Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Medication preps

IF H1N1 becomes a serious issue this fall you don't want to find yourself standing in a crowd of sick people at the drug store or worse yet staring at an empty shelf where the medicines should be. You should actually expect to suffer MORE illnesses during a crisis than you would in your everyday life. After a long days work (possibly out in the elements) you'll at least need some pain relief, perhaps even cold/cough medication. If a flu pandemic does sweep through your town do you have the basic supplies to treat yourself and your family? A winter storm shuts down your town for several days - do you have adequate supplies of prescription medications to get through until you can get to the pharmacy?

If you rely on prescription medications you should plan on keeping at least 3 months on hand at all times. This is particularly important for physical ailments such as diabetes and heart disease; but for someone suffering from a mental or emotional disorder - a time of crisis is not a good time to find yourself without the medication that keeps your head clear and focused. Additionally, many drugs prescribed for mental/emotional issues are controlled substances which can make stocking up particularly troublesome. In these cases you might want to use the margin at the end of your prescription to get a couple extra pills set aside each month. For example, you have enough pills to get you through till the 20th so you order your refill on the 15th. I know some people suggest asking your doctor for a longer refill by saying you'll be out of the country. I've never tried that so I can't speak to it's effectiveness, legality, or morality in your situation.

This is a good place to remind those of you who rely on eyeglasses/contacts to keep your old pair of glasses in your emergency kit as a back up. You should also have a current copy of your prescription in case you need to replace yours on short notice. There are many websites that sell perfectly good eyeglasses at extremely reasonable prices ($10-20) - all you need is a copy of your prescription from your eye doctor. With this spare pair and prescription you should also keep one or two eyeglass repair kits. These are super cheap and anyone who wears eyeglasses should have several around them at all times.
Here are just a few places we keep repair kits: Purse/Wallet, Car, Desk, Work, Locker, First Aid Kit, 24/72 hour kit, Bug Out Bags.

BIRTH CONTROL - We all have our values/beliefs - prepare yourself as you see fit. Nuff said.

I'm no expert on supplies for people with disabilities but if you have and elderly or invalid member of your family take a few minutes to consider what their needs will be in an emergency situation. If possible, talk with them about it. They may come up with some needs that never crossed your mind. If you have the space and want to be thorough you can get crutches for free quite frequently at yard sales. Once in a while you can find a wheelchair. That's more prepared than I can ever hope to be but one never knows...

So here's a fairly thorough list of medications to keep on hand. I've decided to post First Aid items separately though some things like triple antibiotic may be included in both areas. Also - I've decided not to delve into natural/herbal/homeopathics in this post. Hopefully I can cover those at another time. For today we will just look at basic OTC (over the counter) medications that are readily available at most drug stores, grocery stores, etc.

  • Selection of pain relievers based on your needs and preferences: Aspirin, non-aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen, ibuprofen, headache relief, migraine relief. Make sure you have infants/children's dosages if you need them. Also remember to keep at least two forms of fever reducer for children as they can be alternated but NOT duplicated (i.e. you can use acetaminophen and ibuprofen alternating - but NEVER use two different brands of just one as it can cause severe damage to the child. Ask your pediatrician NOW if this confuses you. Don't wait til it's 3AM and you have a kid with a 103 fever!)
  • Cold & Cough/Flu medicine - We keep generic Day and Nighttime versions of Nyquil on hand. Again make sure you have infants/children's if needed. With children you may also want to keep 2 or 3 types of 'tussin' as well depending on the symptoms your kids tend to have.
  • Cough drops, vitamin c lozenges, etc.
  • Menthol rub
  • Sinus/Allergy medication - Benadryll, sudafed, etc Don't forget the kids. Might also want to consider a Neti pot but that's getting into natural medicine.
  • Anti-Dihareal - we've found that the pills work better than the pink stuff for this
  • Tums/Maalox/Rolaids/Pepcid, etc.
  • Pink bismuth -does a much better job for nausea than any of the above.
  • Afterbite, Hydrocortizone, Calamine
  • Triple Anti-biotic ointment
  • Anti-fungal cream/ foot powder
  • Hemherroid cream, pads, suppositories
  • Baby rash ointment - works for all sorts of mild to moderate skin irritation - not just for babies
  • Sunblock
  • OTC eye medications including - saline drops, Similasan for pink eye (I can attest to the effectiveness of this - worth every penny and cheaper than a trip to the Dr when you catch it from your kid!)
  • OTC earache relief (again from Similasan)
  • Epi-pen if needed
  • Ipecac - can't imagine this stuff ever goes bad, really - how could it taste worse or not make you puke?
Recommended skills -
Red Cross certification in CPR & First Aid
EMT training if feasible

Recommended resources -
PDR: Physicians Desk Reference
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy by Mark H Beers
US Army Special Forces Medical Handbook - Department of the Army

Recommended reading -
Survivalist Medicine Chest or Do it yourself Medicine by Ragnar Benson
Wilderness Medicine, Beyond First Aid by William Forgey
Where There is No Doctor by David Werner
Where There is No Dentist
by Murray Dickson

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