When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it seemed like the entire pharmacy department in every store was emptied. Even though the virus posed its greatest threat to the respiratory system, those who were hunkering down in quarantine didn’t want to risk becoming ill with a different ailment, and being forced to suffer. Many people feared exposure to the virus if they were to visit their doctor or an emergency room. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications joined toilet paper on the most wanted list.
A well-rounded supply of OTC medications can ease common maladies that you and your family members may experience. OTC medications should be stocked in addition to any prescription medications that you or your family members require. Everything should be labeled clearly with contents and regimen, and you should consistently check that nothing has expired.
While shelves are stocked up again, now is the time to fill your medicine cabinets.
Top OTC Medications to Keep on Hand
An anti-inflammatory pain medication, ibuprofen is versatile and can treat headaches, earaches, sore throats, sinus pain, stiff neck, muscle strains, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and back pain, as well as reduce fevers. In many cases it is safe for children to use. Advil and Motrin are both brands of ibuprofen.
A pain reliever that is not an anti-inflammatory, acetaminophen is used for the same ailments as ibuprofen, but is considered less likely to irritate the stomach. Tylenol is a brand of acetaminophen.
An antihistamine used to treat respiratory infections and nasal allergies, diphenhydramine can also relieve hives, itching, and itchy rashes like poison ivy. Diphenhydramine is safe for children to use. Benadryl is a brand of diphenhydramine.
A highly effective OTC solution for diarrhea, loperamide can be purchased as tablets, or as a liquid that children can easily ingest. It can also be used to treat intestinal cramping that causes discomfort. Imodium is a brand of loperamide.
Pseudoephedrine will treat congestion caused by infection, allergy, chemical irritation, and mild asthma or bronchitis. Sudafed is a brand of pseudoephedrine.
Meclizine is an antiemetic used to treat nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and vertigo-like dizziness. Because it can cause drowsiness, it can be used as a sleep aid. It also has similar properties to anxiety medications, and can be used to treat anxiety. Dramamine is a brand of meclizine.
Heartburn, ulcers, and acid reflux can all be treated with ranitidine, which has also successfully treated hives. Zantac is a brand of ranitidine.
8. Hydrocortisone Cream (1%)
Itchy rashes can be extremely irritating for children and adults, and can be experienced in the forms of eczema, poison ivy, diaper rash, and genital irritations. Hydrocortisone cream can safely treat these inflammations.
Bacitracin comes in the form of an ointment that can be used on abrasions, lacerations, insect bites, or stings to prevent infection. It can also be applied to mildly infected wounds.
Having an antifungal on-hand can save you a lot of discomfort, and can treat female yeast infections, athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, diaper rashes, and skin fold irritations. Lotrimin is a brand of clotrimazole.
You may also want to consider:
- Witch Hazel
- Coconut Oil
- Milk of Magnesia
- Epsom Salts
- Eczema Cream
- Calamine Lotion
- Hemorrhoidal Cream
- Vapor Rub
In addition to these medications, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve packed up:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Mosquito repellant
- Aloe gel
- Eyewash solution
- Water purification tablets
And a few tools:
- Magnifying glass
All of your medical supplies should be stored together as a first aid kit, in an easy-to-carry and water-resistant bag. If you have any specific ailments that you suffer from, be sure to stock remedies for those more heavily.