Over The Counter Meds For Survival

Survival preparedness is about a-lot of things — risk awareness, adaptability, practical skills, knowledge and know-how, a very wide array of preps, and too many other things to list here. It’s a way of life.

Having said that, one tiny slice of the preparedness pie is medications.

Here are a few ideas for meds which you may want to store ahead…

Medications should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark environment to maximize shelf life.

Disclaimer Note: Regarding the use of any medications, do your due-diligence, consult with your doctor, etc., as everyone’s circumstances are unique.

TYLENOL (Acetaminophen)

Helps aches, pains, fevers, and mild headaches. It is better for stomachs compared to other NSAIDS. It can be taken with other NSAIDS for more severe pain and makes both medications more likely to control pain. Arguably, 2 Tylenol and 2 of either: Motrin or Advil, taken together are as effective as a narcotic (consult a physician).

ADVIL / MOTRIN (ibuprofen)

An NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). NSAIDs are usually indicated for the treatment of acute or chronic conditions where pain and inflammation are present. Choose the one that you actually use now and stick with it.


Inexpensive and effective. It has been said that if someone is suspected of having a heart attack, they should chew and Aspirin as soon as possible. It is also a substitute for blood thinner.

BENADRYL (Diphenhydramine)

An antihistamine that works for allergic conditions and reactions, and can also substitute for a sedative in the right environment.


Used to prevent immune problems and scurvy long-term.


A practical supplement, particular during times when you know that your diet is not balanced like it should be (SHTF).


Tooth gel, Antibiotic ointment, etc.


Don’t overlook Non-human medicines sources in a survival situation. The fish antibiotics do work (this is not medical advice – do your due diligence).

There are lots of other over-the-counter medications, and hopefully this short list has started you thinking about it – and examining what you currently have (or need to get).


  1. Most feed stores carry meds like antibiotics also. My feed store says they have never sold a bottle of fish tank amoxicillin for use in sick fish! And at the feed store or an online vet supply they will be much cheaper than the survival places.

  2. Hydrogen peroxide is an important antibacterial and fungicide. You should store that and also Clorox. Also store old fashioned antibiotics like merthiolate and mechrochrome. (The spellcheck on this site says I am spelling these incorrectly, but I don’t think so.) Also Iodine.

    Don’t forget colloidal silver. It is supposed to be effective for both viruses and bacteria. I bought some silver gel recently from Swanson Vitamins and it is healing my eczema and was effective in stopping the itch from my mosquito bites. You can also use colloidal silver internally to combat infections.

  3. All good info and reminders for medical preps. Just don’t store too much in your vehicles as the temperature fluctuations severely degrades them. Silvadene Cream which is used in ER’s for burn treatment is a must if you can get your hands on it. I have not found this over the counter. I do have contacts in the med field and have been able to obtain some. On a serious burn this stuff is a miracle cream for healing and relieving the pain. I had a bottle of it in my cabinet for over ten years, way past the “expiration date” and it still worked great when I burned my arm.

  4. Yes I was going to mention burn cream or gel also. After a SHTF scenario people who almost never dealt with fire will have to deal with it on a daily basis, and so burns will become a fact of life.

  5. I keep several types of medicines for different symptoms. Along with typical medicines such as burn gels, poison ivy relief and pain killers. I also have some very strong sleep medications as well as mood stabilizers like xanex. I try and think of what is the worst thing to deal with then buy what will be needed to help that person suffering from whatever the case may be. The dollar store is a great place to get cheap medications at way less than full price at the pharmacy.

  6. I found a recipe from a doc online for homemade silvadene. I have not had the opportunity to try it. It is equal parts of hydrocortisone, bacitracin, benadryl and eucerin. All creams not ointments.

  7. Daisy K
    Please do no take colloidal silver.
    It was abandoned in the 1920’s because it did not work.
    If you look up the side effects, you will find one of them is that exposure to sunlight causes the skin to turn PERMANENT grey color.

  8. From Wikipedia
    A 2012 review found that topical silver worsens healing time compared to controls and showed no evidence of effectiveness in preventing wounds infection

  9. we get most of our every day meds from the dollar store, we check the date and get the longest, most of what we have are good till 2016/17. We spent $5 and if we went to a big name store they would of cost us 30/40 for the same meds, may not be name brands but they work.

    1. Reminds me of an adventure at a dollar store kind of place.

      I went in and got $4 in goods. Handed the check stand drone a Lincoln. She immediately checked my bill with the counterfeit pen. It passed. She then tossed a Washington back at me. Being somewhat suspicious, I grabbed the same pen to test the bill she gave me.

      The company she worked for is now out of business. In the midst of the great recession.

  10. Bad water, Bad food will put you down quick and fast.
    Blister packs of anti diarrhea meds will save your butt
    Pun intended.

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