Does the Red Cross recommend that people stock up on certain antibiotics?
No. An antibiotic is a chemical that is used after exposure to a disease-causing organism. Health professionals are reluctant to or will not prescribe antibiotics before exposure (prophylactic treatment) because that further increases the problem of mutations of organisms to be resistant to antibiotics.

If an organism develops resistance to common antibiotics, then more powerful antibiotics may have to be used instead. More powerful antibiotics often have serious side-effects, sometimes worse than the actual disease. In addition:

  • Antibiotics are specific as to the type of organism they work for. You don't know which one to take until you know what you have been exposed to. Usually the lay-public can not tell what one has been exposed to. A doctor has to determine that, usually through tests.

  • Most antibiotics have a limited shelf-life, and some require refrigeration and/or special storage.

  • Antibiotics are not useful for virus-caused illnesses. Viruses are different types of organisms and are not affected by antibiotics.

  • The Red Cross only recommends that people have antibiotics on hand that their physician has prescribed for specific conditions. Further, the person receiving the antibiotics should get advice from the physician or a licensed pharmacist as how to store and maintain antibiotics, as well as how to use them.

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1. Will anyone tell me to stay in my home or leave the area?
2. What are the important points to remember in case we are told to "shelter-in-place?"
3. Does the Red Cross recommend stocking duct tape and plastic sheeting?
4. I'm confused about this duct tape and plastic sheeting recommendation. Am I supposed to seal my whole house and do it now? How much do I need? Is plastic really going to stop a chemical agent?
5. Do I need a safe room? What is a safe room?
6. How much time do I have to get to my designated room to shelter-in-place once I hear of an attack?
7. Do I need to put towels under my door? Should they be wet?
8. If I seal off my rooms and vents, how will I breathe? How long should I anticipate being in the room in which I am sheltering-in-place?
9. Is the bathroom a good room in which to shelter-in-place?
10. How many disaster supplies kits should I have?
11. What about my pets? How much should I add to my disaster supplies kit for them?
12. What's the difference between an "all hazards" disaster supplies kit and a WMD disaster supplies kit?
13. Do you recommend that people have a gas mask?
14. Does the Red Cross recommend that people stock up on certain antibiotics?
15. Should I stock up on potassium iodide (KI?)
16. Do I need to evacuate my home?
17. Tell me more about the personal communications plan that you recommend?
18. How do I know which radio station to listen to get information?
19. If I live in a high-rise, do I respond the same way as if I lived in a home?
20. How can schools prepare for the unexpected?
21. What should you do if you hear about an emergency and your children are in school?
22. How do I find out what kind of plan my place of employment has?
23. Should I take a disaster supplies kit to work with me?
24. Isn’t preparing for an unspecified emergency a waste of time? Do you think the government is helping or hurting the American people with these types of messages?
25. How can we handle fears and concerns of children?
26. How do I stay calm?
27. Do I stay low to the ground during a chemical attack?
28. Tell me about smallpox, ricin, and other specific biological or chemical hazards.
29. What is a dirty bomb, and what is the radius of the effects of a dirty bomb?
30. What's the difference between a chemical and biological threat?
31. What about decontamination if you think you've been exposed?
32. During a biological threat, should I fill up the bathtub with water?
33. What if I come in contact with a chemical or biological agent? Can I go in the room selected to shelter-in-place with the rest of my family?
34. What do I do if I suspect an attack?
35. Do I need to buy a generator?
36. What will trigger a move to the severe level in the homeland security system?
37. What if I'm in a mall or store during an attack - where do I need to go?
38. What if I'm in my car? Is there anything I can do?
39. If I hear of an attack, what are the most important things I need to do in the first three or five minutes?