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During the course of a normal week, how much over the counter medication do you take? Taking OTC meds is for many of us a routine thing to the point where you may not fully realize how often you utilize them. When plagued by aches and pains, we take pain killers and anti-inflammatories. If the allergies or the common cold gets you down, there are a plethora of medications that can ease symptoms and help you get to functioning again. Digestive problems and heartburn can also be calmed with an over the counter remedy. There is an over the counter solution for nearly every minor illness it seems.

If we actually sat down and tallied up the over the counter medicine we use in the course of the average month, we might find ourselves surprised by the volume of meds we take. A couple of analgesics here and there can add up quickly over time as can other medicines depending on the health issues that affect each of us. If you are someone who frequently takes such medications now, it will be important that you attend to those needs in the future but acquiring a long term supply. In a perfect word, we would all be able to remedy our ailments with natural or herbal remedies, but those, too, will likely be scarce after the SHTF.

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The question you must ask yourself, however, is just which medicines are truly necessary in your stockpile? A good starting point in making such a determination is to take inventory of the medicines currently in your home. Take a look at not only the bottles you have, but also the expiration dates on them. If you have a nearly full bottle of a medicine that expired two years ago, then most likely either it did not work for you or it is not something you need on a regular basis, making it less of a survival necessity than medicines you take with frequency. In order to determine the medicines you rely on most, monitor your consumption during a normal month. Then, having a tally of the types and kinds of medicines you require, begin adding them to your stockpile until you have a supply with which you are comfortable.

Aside from any medications you currently take, there are some standard go-to meds that have a place in any and every stockpile. Since the possibility of illness or injury always exists and your health can falter at any time, there are medicines you should acquire regardless of your current needs. The top five essential survival medicines include:

1. Acetaminophen is a well-known fever reducer /pain reliever that is gentle on the stomach but can cause liver damage. It lacks the anti-inflammatory properties of Ibuprofen and is widely known as Tylenol.

2. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that relieves a vast array of aches and pains from muscle strains to earaches, but it can be tough on the stomach. Common brands of Ibuprofen include Advil and Motrin.

3. Cold medicine is comprised of several components, such as Dextromethorpan, Guaifenesin, and Pseudoephedrine, that work together to relieve symptoms. Though effective in making illness more bearable, some of these medicines are abused and have therefore become more difficult to buy in bulk. In order to add these to your stockpile, anticipate acquiring them over time, such as in the case of Sudafed. Other brand names include Robitussin and Mucinex.

4. Loperamide is an ally in the fight against intestinal cramping and diarrhea which can lead to more serious problems such as dehydration if unchecked. Known as Imodium, Kaopectate, and Maalox, this medicine comes in both pill and liquid forms.

5. Anti-Histamines (Diphenhydramine, Brompheniramine, Chlorpheniramine) can help with debilitating allergies of both the respiratory variety and those that break out on skin. A popular option is Benadryl, which can be bought in the form of pills or ointment. Having a little of both forms is advised.

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Photo: Mucking Around Manila

These five medications are a good jumping off point for your stockpile, but there is much more to consider. For example, even if you are not a heartburn sufferer at present, the changing diet of TEOTWAWKI could change that, so have some Ranitidine, or Zantac, on hand as it reduces stomach acid and prevents ulcers. While you're at it, don't forget the Hydrocortisone cream for steroidal skin care and an anti-fungal such as Clotrimazole or Gyne-Lotrimin. Don't forget to round out your medical supplies with a fully stocked first aid kit filled with an assortment of bandages as well as an anti-septic like Bactine and some form of Bacitracin anti-biotic ointment that such as Neosporin.

With so many options from which to choose, what medicines are your preferred go-to for regular use and first aid purposes? Is there something else you recommend adding to the list of stockpile medication? Let us know in the comments.
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