Part of being truly prepared for an emergency is thinking about any potential scenario. No matter what particular disaster you are prepping for, medications are essential to stockpile. Having a few carefully chosen drugs on hand to combat sicknesses could make a huge difference in how your family handles a disaster scenario. It’s obvious that you should have extra supplies of any prescription drugs you take on a regular basis, but you should also think about the medicines for routine illnesses like colds, flu, headaches, stomach upset, or allergies. Here are 10 important over-the-counter medications that you should start stockpiling now.
Sold under brand names like Advil or Motrin, Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug that is helpful in dozens of illnesses. It’s most commonly used to treat pain or inflammation, but it is also effective for reducing fevers. Ibuprofen can offer relief for sore throats, headaches, arthritis, menstrual cramps, muscle pain, gout, sinus pressure and pain, or painful kidney infections. You can rotate doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen to keep a fever down or to reduce severe pain when you don’t have access to prescription strength pain relievers like codeine and hydrocodone.
Most commonly known as Tylenol, acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory so it won’t cause stomach irritations. You can use acetaminophen for pain relief and fever reduction and the side effects are minimal. Just be aware that you should never take more acetaminophen than the recommended dosage because it could lead to liver failure, especially when combined with alcohol. You should stock up on acetaminophen in both adult and children’s dosages.
You probably recognize Loperamide as Imodium and it is an essential medication for preppers. It is used to stop diarrhea and relieve stomach cramps. Stock up on Imodium in liquid and tablet form.
Pseudoephedrine is a great remedy for congestion, colds, and allergies. It can also be a good treatment for bronchitis or asthma irritation. It is sold under the name “Sudafed” and you might have to ask for it at the pharmacy counter. Because it causes a stimulant effect, you will only be able to purchase a small amount of Sudafed at a time and drug stores may ask for your driver’s license. This is just to detract people from purchasing large amounts to use in making illicit drugs. Never give Sudafed to children under age six and only take the dosage recommended. Some common side effects could be similar to drinking too much coffee: rapid heart beat, adrenaline rush, or sleeplessness.
Diphenhydramine (also called Benedryl) is one of the most important medications to stockpile. It can be used to treat colds, allergies, itching, hives, rashes, or allergic reactions to environmental allergens or foods. It can also be used to treat insomnia or mild anxiety, but some people feel drowsy after taking it. You can get Benedryl in pill or liquid forms and if you have a family member with severe allergies, you should also stock up on the fast-dissolving strips.
Meclizine is sometimes called Bonine or Dramamine. It is most often used to treat motion sickness, but it is also good for treating vertigo, anxiety, insomnia, or even vomiting.
Acid reflux is not fun and in stressful situations, it can get worse. Ranitidine (sold as Zantac) is a well tolerated treated for heartburn, acid-reflux, and ulcers. If someone in your family has a tendency to have stomach problems, you should definitely have a good stock of Ranitidine in your medical supplies.
8. Hydrocortisone Cream
Hydrocortisone cream is helpful for so many different skin irritations. It is safe for use by adults and children and you can use it to treat poison ivy, eczema, hives, diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, and other skin irritations. My grandmother used to say that if she ever had a heart attack, she would just rub Hydrocortisone cream on her chest. While this is of course not going to stop a heart attack, it is still a multipurpose medication that you should add to your stockpile.
9. Bacitracin Ointment
If you suffer from a cut, insect bite, or bee sting, bacitracin is an essential over-the-counter medication to have on hand. It is an anti-bacterial medication that can help stop infections in a superficial wound. Just keep in mind that it is not an antibiotic and if you have a deep puncture wound, you will likely need an oral antibiotic to treat deeper infections.
Clotrimazole is also called Lotrimen and it is used to treat fungal and yeast infections. It’s a good option to treat athlete’s foot, ringworm, or jock itch as well as irritations in skin folds or heat rashes.
All of these medications can be purchased at your local drug store and they are mostly inexpensive. Take some time to evaluate how much of these medications you currently have on hand and then make a list of the drugs you need to stock up on next time you are at the drug store.