Stocking Up On Over the Counter Medicines

Stocking up on over the counter medicines should be a top priority for any beginning prepper. OTC medications are often inexpensive and easy to accumulate because they are widely available. Over the counter medicines can be lifesaving in an emergency situation and I encourage you to make sure you store each of the following in addition to the Physicians Desk Reference or a nursing guide to drugs which you can frequently find at the Goodwill for less than $1. Remember-I am NOT a doctor. These are things I personally store for my family and am sharing so you can determine what might be right for yours.stocking up on over the counter medicines

  • Aspirin-Aspirin is a known blood thinner, pain reliever and fever reducer. One of the first things an emergency department will give anyone with chest pains is chewable aspirin to help prevent a heart attack. It may also be able to replace drugs like coumadin in an extreme emergency. Do some research on if this is a good option for your family members.
  • Ibuprofen-Pain, anti-inflammatory and fever.
  • Acetaminophen– Pain and fever. If someone is ill enough, you can often alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen to keep them more comfortable and bring a fever down faster.
  • Loperamide-In a situation where water and food may not be the most sanitary, Imodium (loperamide) could save lives by slowing down digestion motility and reducing water loss.
  • Senna-natural laxative.
  • Omeprazole or Ranitidine– acid reducer. In an emergency you may be eating foods that you are not used to. These will help control stomach acids and make the transition more comfortable.
  • Diphenhydramine- this antihistamine commonly known as Benedryl can be lifesaving in the case of an allergic reaction. Also, taken in higher doses can be used as an effective sleep aid.
  • Cough suppressant– or whatever type of cold medicine works best for your family.
  • Multivitamins-In an emergency, you will likely not be eating the most well rounded meals. Multivitamins can keep you healthy and fill in the nutritional gaps.
  • Potassium IodideRead direct from the CDC
  • Triple Antibiotic Cream-prevent infections from scrapes and cuts.
  • Miconazole cream or powder-treats fungal infections like jock itch, athletes foot, ringworms or vaginal infections.
  • Hydrocortisone cream– treats red, itchy rashes like poison ivy, eczema, and diaper rash.
  • Temporary Dental Filling-found by most toothbrush displays. Alternatively, clove oil can be used to soothe toothaches.
  • Bandages- all shapes and sizes from large dressings to small blister types.
  • Eye drops
  • Saline Spray
  • Vaseline
  • Burn Gel

Stocking up on over the counter medicines in pill form is best when possible but also make sure to have liquids for any children you may be caring for. I find that buying most of these at Big Box stores makes them ridiculously cheap. For example, yesterday I saw 350 Imodium generics at Sams for less than $4. You are likely to be able to get significant quantities to get you started on the list above for roughly $100 and that will be worth its weight in gold should you ever need them and not be able to run down to Walgreens.

Comments

  1. I just came from CVS with the intent to purchase their brand of OTC Meds at a steal. My excitement for the buy 1 get 1 for $5 offer diminished when the expiration dates wouldn’t go beyond 2015. What is your knowledge of storing OTC Meds stored beyond the expiration dates? Are there any prepping techniques we can do to extend the potency of the meds when they expire?

    • There is a lot of debate on how accurate expiration dates are. I personally don’t worry too much about the expiration dates on OTC meds and tend to worry more about it on things like antibiotics but I have talked with other preppers who do one of two things with OTC: put their meds into mylar bags with 02 absorbers the way you would for long term storage of beans, rice, etc. OR store it in a sealed foodsaver bag in the freezer. I choose mylar over freezing with meds because the enemy of anything losing its efficacy is light and oxygen. Antibiotics I keep in the freezer.

  2. What a helpful list.

    One other thing I know I must do for myself is to put in my calendar about 3 years in the future to put the kit together all over again. Otherwise I could find myself with all old stuff (which is, of course, better than no stuff).

  3. Personally I think using too much Ibuprofen is bad for the body. Anyway, this is a good list you’ve put together. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. I’d suggest also stocking dimenhydrinate – better known as Gravol. Works for motion sickness and other causes of nausea.

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