Category: Health

When Disaster Strikes: What to Put in Your Medication Go Bag

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

A well-stocked medication go bag can be used to soothe a cut or burn—or to save your life during a hurricane, flood, fire, or other emergency.  

But it’s important not to wait until you’re faced with the need to leave your home in a hurry to assemble your medication go bag, says Geoffrey C. Wall, Pharm.D., a professor of pharmacy practice at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Whether you buy a kit from a drugstore or build it yourself, Wall recommends that all households keep a medication go bag on hand. It should contain the essentials, including: 

If you and your family have special medical needs, you can build a more sophisticated medication go bag—for example, one that contains hearing aids with extra batteries, an epinephrine auto-injector, glasses, contact lenses, or syringes.

Fill Prescriptions in Advance

For prescriptions you and your family members take, consider asking your doctor for 60- or 90-day refills rather than a month’s worth. That way, you’re more likely to have extras on hand for your medication go bag. (This can also save you money.)

Always fill prescriptions on the first day you become eligible for a refill, rather than waiting until the day you run out. If you are able to obtain an emergency supply, establish a plan for rotating your go-bag supply so that it remains up to date. And remember to check medications periodically to ensure that they have not expired.

“During an emergency, some states allow pharmacists to dispense an emergency supply of medications without doctor authorization,” Wall says. But, he adds, “certainly if a known potential disaster, such as a hurricane, is predicted, make sure you have prescription meds and supplies before it hits.”

You might also ask your health insurance company to assist you in obtaining enough medication and supplies to have on hand.

Storing and Maintaining Your Kit

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, pack the items in an easy-to-carry, water-resistant kit, and store it in a dry, cool place in your home. Keep the kit in a secure place that’s easy to access in a hurry but away from kids, Wall advises—for example, on a high shelf in your bedroom closet. 

Check your emergency kit regularly, and dispose of and replace any out-of-date supplies. Throw out any damaged medications, or pills that are wet or look or smell different. They could be contaminated by moisture.

Editor’s Note: This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).

More from Consumer Reports:
Top pick tires for 2016
Best used cars for $25,000 and less
7 best mattresses for couples

  • At least seven days’ worth of over-the-counter and prescription medications you take on a regular basis. Label the containers clearly, and include a printed-out list of everything you take and the regimen for each medication, plus a copy of your health insurance card (in case you need medical care while you’re away from your home).
  • An antihistamine for allergic reactions, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy and generic) or loratadine (Claritin and generic).
  • Pain relievers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and generic), or naproxen (Aleve and generic).
  • Stomach and antidiarrheal remedies, including loperamide (Imodium and generic) and bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, and generic).
  • An antacid for heartburn, such as Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums, or generic.
  • Antiseptic wipes; an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin, Bacitracin Plus, Curad, or generic (use only for infected wounds); and bandages, gauze, and tape, for treating burns, cuts, and wounds.
  • Mosquito repellent to prevent bites, and aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream, or calamine lotion to soothe bites and skin irritation.
  • An eyewash solution for flushing out eye irritants.
  • Water-purification tablets.
  • Scissors.
  • Thermometer.
  • Tweezers.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2018, Consumer Reports, Inc.

These Apps Can Actually Help You Lose Weight

Losing weight doesn’t have to feel like a chore. It’s totally possible to make working toward a goal fun and rewarding, and apps that keep you motivated definitely help. From keeping track of what you’re eating to providing encouraging reminders, these downloads are a must-try for anyone on a mission to better themselves.

40 Delicious Halloween Party Food Ideas for Your Big Bash

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Networker

From Woman’s Day

Linda Wellbrock, CEO and founder of Leading Women Entrepreneurs (LWE), a networking organization that recognizes outstanding women in business, knows a thing or two about making connections.

Since 2011, Linda has hosted hundreds of networking events across the country and has seen the power of face time in helping women build confidence and grow their businesses. “Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or trying to take your company to the next level, there’s no substitute for getting out there and meeting people,” says Linda. Here, she shares her secrets for making great connections.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Linda Wellbrock

1. Radiate confidence.

Whether you’re meeting strangers at a professional conference or describing your business to your in-laws, start with eye contact, a firm handshake, and a smile. Then, “listen more than you talk,” says Wellbrock. Finally, direct the chat toward a shared business interest or an expertise the other person may offer.

2. Embrace your wins.

When you meet a potential business partner, describe a moment in your company that you’re really proud of, like a big investment you earned. You’ll impress the listener and build momentum for your next encounter.

3. Meet more people.

Wellbrock has witnessed the beginnings of countless mentor relationships, investment deals, and business partnerships at the networking events she attends and organizes. “I always say that no one can do business with you if they don’t know you exist,” she says.

4. Get out of your comfort zone.

Expand your networking circle doing things like tagging along with a friend to a business conference or lunch. “Some of your biggest professional breakthroughs could come from those experiences,” says Wellbrock.

5. Introverts: don’t hide.

Introducing yourself to dozens of strangers can be a special kind of torture for shy types. But you’ll never get better at it if you don’t practice. Be prepared, carry business cards, and start in a small networking group. “Whether you like it or not, networking is the key to building your business,” says Wellbrock.

6. Find a business group – or start one!

You might be surprised that many towns, even small ones, have active business groups. If there’s not one that represents your exact industry, that’s okay. “The point is meet with people who have a business and a goal,” says Wellbrock. “Try to talk through one challenge from each member per month.”

7. Look online.

The best websites for online networking are ones you probably already use: LinkedIn and Facebook. To find like-minded entrepreneurs on Facebook, click on “Groups” under “Explore.” Under the “Discover” tab, scroll to “Professional Networking.” On LinkedIn, click on the “Work” tab, then “Groups.” “These people can be a built-in support system,” says Linda.

8. Be patient.

Only rarely will meeting someone once lead immediately to doing business together. Effective networking requires upkeep and relationship-building. Greet people at conferences you’ve met before or send a quick email to check on a challenge that someone mentioned.

For more information about Leading Women Entrepreneurs, go to

(‘You Might Also Like’,)

20 Must-Try Gravy Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Feast

While there’s no doubt that the turkey is the star of any Thanksgiving dinner, it wouldn’t be nearly as tasty if gravy wasn’t around. Whether you drizzle it on the turkey breast, mix it in with stuffing, or pour it over a mound of mashed potatoes, these show-stopping recipes are the perfect final touch to a fabulous feast.