Medical Care

17 OTC Meds For A Survival Kit



Feature | Close up of hand is holding a medicine bottles background | OTC Meds For Survival Kit

Check out these must-have OTC meds for a survival kit so you won't miss any that's handy in a survival situation!

RELATED: 7 Ayurvedic Remedies For Better Health

Must-Have OTC Meds for a Survival Kit You Should Know

1. Aspirin

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This is an OTC med, long used as pain relief and for fever reduction. Its properties also help treat other illnesses like arthritis and stroke.

When taking aspirin for self-medication, do check the label to be mindful of the dosage. Stop as soon as you experience side effects which includes tinnitus or ringing in the ears and difficulty in hearing.

Don't take aspirin right away, but take it only if the pain is unbearable. The same goes if you feel no difference after a few minutes of observation.

2. Acetaminophen

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Stock up your prepper medical kit with this medicine as an alternative for aspirin.

It is also a medication used to ease the pain. In fact, people use this med to treat headaches, dental pain, and to reduce fever.

3. Ibuprofen

This is also a type of OTC meds which provides pain relief and another medicine to stock up on. It is also great for managing pain from some types of arthritis.

Remember, take this on a full stomach to avoid side effects. It may include drowsiness, diarrhea, nausea, and ringing in the ears.

4. Naproxen Sodium

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This is also another pain med you can add to your survival medical kit list. That's because it is also flexible in treating other symptoms.

You may use this to reduce severe fever or joint pain and stiffness, fast. In fact, the effects of this med are longer than the other prepper pain meds on this list.

5. Migraine Medicine

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Extra Strength Excedrin is a popular medicine perfect for migraine patients. This medicine utilizes the power of caffeine to manage tension headaches and migraines.

If you have to take this medicine, make sure you do not combine it with other pain medication. As a matter of fact, avoid taking two types of pain medication all at once.

6. Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride

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This generic med is an anti-allergy medicine. It goes by many brand names like Benadryl, Genahist, and Sominex.

You can use this OTC medicine to treat allergic reactions you may get from bee stings, pollen, or other triggers.

In some cases, you can combine an antihistamine and a decongestant. That is to treat nausea, common cold, and insomnia.

7. Loperamide HCl

This anti-diarrhea medicine should also be in your survival medicine list. It will provide relief from diarrhea.

It will also help if you have inflammatory bowel disease, gastroenteritis, or short bowel syndrome.

What Is Gastroenteritis? It is a health condition in which the stomach is inflamed or irritated. The inflammation can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection.

8. Bismuth Subsalicylate

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This is a great medication for occasional upset stomach and for diarrhea. It is also known as Pepto-Bismol, one of its common brand names.

This med can also aid people who suffer from indigestion, heartburn, and nausea. Avoid this though if bacteria is causing your diarrhea.

9. Benzocaine

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Feminine health issues are difficult for women in a survival environment. Any discomfort will only add to the difficulty experienced in a survival situation.

A vaginal itching cream like Vagisil comes with benzocaine. It is an ingredient known to relieve feminine itching and burning.

Do use in moderation or you may experience some unnecessary numbing effects.

RELATED: Building A Target First Aid Kit: Part 1

10. VaporRub

A VaporRub is a versatile item on your first aid kit. As it happens, VaporRub is one of the medicine cabinet essentials in many homes for generations now.

From colds, body pains and aches to insect bites, VaporRub offers relief from multiple body issues.

11. Antacid/Heartburn Relief

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Meds like Tums and Pepsid relieve heartburn or inflammation of your gullet. This is because the properties in the antacids neutralize your stomach acid.

Take note: You must never take them with food, though.

12. Cold/Flu Remedies

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Cold and flu are as common as they come. So you need to have cold and flu remedies to take as soon as you experience the symptoms.

Keep cough suppressants like guaifenesin in your survival meds kit.

13. Antibacterial Ointment

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You will always find this medicine in a home first aid kit. An antibacterial ointment prevents cuts, scrapes, and burns from getting an infection.

The consistency and its healing properties can even help chapped skin.

14. Burn Gel

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Burns are the most common injuries during an SHTF situation. So a burn gel on hand can help cool and ease the affected area fast.

