10 must have OTC medications for preppers and 5 you don’t need!

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I was at a prepper expo and this question came up… what do you recommend putting in a first aid kit for medications. Now before I go on please look up these drugs on www.drugs.com for better information on the safety of these medications and dosing because I don’t feel like plagrizing today and they are more reliable than I am. Also some of the conditions below will be difficult or impossible to diagnose and treat if SHTF. So I am not responsible for any adverse outcomes. As always don’t be something you are not qualified to be… a Doctor.

1. Tagamet (Cimetidine) and/or Omeprazole

Indications: Acid Reflux and Ulcers.

Omeprazole will reverse the damage and cause of heart burn.

Cimetidine will stop the production of stomach acid. It also is an H2 histamine blocker which is useful in an allergic reaction.

When not to use either: Allergic to the medication. (yes I know that kinda is confusing given the above)


2. Oral Rehydration Salts/Pedialyte

Indications: Hangover and Dehyration secondary to Diarrhea.

This is going to save more lives than any other medication you can buy. Diarrhea is a big killer. Basically what happens is when you have diarrhea there is some bad juju in your stomach. Your body takes fluid from your surrounding tissue and flushes it out. If you have diarrhea you actually need to encourage it. The thing is that this flushing won’t allow for the absorbsion of nutrients from food. So you need to replace fluids and electrolytes (what plants crave).

3. Zinc and Vitamin C

FDA labeled Indications: Wilson’s Disease and Zinc deficiency

Off Label Indications: Acne, ADHD, Burns, Common Cold, Diarrhea, Leprosy, Pnemonia (prophylaxis), Wound Healing.

Zinc promotes your immune system.

4. Honey

Indications: Sore Throat, Cough, Wounds, Hypoglycemia.

Honey has been proven to be a better cough suppressant than Dextromethophan. You can use honey in place of neosporin.


5. Benadryl (topical and oral)

Benadryl is an H1 Antihistamine. It also has the effect of don’t operate heavy machinery when you take it. You can use it for pain management because it is hard to be in pain while you are asleep. It also comes in topical form (which I am hoping you didn’t know about) so it can really help with allergic rashes.

Indications: allergic reactions, insomnia, motion sickness, parkinsonism, common cold, pruritis of skin

Off Label Uses, Hyperemesis gravidarum (throwing up when pregnant), local anesthesia

6. Acetaminophen and Caffeine

Indications: Fever and Pain

Acetaminophen is a Cox-2 inhibitor… That means it blocks pain.  It is also great in reducing fever. Fever is a tricky thing. It is your natural way to kill off an infection but high fevers can cause serious damage. So you need to monitor someones temperature. If someone is 102F or higher then give them some Acetaminophen and plenty of water if they can tolerate it. Now the caffine part is what makes Excedrine the head ache medicine. All excedrine is, is Acetaminophen plus caffine. So coffee has another reason for you to love it.

7. Activated Charcoal

I know this girl who shall remain nameless but she posted what appeared to be a picture of her in black face… what she was doing wasn’t being racially insensitive. She was using Activated Charcoal as a beauty treatment. I will refrain from commenting on the effectiveness of said treatment. What I can comment on is that Activated Charcoal is the first line treatment in pretty much every kind of ingestion induced overdose. It is in water filters and it is in chemical filters for NBC masks and the JSLIST. So the need to stock this is pretty much overwhelming for anyone who is a prepper.

8. Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) 

Epsom Salts have a lot of prepper uses beyond the medical uses. Let’s not focus on those as they are mostly a replacement for A-Jax and a beauty scrub to exfoliate your skin.

Epsom Salts mixed with water is a POWERFUL laxative. Like don’t make any plans type laxative. One Teaspoon per cup of water and you will empty your bowels.

It is also good topically to soak in a tub with epsom salts as it will releive pain from sore muscles.

