Modern medicine has made life easier and longer lasting in so many ways. Most people do not even realize that all of these wonderful things, like aspirin for example, have been around in their current form for only a little over 100 years. Our easy access to so many different medicines over the counter (OTC) is something that will be sorely missed should the S ever hit the fan.
Here are 10 OTC medicines that everyone should have in their emergency supplies, everyday carry and bug out bags.
First and foremost, there should be both adult and children’s (think chewable!) aspirin in your bag. The pain relief aside, this is excellent for fever reduction, thinning the blood, and aspirin (NOT acetaminophen) helping someone recover from a heart attack or prevent future ones! Acetaminophen is inexpensive and is considered the most successful non-prescription medication in history.
Also good for pain relief and reducing inflammation and swelling due to menstrual cycles, arthritis or other pain caused by inflammation. It is a fever reducer much like acetaminophen but some can tolerate ibuprofen better.
In a SHTF situation, people will still get gassy tummies or a lot of acid build-up due to stress and lack of food. Antacids will help with the discomfort and slow damage done to the stomach and esophagus. Ulcers are sure to form and for those who already have them, they will quickly run out of their prescriptions. Examples for stocking up are Tums, Alka-Seltzer, and Rolaids.
4. Antihistamines and Anti-allergens
Allergies will be even worse after SHTF. People will have to be outside more, if for no other reason than to gather, hunt, and grow food. Without electricity, staying inside may become unbearable in hot weather. For those in rural areas, once the prescriptions run out, all that will be left are things like Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec. Antihistamines help with the reduction of swelling in the sinuses and assist with overall allergens by blocking the histamines that cause the symptoms.
5. Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
Also known as pink bismuth, this time-tested medicine covers many digestive system issues. Indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea are just some of the symptoms this medicine helps relieve. Diarrhea can kill if not taken care of, and one of the most important reasons for having something on hand is to keep yourself hydrated to make up for what you lose. Thankfully, this now comes in a convenient chewable pill form and is easy to carry with you.
6. Cough/Mucus Control
Sinus infections, influenza, allergies, damp conditions, and exposure can lead to being stuffed up, unable to breath or get the gunk out. Coming in both pill and liquid forms, this medicine has saved many people from a doctor visit (and bill). Other than providing relief for the ones who are ill, it can also help protect those who are not. If those who are sick are coughing a lot, the sickness has a better chance to spread.
No one wants to think about this but when their body forces them to, they will be eternally grateful for the little pill or chew that will relieve their discomfort. When in a SHTF situation occurs, what kinds of foods and how much or how often can result in constipation. If left untreated, constipation can kill.
8. Sleep Aides
In any major upset in your life, sleepless nights are often a side effect of the stress. Many people have troubles with, “turning their brain off,” so they can sleep. I would imagine that cases of insomnia will rise exponentially and in a post-disaster scenario, sleep will be more important than ever before. Your ability to make decisions and good judgments will be hindered from a prolonged lack of sleep. There are so many options for sleeping aides out there; I will leave it to you to decide which is best. Also consider natural remedies, such as lavender essential oil or dried lavender.
9. Saline Spray/Solution
Saline solution is another wonderful thing to have with you. Even a small bottle could save someone from infections or aid in another way. I am all for having versatile resources that have more than one use. Saline solution can help with wound irrigation, eye and sinus flushing, and of course cleaning your contact lenses.
SO MANY people overlook simple vitamins when talking about medicinal items to store and carry for emergencies. In my opinion, vitamins are more important than any of the other things listed here. In a post-disaster scenario, everyone who did not prepare will be suffering from a ‘lack.’ A lack of food, perhaps clean water, sanitation, and assuredly a vitamin deficiency will be all too common.
Your body needs vitamins and minerals to function normally. Your immune system will be fighting off bacteria and viruses at a higher rate, particularly in urban settings, and will need extra nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to help with the process. When it finds none, it will attack the muscles or other organs to get what it needs.
All of the above are easily bought over the counter without a prescription. Before you go out on a buying spree, though, take a look at your medicine cabinet and pull out all of the stuff stashed in there. Check expiration dates and keep them rotated.
Also, consider those who may be coming to you for help and if you are able to, buy a little extra for trade or barter. A bottle of 500 ibuprofen pills is small and easy to pack, not to mention worth a small fortune in a post-disaster situation. NOW is the time to get this checked off your preparedness list, when you can consider things in a calm and logical manner.
LeAnn in Alaska
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