Fish Antibiotics for Human Use: Pros and Cons
Many preppers buy and store “fish antibiotics” for possible human use when the
SHTF. The idea is that a disaster may make the usual means of health care unavailable for an extended period of time. A person who is sick and needs an antibiotic might be unable to get to a doctor or hospital for proper care and a prescription. But many types of antibiotics, commonly used to treat diseases in humans, are readily available without a prescription for use in treating aquarium fish. In some cases, these are the same antibiotics used to treat humans, made by the same companies to the same standard.
In fact, here is what Thomas Labs, a maker of fish antibiotics says on their website, with my emphasis added:
“Q. What are fish antibiotics?
“A. Fish antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in fish. The antibiotics that are used to treat fish are the same or similar as the antibiotics that are provided for human use from antibiotic manufacturing companies, depending on type of antibiotic and form. Antibiotic tablets and capsules used for ornamental and pet fish are the same as the antibiotics dispensed from the local pharmacies for human use, except that they are clearly labeled for fish use only and are not for human consumption.
“Q. If the antibiotics for fish are the same as the USP grade antibiotics that are dispensed from human pharmacies then why are should humans not take them also?
“A. The law clearly states that any antibiotic for non-human use needs to be labeled as ‘not for human use’ regardless of application.Thomas Labs sources it’s antibiotics from the same USP grade manufacturing as antibiotics used for humans, but we are not doctor’s and do not deal in human health problems. Only a doctor can correctly prescribe antibiotics for specific need in humans. Thomas Labs will take no responsibility in the mis-use of its products made for animals. If a human is sick and needs antibiotics then it is likely that person also needs the expertise and guidance of a doctor.”
So there you have it. The very same antibiotics used in humans are sold for use in fish. Note the qualification, though, that only the “tablets and capsules” are the same as in humans. The powdered form sometimes used to add to the aquarium water is in some way different. Don’t buy the powdered form for human use. If you decide to buy fish antibiotics (and I’m not recommending that you should), at least make certain these are tablets or capsules.
But there are Pros and Cons to treating yourself with antibiotics.
If medical care is unavailable, stored fish antibiotics could, theoretically, save you from suffering an lengthy illness or even save your life (e.g. in the case of pneumonia).
High quality antibiotics are available via the internet for reasonable prices.
Antibiotics store fairly well (and they come with expiration dates).
Many persons have experience taking a particular antibiotic for a particular recurring ailment, so they know what to take and in what dosage.
Medical information on diseases and antibiotics is available online.
A prepper might be able to get advice from a doctor or nurse online as to which antibiotics to take (in a situation where that doctor couldn’t send the person a prescription).
If you are not a medical professional, it’s easy to take the wrong antibiotic or the wrong dosage.
If you overuse antibiotics, you can kill off the good bacteria in our GI tract, causing intestinal ailments.
Any antibiotic, even one you have used successfully before, can have side effects; these effects can sometimes be severe and require medical treatment.
If you mistakenly think you need an antibiotic, when you really need a different medication, your ailment could become much worse while you vainly attempt to treat it with the wrong medication.
The use of fish antibiotics by humans is illegal.
I would not personally rule out taking fish antibiotics, if I had the need. I have, let’s just say, done a lot of reading in the field of health and medicine. I would feel confident, in some limited situations, looking up the correct type of antibiotic and the correct dosage on certain few reliable medical websites. But I can’t really make a general recommendation to everyone, because of the substantial Cons to this use of antibiotics, including the fact that it is illegal.
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Fish antibiotics may work, sure, but they’re pricey. I order antibiotics from an online pharmacy for a fraction of the price, even with shipping. Plus I can get better stuff, like Zithromax.
Fish antibiotics are about 1/10th the price of antibiotics sold for human use.