Mag Sulfate has also been used for treatment of Cerebral Edema, Barium poisoning, hypomagnesmia, post operative pain, seizures, head aches, eclampsia, and atrial paroxsmal tachycardia. Bad news is that it is an IV solution so you don’t get to have it without a prescription.

9. Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)

Indications: Metabolic Acidosis 600 mg three times a day Orally for your initial dose.

Indigestion: 1-2 (770 mg) tablets Orally every 4 hours in a glass of cool water.

10. Sterile Water or Saline Solution

Wound Irrigation, Eye Irrigation, Ear Irrigation. Sterile Water and Saline take bad stuff and remove it from sensitive areas. If you can find IV bags then you know hypovolemia. Now sure technically you can get Sterile Water IV bags without a prescription but you shouldn’t horde these things because it takes it away from all the people who need them so don’t order a pallet of sterile water. Not that it matters because it is in really short supply anyways.

Drinking plenty of water can also help with all kinds of diseases and disorders. Water naturally balances your PH. It promotes healthy skin. It is pretty much awesome. That is why every medic in the world tells you to drink water.


1. Ibuprofen 

What? Doc Black is saying not to take Motrin??? Should I turn in my medic card? No. Ibuprofen is an NSAID. Or Non-Steroidal Anti Inflamatory Drug. Well what we are finding out is that inflamation is part of the healing process. So if you remove the inflamation you remove the healing.

2. Anti-Diarrheal Medications

again if you stop your body from getting rid of something it doesn’t like you are going to have a bad time.

3. Dextromethorphan (DM) it is just redundant to stock this. Please don’t waste money on it.

4. Antiacids such as tums. 

Antiacids are bad because they absorb stomach acid which feels good and provides immediate relief. Unfortunately your stomach sends signals to your brain and tells it that it doesn’t have enough stomach acid and to make some more. So it does. Then it comes back. So if you are going to use this do so in conjunction with omeprazole or tagament.

5. Antibiotic Ointments

Ladies and Gentlemen and fellow preppers. We are going to soon be facing a post antibiotic world. The infections that used to respond to antibiotics are becoming resistent all over the world. Simply put you are not going to be able to use antibiotics as effectively or at all in the future. So you need to look to some other way to prevent a bacterial infection. There are some interesting new ways coming down the pile line. Until then do not rely on antibiotic ointments to do much for you.



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About David Black

Trained and Certified: National Registry EMT, Wilderness EMT, US Army 68W, Tactical Combat Causality Care (TCCC), Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, US Coast Guard Medical Person In-Charge, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support. International Trauma Life Support. HAM Radio Technician. Trained and Certified to Instruct: Combat Life Saver Instructor and Community Emergency Response Team Trainer. CPR, AED, First Aid.

10 thoughts on “10 must have OTC medications for preppers and 5 you don’t need!

  1. What can a person stock up on if they are taking 50 mg of Atenolol a day, in preperation of a disaster?

  2. actually I would have to disagree about the Tums, since 2 tablets have the same amount of calcium as your daily needs if nothing else then this would be something to fall back on to get enough calcium in your system

  3. Herb extracts like oil of oregano , colloidal silver. Are good to have in stock for antibiotic remedies. Apple cider vinegar with the mother works well for the stomache. Many people make the mistake of taking a teaspoon of these daily. As like other antibiotics the effectiveness wears off if used often. Being prepped with these meds as stated above are good. Knowing your own personal dietary needs is also a must to continue good health in a shtf situation. Many people stock up on items liked canned goods and other foods and meds just to have. If people stock foods that they personally can ingest with out certain modern medicines to be ingested later it can help them out in the long run 🙂 good blog thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Thank you for the innocuous reference to “Idiocracy”! Everybody needs a good laugh every now and then. Seeing how this country is steadily moving that direction laugh while you can!

