What makes the cut when it comes to choosing survival medications to pack?
The task is not an easy one, and the decision maker must carefully scrutinize potentials for packing before allowing them a coveted spot in their survival bag, car trunk, or bunker. Every drug serves a purpose, and that purpose is to produce an effect on the human body. But, not all of these effects are created equal. Some drugs may make life more bearable, such as a shot of pepto-bismol when your stomach has turned tumultuous, but others may be life saving, such as a dose of chloroquine, when you are suffering from a bout of malaria. So, how do you select an “all-star” lineup from among the thousands of drugs available for use? The criteria for choosing the best survival medications is comprised of these six questions:
1. Is it safe?
Is the medication safe and validated by scientific evidence, with common side effects or contraindications clearly described? If you’re unsure, most of this information can be found with a quick search on WebMD.
2. Is it suitable?
Can it be used a standalone treatment – as in a situation where supplemental healthcare is unavailable (almost every survival situation ever)?
3. Is it effective?
Will it work as expected and as is it capable of providing a desired result under dire situations?
4. Is it stable, portable, and easy to store?
Will it remain stable and effective even after being exposed to both hot and cold temperatures (climate control is not easy to come by in apocalypse)? Can you carry it easily in your bag and store it alongside other supplies?
5. Is it accessible?
If it not easily available now, imagine how difficult it will be to obtain when the streets are ablaze. Try to strike a balance between medications you will most likely need, but are readily available in pharmacies (tylenol, allergy medication, etc.), and ones that are more difficult to purchase now, but may be life-saving in a pinch (customized prescriptions, etc.).
6. Is it easy to administer?
Do you need to have special medical experience or training to administer it? If so, reconsider packing it, or get the training while you still can.
It’s too hard to choose – Why can’t I take them all?
A common question is “Why not just carry every drug you could possibly need?” That would remove the question of availability and would certainly strengthen your versatility. Being a full-service pharmacy would have its advantages and, if space and the right conditions were available, would put you in a very favorable position. Yes, pills are small and many can fit in your pocket or just about anything that has a lid, zipper, or screw-top. But we’re talking about thousands of different pills, in many different forms and with different storage requirements. And unfortunately, most people won’t have a drug aisle in their basement, let alone a fortified dwelling suitable for a long-term apocalyptic scenario. What most people do have is two strong legs and the ability to carry up to 20% of their body weight. This means that the items you carry must be versatile, light, and indispensable, which leaves little room for the Costco-sized bottle of stool softener you have stored for a rainy day. Choices must be made, and excessive meds may have to be ditched along with your neck pillow and electric marshmallow toaster.
Check out our book “Survival Medications: 20 Essential Drugs for When The World Collapses” for further ideas on the best medications to pack!