Over The Counter Essential Preppers Medicines

Over The Counter Essential Preppers Medicines

In a SHTF situation my first response would be to ram raid the nearest chemists...!

Without some of the simplest medication in your stockpile you are reducing your chances of survival by a huge amount.

So ask yourself: is it really worth stockpiling over-the-counter (OTC) drugs?
My answer to that is a resounding - Yes.

Of course I also have to add that I'm no doctor or even vaguely medical trained, but I don't think you have to be in order to see the common sense in what I'm saying about being prepared....
*see full disclaimer here

I have chosen the top OTC medication for simple reasons, and that is their readily available and affordability for everyone, and they are quite safe for both adults and children to use in the appropriate doses.

Over The Counter medicines can be used alone or in various combinations, and as such can treat literally dozens of common conditions.

Here are just a few examples of conditions that your normal over the counter medicines will help:

  • Fever
  • Head ache
  • Pain
  • Sore throat
  • Allergies
  • Rashes
  • Infection
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarehea
  • Cramps
  • Anxiety 
  • Congestion
  • Backache
  • Arthritis

It is very unlikely that you don't have some emergency medication at home already.

Most people will have some Aspirin or Ibuprofen, as well as something for bites and strings - this is quite common.

But it is very important to make sure you have a good stock of the most essential OTC medication to cover as many emergencies as possible.

A lot of the list should also be carried in your Bug Out Bag and EDC Bag.

*remember,  we are not talking personal medication here. 

That is a whole other subject - medication you need to keep yourself fit and well must be stockpiled and specific to your own personal needs.
Never neglect these and try to keep as much of a supply as you possibly can, and keep it topped up at all times.

Pain medication

One of the top medications to stock up with at home and definitely in your BOB.

Include a variety of different types of pain control medication such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen.

Pain killers will be a huge help to yourself and any member of the family if the SHTF.

But also remember they will have good barter value and become a sort after item to use for trading.

Antibiotics medication

In a post-SHTF scenario, a lot of people will die of secondary infections and for a lack of the basic antibiotics we take for granted now.

Generally they are only available with a doctors prescription as well as being quite expensive.

The preppers answer is simple.
Buy from a pet shop or vet, and ask for antibiotics such as FishMox or FishPen, they are amoxicillin and penicillin, respectively.

These antibiotics are the same as the ones a doctor will prescribe and I would suggest you research this fact before buying any as I have done. The pills themselves even have the same code numbers on them!!

Vitamins & Minerals

Maybe not a medication in the true sense, but absolutely essential supplies to keep.

Stockpile the basic Mutli-Vitamins and ensure they are high dosage.

Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 are particularly essential to boost the immune system, something you would definitely need in a high stress SHTF situation.

Other main  medication

  • Antihistamine - allergy & bite relief 
  • Imodium - diarrhea and stomach upset
  • Sudafed - congestion relief 
  • Hydrocortisone Cream - rashes & inflammation
  • Antacid - stomach nervousness & upset 
  • Sleep medication - stress relief 


In a SHTF situation your stress levels will be through the roof.

Very likely causing other unwanted and painful symptoms to appear.

Most Over-the-counter medication will normally cope with all these type of symptoms quite effectively and will help you with headache, arthritis pain, sprains, and most other minor joint and muscle related problems.

  • Paracetamol, also know as Acetaminophen,  APAP - 
    An essential OTC medicine for your pain. Do not take more than 4 grams (4,000 mg) on any one day.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
    Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory Drug - NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, without a prescription.

Both APAD & NSAID'S can have serious side effects. ESPECIALLY if you take them in high doses or for a long time


Use Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Both will help reduce a fever in adults and also children.

  • Acetaminophen taken every 4 - 6 hours.
  • Ibuprofen taken every 6 - 8 hours.
    DO NOT give ibuprofen to children who are younger than 6 months.
  • Make sure that you know how much you or your child weighs before you give any of  these medicines.

Aspirin will also works very well when treating a fever condition in adults.


Most Cold medicines will only treat the basic symptoms and help to make you feel a bit better, but they do not however, actually shorten the cold itself.

These irritating ailments could be signs of a run down body in a SHTF scenario, hence vitamin supplementation is essential as well - so stock on vitamins and mineral tablets.

** It is well worth taking zinc supplements within 24 hours of the cold actually staring to show itself.
Zinc supplement may well help reduce the symptoms and also the overall duration of a cold.

Cough Medicines:

  • Guaifenesin:
    Is a medicine that will help break up the mucus buildup.
    Be sure to drink lots of fluids if you take this particular medicine.
  • Menthol throat lozenges:
    The old favorites - Soothing antiseptic relief in the throat. (Halls, Robitussin, Vicks)
  • Use a liquid cough medicines with dextromethorphan:
    This will suppress any urge to cough, causing more pain and inflammation: use (Delsym, Simply Cough, Vicks 44,Benylin, Robitussin DM, and store brands)

Sore Throat Medicines:

  • Use standard sprays which will help to numb pain: ; phenol (Chloraseptic),  dyclonine (Cepacol)
  • Use standard painkillers to help numb the pain:  ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol),


Without a doubt most good Antihistamine pills will work well for treating allergy symptoms - Antihistamine liquid will also work well in treating allergies and rashes.

