Take two and call me in the morning!

I've been down and out with a headache for much longer than typical.  I tried all the usual treatments and remedies - pain reliever, antihistamine, decongestant, Vicoden, hot tea, hot bath, good night's sleep, stretching, massage, etc.  It won't go away.  Just this evening, things seem to be looking up.  But the situation made me think of life without all the medicinal amenities I'm accustomed to.  I don't want to be caught without those modern miracles.

I've recently been considering a bit of medication stockpiling. Nothing crazy or wasteful, just assurance that my family will have what they need when they need it.  There are numerous reasons I've considered that this expanded medicine cabinet could be helpful or even necessary. 
  • Household disaster - Would I rather run to the store (with kids in tow, of course) at 11:00 pm when I'm running a fever or one of my kids?  Neither, of course!  I'd much rather have an arsenal of basic, common medications in my medicine cabinet at home.
  • Limited mobility - Here in the US, the weather doesn't always cooperate with our plans.  From tornadoes on New Year's Eve to massive snowfall over much of the nation, many of us have experienced weather related disasters already this year.  Do you have what you need if you are unable to safely leave your home for a few days?
  • Transportation and distribution delays - Many natural and man-made disasters can delay the transportation infrastructure that assures that the products you need are on the store shelves when you are ready to purchase.  But the truth is retailers and pharmacies stock only a few days worth of many drugs.  On a small scale (They are out of your favorite brand of pain reliever until tomorrow.) or on a large scale (All shipments to your region are delayed for a week by the big storm.) transportation delays can certainly frustrate us at the store.
  • Manufacturing delay - FDA regulation compliance and availability of raw materials often reduce and delay production of prescription products, over the counter (OTC) medications, and other medical products.  If prolonged, these delays could leave you without necessary medications and products for weeks or months.
  • Contamination scare - I'm not suggesting you gamble with your life, but most contaminated products are discovered quickly and are recalled by lot numbers.  Having purchased your favorite products months before may allow you to safely and confidently use them.  (Follow recommended procedures for product usage or disposal during a product recall.)
Here's what I've begun to do.  I've simply purchased one extra package of each medication (or products) that we use routinely at my house.  (Or that I'd need in a pinch - anti-diarrheal, cough medicine, large bandages and tape.)  I check the date before buying. Many medications are good for well over a year.  I ask my self, "Will I likely use this before it expires?  Is this enough to treat, say, two family members for a week or so?"  I already keep an extra month of all my family's prescription medications.  I store all these products safely away from the kids' reach, in the cool and dry closet in my bedroom, stowed in a clear plastic bin.  I check them every six months (March and September) to rotate products that will expire.  (If you're not going to use it... Some community organizations will accept unopened OTC products before they expire to help disadvantaged families.)  I expand this collection one package and one trip to the store at a time.

Like every other suggest on this blog, I urge you to consider three points when applying this in your home. 
1) Do something. 
2) Make it your own.  Address your concerns and fears.  Keep what you need on hand. 
3) Start small and build it up.  I've redesigned many projects once they were begun.  Unless you are certain of your end result, let your needs and ideas guide the project to it's useful completion.

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