A lot of time and money is wasted by people calling simply because they forgot to keep an inhaler around.
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But they can be helpful for this kind of emergency preparedness, and people will pursue them anyway, so all we can say is that many preppers will securely store any leftovers they run across. Antihistamines eg.
Although most people know antihistamines combat allergies, for example, you may be surprised that most OTC sleep aids are the exact same thing — 25 or 50 mg of diphenhydramine, the same active ingredient and dosage as Benadryl. Long-acting antihistamines such as Zyrtec , Allegra , and Claritin are included towards the bottom of the list because antihistamines are one of the few categories that become less effective over time if you continually take the same medicine. So long-term preppers might want to diversity their antihistamines beyond just Benadryl with these slightly-different meds.
Hydrocortisone cream is best for small localized areas, while calamine is better for covering large areas. Aspercreme and lidocaine cream are topical analgesics that can reduce pain in a localized area. Aspercreme is commonly used for arthritis, sprains, and back aches. Lidocaine is found in products like Burn Jel and can be used as a numbing agent prior to performing wound closures.
We like the Tarascon Pocket Drug Guide. Honey and other sugars eg. Honey is wonderful.
Honey is also a common go-to when hypoglycemics need a sugar hit. Glucose tabs are a proper medical form of sugar in squeeze tubes or tablets of different flavors. Standard Benadryl is a decent substitute for children. Guaifenesin Mucinex is an expectorant that helps loosen mucus in your chest and throat, making it easier to cough out. Electrolytes are an important part of keeping the body in balance. Products like Gatorade, Emergen-C , and Pedialyte replenish salts and electrolytes lost through sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, or even just weird diets common during emergencies.
Oxymetazoline Afrin and Budesonide Rhinocort are decongestant nasal sprays. Afrin works by shrinking blood vessels and membranes in the nose, but it will create more congestion if used for more than a few days. Calcium Carbonate Tums and Famotidine Pepcid are antacids that treat heartburn. Tums is used for acute symptoms of heartburn, while Pepcid is a daily medication for reducing acid though it should not be taken for extended periods of time.
Simethicone Gas-X is an anti-foaming product that reduces bloating and gas. Fiber Metamucil and Bisacodyl Dulcolax help with constipation.
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In addition to staying well hydrated, fiber is the best overall choice to help unplug the gut as it can be used for longer periods of time. Dulcolax works by causing the intestines to squeeze to get things moving, but should only be used to treat severe constipation because it can drain nutrients like potassium. Zinc is a supplement shown to reduce the length of colds. A side effect is that it cannot be taken long term without depleting other minerals.
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Vitamin C is known as a general boost for immune system health especially when combined with zinc. Normally, your body will convert cholesterol into vitamin D when exposed to the sun — but sun exposure might not be possible in an emergency. Vitamin D deficiency can cause Rickets in kids and softening of the bones in adults.
Vicks VapoRub is a topical ointment that can ease congestion and coughing associated with colds and allow for better sleep. Lactase Lactaid is an enzyme that helps people process foods containing dairy. Reusable cold packs are a no-brainer. Instant cold packs are a nice compliment because they work instantly without the need for external cooling, although they only last about 15 minutes before trashing. Generic soft braces for knees , elbows , ankles , and wrists.
If you already have a troublesome joint, or worry about aging or general sprains in a long-term crisis, pick up one or a pair for each joint. Lumbar back braces are worn during manual labor, especially if you are picking up heavy objects, bending over a lot eg. Lumbar braces are another relatively-cheap item that might go a long way during an emergency, such as stacking sandbags before and clearing debris after a natural disaster.
Adjustable crutches might make the difference between being mobile or stuck during an emergency. If you have to compromise, err on the side of the crutch being too short. Walkers can be useful for more than just general shuffling around. Wheelchairs and safety rails are another serious preps. Generic safety rails — the kinds mounted to the wall of a handicapped-accessible toilet or shower — could be installed where needed in a long-term collapse. Buy one with an 18 gauge nozzle, which creates the best mix of water jet size and pressure.
Learn how to clean a wound. But Steri-Strips are a worthy addition to your home supplies because they do the best job at keeping wounds shut with a clean edge line, are easy to apply, and make it easy to reopen or re-clean a serious wound as it heals. Tincture of benzoin is a highly-recommended compliment to Steri-Strips because the liquid makes the strips much stickier, especially on messy skin or in areas with high movement and tension.
Scalpel blades and handle are included mostly for tasks like trimming dead skin or opening up a drainable abscess — less so for surgery. Scalpels are incredibly sharp, very maneuverable, and come in sterile packaging unlike a pocket knife or utility blade.
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Kelly forceps, tissue forceps, a magnifying glass, and a separate toothbrush make it easier to clean wounds. The small kit makes do with just a small syringe and tweezers, but serious wounds or those with lots of tiny debris can be tricky. Curved Kelly forceps and tissue forceps hold onto the edge of tissue so you can lift and pull it back without using your dirty hands.
The difference is that Kellys are lockable and heavier, so you can grab the surface edge of a wound and pull the flap back by letting the weight rest against skin. The magnifying glass helps you see the smallest specks of contamination. Suture materials: nylon on a PS2 needle, nylon on a P3 needle, needle driver, and fine scissors. And even if you have the needed training, suturing requires specialized equipment to do well.
Nylon is the best thread material. A lockable needle driver is a specialized kind of needle-nose pliers for holding and maneuvering the needle through the tissue. The scissors are a nice-to-have but help you avoid wasting a scalpel or using a dirty tool. Learn how to give stitches and staples.
Medical staplers are an easier alternative to sutures, although they tend to leave heavier scaring. Unlike other hemostatic agents, Celox can be easily washed out with water or saline and tends to work well on people taking blood thinners. Extra tourniquets , pressure bandages , and chest seals are included at the end of the list because serious preppers want to have more than the one or two already included in the portable supplies.
See our reviews of the best tourniquet , best pressure bandage , and best chest seal. Burn Jel is a thick, water-based gel that contains tea tree oil and lidocaine.
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It works both by creating evaporative cooling over the burn and numbing the area. You can get the same basic effect by mixing lidocaine with aloe or petroleum jelly, but if you buy separate Burn Jel, we recommend the individual packets to reduce the chance of it drying out.
Leukotape is similar to the Moleskin already discussed in the small kit list.