With the lack of any rubbish disposal and general living conditions going from bad to worse, it's almost a gimme that sanitation will be poor and the risk of contagious rashes from non sterile piles of rubbish is high.

Be aware though - there are two types of Antihistamine you can buy over the counter at the chemist:

  • 1/ Antihistamines that can cause you to become drowsy and cause sleepiness:
    dipenhydramine (Benadryl); chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimetron); brompheniramine (Dimetapp), or clemastine (Tavist).
  • 2/ Antihistamines that will have very little or no effect to your alertness and causes very little or no sleepiness at all:
    loratadine (Alavert, Claritin, Dimetapp ND); fexofenadine (Allegra); cetirizine (Zyrtec).

It's also worth considering :

  • Eye drops: These will help to soothe or moisten the eyes and help relieve itching.
  • Use a preventive nasal spray:
    cromolyn sodium (Nasalcrom)


  • Antihistamine pills that are taken by mouth should help with the itching or if you have any other allergies.
  • Hydrocortisone cream, applied to the rash should help relive the itching as well(Cortaid, Cortizone 10)
  • Anti-fungal creams are worth considering:
    These are creams or ointments: and help with rashes caused by yeast
    (nystatin, miconazole, clotrimazole, and ketoconazole).



In a real SHTF condition, the levels of everyday sanitation will rapidly spiral downwards.

There a real risk of dehydration and all its complications which can easily follow very quickly.

Along with Antibiotics, diarrhea treatment is your top concern and must be addressed to prevent major problems. 

Medication that must be stocked:

  • Anti-diarrhea medicines such as loperamide (Imodium):
    These type of medicines will help to slow down the action of intestine and thus reduce number of bowel movements.
  • Other medicines that contain bismuth are worth being stocked:
    These may be taken for  mild diarrhea symptoms;  (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol)
  • Also include some Re-hydration fluids:
    Useful for moderate and severe diarrhea (Enfalyte or Pedialyte)


  • Most liquids and pills that are used for stomach upset can also help with mild nausea and vomiting (Emetrol; Pepto-Bismol)
  • Rehydration fluids will come in handy to help replace fluids from vomiting
    (Enfalyte or Pedialyte)
  • Also consider storing medication for motion sickness: these will reduce the urge to vomit,
    dimenhydrinate (Dramamine); meclizine (Bonine, Antivert, Postafen, and Sea Legs)

There are several other types of medication to also consider that are worth stocking up on, mainly to make your post apocalyptic life easier..! 

  • Energy tablets
  • Sun tan lotion
  • Insect repelant
  • Insect sting ease
  • Ear & Eye drops
  • Antibacterial gel / cream

Get the best deal

Finally, always check the expiration date (best before date), on everything, and pay special attention to any liquid preparations as these seem to differ quite a bit.

Although medications do not necessarily “go bad” once they have reached their “Best if used by” date on the bottle, it is definitely desirable to acquire your OTC medication that have a good long expiration date.

Stock rotation may not be that easy with medication!

How to store your medication

  • Heat, air, light, and moisture may damage your medicine.
  • Always store your medication supplies in a cool, dry place.
    Avoid storing in the kitchen cabinet or near the cooker area, sink, and any hot appliances.
    Far better to store medicine in a storage box, on a shelf, in the dark with other preps.
  • Never store medication in your bathroom cabinet.
    Heat and moisture from your shower, bath, and sink can easily damage your medicine.
  • Pills and capsules are easily damaged.
    Heat and moisture will break down pills into vinegar and salicylic acid.
  • Absolutely always keep your medicine in their original container. Never swop bottles.
  • Remove the plug of cotton wool out of the medicine bottle.
    This cotton ball will pull any moisture into the bottle.

All the above are Over The Counter Medication available to us all that will eventually run out.

This form of natural medication has been passed down through centuries of tried and tested methods, and best of all it's free..!

It is well worth considering taking the time to learn about the world of the natural medicinal plants that are also available to us.

After all there are literally hundreds of medicinal herbs that will cure many ailments, with many recorded and dated back as far as the Egyptian times of 1550 BC.

Remember, we are talking Over The Counter medication here, and as such it's generally bottles of pills or ointment.

Herbal medicines are also a great alternative way to treat many symptoms and ailments and may well be the only methods available once your supplies have run out.!

Happy Prepping Folks.


Steve Hart UK Preppers Guide


    • Malcolm Rowe on November 28, 2016 at 5:17 am
    • Reply

    I don’t know the best way to get the message out, but I spend around 7-10 months of the year in Thailand, for antibiotics as a foreigner here i can buy them in bulk along with many other items prescription free, i just purchased 100 Servamox, which is a generic of Amoxicillin, 100 Norfox (swiss made), which is Norfloxacin, 200 antihistamine tablets and 2 x 6 tablet packs of Azithrin which is a new super antibiotic Azithromycin 250mg tablets, the total cost me around £18.60 for all!

    • Alene on July 14, 2016 at 3:31 pm
    • Reply

    When I run out of cough liquids, I find a shot of herbal liqueur (like Jagermeister) works fine… pop some paracetamol and you have covered all the functions of most cough mixtures.

  1. one of the best ‘all round’ medications to have on hand is petroleum jelly (vaseline):-

    seals minor wounds against contamination
    lasts for years
    lots of uses other than human application
    readily available

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