantly check labels and have to be pretty vigilant to get variety. The popularity has at least increased the labeling of some products that are gluten-free anyway.

              • GA Red,
                The biggest problem with pork in times past was the possibility of getting trichinosis if the meat isn’t thoroughly cooked.

              • GA Red,
                On cross contamination, it’s generally a problem with uncooked foods. A little salmonella on the meat isn’t a big problem, since it is all killed when cooking. Transferring that contamination from the meat to the salad greens or cheese is where the problem happens.

      • GA Red,
        I think everyone is missing the real point. Although botulism and other food born diseases are an important consideration, I think the bigger one is lawyers. Back in the day if you got sick from food in a bulged can, you took your lumps, learned your lesson, and got on with life. Today you would sue the food company. I thinkkkkkkk that the expiration dates are dates that have been calculated to ensure the food will be safe, if not nutritious, when stored in terrible conditions, like high heat, and are in part a hedge against lawsuits.
        Come to think of it, part of our whole dependent society might be because those same lawyers have convinced many of us that things are never our fault.

        • Winomega says:

          Ohio Prepper, that reminds me of a story about how expired Doritos have to be opened before being thrown away, and other things to discourage dumpster diving.

          I cracked a tooth on an expired corn chip, and simply got upset because it was the third time that happened on that particular tooth and it reminded me of how many years and college fees I spent trying to get a job worthy of dental coverage. When I finally married someone who could get me that coverage, I lost four teeth, including that one.

          (I loved him before he got the job. If he hadn’t gotten the job, who knows what sort of asshole I would have settled for.)

          • winomega;
            You gave me a hearty chuckle over the corn chips. It reminded me why I kept telling my dh not to eat corn nuts
            that they would destroy his teeth. Over time he lost them all, the final was due to other circumstances.

  19. Yes – oops! When Friday rolls around, I’m usually pretty worn out – it’s showing today!


    Recent studies show that Hydrogen Peroxide is not necessarily good for cleaning wounds and often increases healing time as the oxidation of the flesh is actually damaging more than helping. Probably better than nothing if you’re trying to avoid infection, but there’s lots of other things more effective.

  21. Wetwork says:

    Hey All

    I have been a paramedic for close to 20 years now and as well as a prepper in a very large city in the north east. As a paramedic i have collected a large amount of medical supplies in my day because as with all of us here you just “never know”

    A few years back, when i started prepping i began to long term prep the large quantities of supplies that’s i had and organized them by category for easier access. Soft wound care such as 4×4’s 5×9’s, gauze rolls etc can be stored indefinitely as long as the sterile packaging is not opened and is stored in a safe light proof place. I have vacuum sealed batches of 100 of my soft goods and then placed them in heavy duty opaque containers for stacking. Most airway supplies are good for long term storage as well once again as long as it is kept cool, light protected and safe.

    Medications are another matter though, injectable or liquid medications or solutions such as Lidocane, Epinephrine, Dopamine and others have a marked date for 3 years for an expiration and then medical professionals are expected to dispose of them. In reality the effected expiration date is actually good for 5 years total before they lose there potency or become toxic. At a private ambulance company that i used to work for they took the drugs that were past the expiration date and then resell them to a company that then shipped them to South America for relief work. Once again the light, temperature and storage method goes a very long way in preserving these items. NEVER ever let your medications freeze if they are in a liquid or injectable form. They will form ice crystals and destroy the long molecule chains making the medications toxic. For the safety of others and your self please do not use any medication that you have been trained to use. You may end up killing yourself or others if misapplied

    Reading the above posts about H2O2 are 100% correct. Hydrogen peroxide can destroy tissues and in normally situations will impede healing so this should not be your first choice. These days it is used for SEVERE cases of infection in preparation for surgical deburring of an infected area.

    Isoprophil Alcohol has a very long shelf life (+10 years and much longer under certain circumstances) as long as its not subjected to heat or light but in most cases you will not be using it for wound care but as a disinfectant for equipment or to sterilize an uninjured area in prep for an I.V. or some other topical support system. In most cases the layman will not be performing these actions.

    If you are reading this and are starting to put together a “Must have” list for the prep scenario and are thinking well i have to get O2 now…..Don’t! O2 is not designed for long term storage at all. The metal cylinders (Both steel and the Aluminum) will turn O2 toxic in less than a year if not used so it really has no place in the preppers world. Since normal atmospheric air has 21% o2 in it you can get away but getting a Bag Valve Mask or just a regular CPR pocket mask and be able to support someone for a very long time.

    All of the above things that i have listed pertain to my “bug-in” setup but in my BOB its a different story. Since i am a medical professional i tend to pack some items that most people wont. The medical kit in my BOB is designed around traumatic events to myself or someone that is with me and does not support more than 2 people.

    Items that are in my BOB are
    2 packages Quick Clot
    12 – 4×4’s
    4 – 5×9
    4 – Pressure dressings
    3 each of small medium and large gauze rolls
    2 – Coban self adhering bandage (small and large)
    1 Nasal Airway and lubricant
    CPR pocket mask
    4 pair of gloves
    2 – quick injects of Epinephrine 1/1000 solution
    1 amp of Epi 1/100000 solution (
    2 Atropine
    1 Tourniquet
    1 Sharpie
    1 Bandage scissor small
    Sugardine (Bedadyn and sugar mix in a small squeeze bottle) This stuff is great! Will stop significant bleeding in a few seconds but make a fresh batch every year and keep it out of the light
    1 SAM Splint

    Everything gets packed into an EDC Trauma Kit pouch that i got from They also have pre made trauma packs that are designed to fit the EDC pouch and are great.I interchange this from my EDC bag to my BOB when the situation dictates a Bug out situation

    I am sure that i am missing 8 or 9 things that are also packed in there but just wanted to touch a few points that were listed above and add my 2 cents.

    Final peice of advice, every single person should go out and take the Red Cross Basic First Aid Course or take an E.M.T course! The knowledge that you will gain for yourself and the ones that you love will be more helpful than 10,000 pounds of food or more ammo than all the armies in the world

    Happy Prepping!

    • Wetwork,
      I know what Atropine is and what it is used for. Is it commonly available, prescription, etc. In short, how does one acquire a supply.
      I know it’s not the same thing, but is similar in that since I keep bees, I keep Epipens on hand, thanks to my Doc who writes me a yearly script. Does Atropine require such a thing,

  22. Wetwork,Thanks for your insightful post. Why do you have atropine?
    Thanks. Arlene

  23. Wetwork says:

    For Cholinesterase inhibitors such as Sarin or VX gas. Living in a big city we are always targets for chemical attacks and since the EDC med pack is always with me it made sense to put some in

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