  5. Baking soda taken 1/2 tsp in a small glass of water works effectively to relieve heart burn and excess gas trapped in the stomach and intestines. Also, Epson salts and be mixed in a 1/4 epson salts to 3/4 water, to make Magnesium oil. This can be sprayed onto the body rather than soaking in it. The magnesium is uptaken into the body through the skin, rather than through the digestive system, so there is not severe laxative affect. It does however, help to increase the amount of magnesium in the body which has become a major source of illness due to the use of so much round-up and other weed killers which leech minerals from the soil. Plants use to be the highest food source of magnesium around, but no more. Daily use of magnesium oil results in increased energy and clearer thinking for most people who use it.

  6. Re: Honey! If you use honey for medicinal purposes it needs to be unpasteurized and preferably local! Honey is a wonderful treatment for wounds as it doesn’t allow bacteria to grow.

    Raw Garlic is a powerful anti-biotic! If you can’t tolerate raw, get it in capsule form, but it HAS to be STINKY!!!! Non-stinky means you just overpaid for garlic powder out of the grocery store.

  7. I find it hard to believe not to stock anti-diarrhea meds. If you get the hershey squirts, you can dehydrate and die much faster. Modern Western Medicines are typically abused and prescribed as a quick fix. Using medicinal herbs and oils will not work as fast, but have fewer side effects. Study the plants that grow around you and learn what they can be used for in treatments of ailments. Most of the items listed are derived from a natural plant to begin with.

    • They are saying that pedialite (and Gatorade) are better for you than anti diarrhea meds. The pedialite flushes out the germs (like food poisoning) while the anti diarrhea meds just make you constipated.

      • But if you are not retaining any of the fluid from the pedialyte, it does no good. Without IV fluids, an antidiarrheal may be quite helpful and potentially be life-saving, especially in children. Of course, a prescription anti-diarrheal and anti-emetic may be better (and you could have drugs that target the cause of the diarrhea, such as metronidazole for giardia or ivermectin for parasites), but if one doesn’t have access to that, I don’t see why one wouldn’t want to stock Imodium A/D (or generic)

        Also, ibuprofen when there is a musculoskeletal injury may help a person stay mobile and survive. And it may bring down a fever when acetaminophen alone won’t. Or reduce the pain from a severe sore throat in a child who won’t drink otherwise due to the pain.

        It seems silly to me to not stock an antidiarrheal and ibuprofen when they are so cheap. A smarter idea would be to stock them, but educate yourself on when to use them and when not to use them.

  8. Consider grapefruit seed oil, it has a lot of beneficial uses. Following is from webmd.com:

    Grapefruit is a citrus fruit. People use the fruit, oil from the peel, and extracts from the seed as medicine. Grapefruit seed extract is processed from grapefruit seeds and pulp obtained as a byproduct from grapefruit juice production. Vegetable glycerin is added to the final product to reduce acidity and bitterness.

    Grapefruit seed extract is taken by mouth for bacterial, viral, and fungal infections including yeast infections.

    Grapefruit oil is applied to the skin for muscle fatigue, hair growth, toning the skin, and for acne and oily skin. It is also used for the common cold and flu (influenza).

    Grapefruit seed extract is applied to the skin as a facial cleanser, first-aid treatment, remedy for mild skin irritations, and as a vaginal douche for vaginal yeast infections (candidiasis). It is also used as an ear or nasal rinse for preventing and treating infections; as a gargle for sore throats; and a dental rinse for preventing gingivitis and promoting healthy gums; and as a breath freshener.

    Some people inhale grapefruit vapors to help the body retain water, for headache, stress, and depression. Grapefruit seed extract vapor has also been inhaled for the treatment of lung infections.

    In manufacturing, grapefruit oil and seed extract are used as a fragrance component in soaps and cosmetics; and as a household cleaner for fruits, vegetables, meats, kitchen surfaces, dishes, etc.

    In agriculture, grapefruit seed extract is used to kill bacteria and fungus, fight mold growth, kill parasites in animal feeds, preserve food and disinfect water.

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