While most Preppers are well stocked with food, water, and first-aid supplies something that often goes neglected or unthought of is Over The Counter Medicine. Making sure you have enough basic cold medicines, fever reducers, anti-diarrheals, and other general medications can be critical in times of emergency.
We’ve all seen how quickly store shelves are emptied of food when a major storm hits. SuperStorm Sandy and our recent experience with Blizzard Nemo are two great examples that happened within just a few months of each other and in the same region. Apparently many of the residents of the NorthEast didn’t learn a lesson from the first disaster and had a repeat of their hardships with the winter storm…
In that example we’re talking about food, something that every household should be well stocked with. Grocery stores are also usually so fully stocked with such a wide variety of food that many many families could be fed from what just one store contains at any given time. How many people can a grocery store feed? I’m not exactly sure but just from wandering up and down the aisles this afternoon I can tell you it’s hundreds or even thousands just from what’s on the shelves at any given time.
Then I strolled over to the aisle near the pharmacy and made a quick estimate of how many people could get the basic medicines they would need just from what was on the shelves. Again, I can’t be sure but the answer is more like a couple dozen, not hundreds and certainly not thousands. And, by the way, in modern grocery stores there is no “in the back”. What you see on the shelves is what they have. Period.
Now imagine a bad flu sweeps the country and everyone is scrambling for cold medicine and fever reducers, something that could be lifesaving. There would be an immediate shortage. Chicken soup and some good old TLC can do wonders for a cold but a youngster with a fever that’s spiking needs medicine. That’s why I recommend keeping enough OTC medicine on hand to get your whole family through a tough bought of the flu. Fever reducers that are appropriate for kids and adults being a critical component. I Do Not recommend stocking up on the kinds of medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. These are usually kept behind the counter and in most states you need to show i.d. to purchase them. That’s because these types of medicines are a common ingredient in methamphetamine and you don’t want to be storing anything like that lest you be mistaken for a criminal.
So take a look in your own medicine cabinet and make a ballpark estimate of how long you could treat a sick family with just what you have on hand. Do you have enough to get you through an outbreak?