Due to the fact that the cost of medications has drastically increased over the last decade and they have become increasingly harder to get due to changes in health care regulation, long gone are the days when you could go to the junk drawer to pull out that stash of antibiotics from the illness you had a year ago. Medications if stored in a cool, dry place will not lose their potency for at least five years. After five years they will begin to degrade at a rate of about a 10% drop in potency every decade (10 years). Some medications however degrade faster such as time-released capsules and liquid capsules, the latter of which are not reliable after their intended expiration. The following list of over-the-counter medications would be a good starting point to always keep on hand.
Caffeine Pills: To stave off withdrawal symptoms of coffee, soda, tea, etc. as they become less available or unavailable in a true system collapse
Antihistamine: Benadryl, Dramamine, and Diphenhydramine can treat pain and itching caused by insect bites, minor cuts, burns, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac when applied topically. In its oral form, it can treat hay fever, allergies, cold symptoms, and insomnia. They also make pain relievers work better such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, Vicodin, and Percocet.
Claritin: A non-drowsy antihistamine alternative
Anti-Diarrheal: Immodium, eases pain, gas, and inflammation of the digestive system. If blood is present in diarrhea with a fever it's a sign of a toxin in the body, diarrhea is the body's way of removing it.
Rehydration Aids: Gatorade, Pedialite, Jello all serve as electrolyte replacements and should be administered at half strength, diluted with water.
Anti-Nausea: Anavert, Dramamine, Phenergan, Promethazine all perform very similar functions and can treat allergies and motion sickness. They can also be used as a sedative before and after surgery and medical procedures, to control pain, nausea, and vomiting. One recent study showed cetirizine (Zyrtec) to be 90% as effective as the prescription drug Zofran for controlling nausea.
Acetaminophen: Tylenol for pain and fever reduction
Ibuprofen: Aleve, Advil, For the reduction of Inflammation
If you have High Blood Pressure, Consider Anacin or Excedrin over Ibuprofen.
◦ When Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are combined at the rate of 1000mg Acetaminophen and 800mg Ibuprofen, they mimic the effects of Vicodin without the narcotic side effects. Every 8 hours. Be cautious about the total dose of acetaminophen. It is present in a lot of other OTC drugs.
Aspirin: Can be used to treat pain, fever, headache, and inflammation. It can also reduce the risk of heart attacks.
These items are in addition to specialized products related to hygiene, dental care, eye care, etc.
None of the aforementioned items however really do anything to solve issues of serious infections. Unless you have a physician in your family, it's unlikely that you'll be able to secure a decent supply of antibiotics for various conditions. There is, however, a safe alternative found in certain veterinary medications. Medications created for fish and birds are the exact same as those created for human consumption. The last several years has led to an increasing number of people taking advantage of this fact and has created a demand for certain products thereby making the price increase from where it used to be, with that said, the products are still very affordable, and again, should only be used when there is no option of going to the doctor for medical care.
For true long-term survival situations, a broad-spectrum antibiotic would be best. For that Cipro, Levaquin or related antibiotics would be a good choice for adult patients as they are the most broad-spectrum being good for bacterial infections including anthrax. Augmentin would be the best choice for children as far as broad-spectrum goes, being good for bites and general wound care as well. But, it is a penicillin-based drug, therefore a known allergic reaction to penicillin would be vital information to have. For the sake of ease, I have taken the common drug name and referenced the corresponding veterinary medication along with a snapshot of it's intended usage.
Please be advised that the information provided does not include drug interactions, these medications may not mix well with others, so please do your own diligent research and consult your physician before taking any new medication. The information provided is for academic purposes only.
By combining Cipro/ Levaquin/Augmentin as a broad spectrum and combining it with Metronidazole for anaerobic organisms (bugs that grow without air) you'll be covered against 85-90% of the bugs out there!
Now, armed with this information, you should be able to begin stocking up your medicine cabinet for the worst-case scenario we all hope to avoid.