Some burn gel brands are also antibacterial which prevents infection. This item is a must on your emergency medical kit indeed.

15. Re-hydration Salts

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Children are prone to dehydration. And it won't do in an SHTF situation, especially when you're on the move.

Total dehydration may lead to death. Children may lose nutrients and essential minerals because of dehydration.

Re-hydration salts will supply potassium and other nutrients back, though.

16. Laxative

An SHTF situation is stressful triggering constipation in some people. Having constipation for so long could lead to various health problems.

A laxative then is helpful in this case when you have difficulty with a bowel movement.

17. Antacids

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Antacids can help calm gassy tummies. They can also prevent symptoms which can lead to an ulcer.

Alka-Seltzer and Rolands are popular brands.

Check out this video from Iridium242 for an in-depth guide to stocking OTC meds for a survival kit:

Staying healthy is the best way to cope with any long-term disaster. The body’s threshold to disease increases with proper medicines to fight illnesses.

The mind can think fast and quick while the body follows suit in an emergency situation. Let this roundup be your guide on what OTC meds to keep on your prepper medical supplies list!

Do you have questions about prepping OTC meds for a survival kit? Write them all in the comments section below! 

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 22, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Javs Auto

    July 21, 2015 at 2:40 AM cool article. I wrote one on my site in that link about some necessary survival items.

    • Larry

      February 3, 2018 at 11:10 PM

      Please give the name of the article, the link does not work. Thanks!l

  2. Neil Saint

    February 3, 2018 at 5:44 PM

    Remember, vitamin c needs bioflavanoids to be absorbed

  3. Quek Cumberbatch

    February 3, 2018 at 7:39 PM

    It is a serious mistake not to include raw honey, clorox, astringent/anti-microbial wipes, baking soda and vinegar.
    Semper Fi

    • Robert M

      February 9, 2018 at 5:31 PM

      You are correct ( thanx for specifying RAW honey) …maybe things blood absorbers, ect ect –Semper Fi

  4. Rock

    February 3, 2018 at 9:03 PM

    I would also include something for constipation especially if the elderly is in your group. Miralax has a box with 10 single dose packets, in which they call travel size, that would be good for a bug out bag or store in your bug out location.

    Along with the Excedrin I might suggest the PM version, to help trouble with sleeping.

    With the vitamins, if you are going out anywhere where you will mix with the public, I would suggest taking Airborne chewable tablets. You can find a large bottle with 100+ tablets in it. If you can plan ahead, I suggest taking one the day before, two the day of (one morning and one evening) and one each day for two or three days after. This could ward off bringing home a cold or maybe even the flu. If somebody has better dosage instruction, please post.

  5. Michael Bagent

    February 4, 2018 at 5:15 PM

    Benadryl has a number of off-label uses as well. It’s pretty good for nausea, and can be taken as a suppository if you’re already vomiting. In fact, all of the old-school antihistamines can relieve nausea (ever worn a scopolamine ear patch for motion sickness? You guessed it, also an old-school antihistamine). The gold standard for relief of nausea and vomiting is a drug called Phenergan. When Phenergan was first released on the market years ago, it was released as a prescription-strength antihistamine, just like Benadryl was a scrip-only drug. It was discovered by accident that it also works for nausea/vomiting, and has been THE drug given in hospitals for N/V.

  6. Glenn

    February 5, 2018 at 10:11 PM

    The thing I’m wondering is, yes you can get all these otc meds, but how long they gonna last really. Wouldn’t it be better to have a book on local herbs, this way when your supplies run outout you at least have something to fall back on.

  7. John Ruckman

    February 10, 2018 at 8:16 PM

    Hydrogen Peroxide has a 6 or 8 month shelf life before it starts to lose it’s potency. I don’t know if it is a steady decline or accelerated curve. Bleach also has a limited shelf life.
    Besides making remedies from plants, how much other household stuff can be homemade?
    One book I have is “Formulas, Methods, Tips, & Data” by I believe Popular Mechanics. Can you think of some other useful books?

    • Anonymous

      May 20, 2018 at 11:41 AM

      Peroxide is useless unless you are making it and other compounds. I only buy 91% isopropyl alcohol. You can buy ‘dry bleach’ for pennies, compared to Clorox. And put down the popular mechanics and step away.

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