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Tips to Prepare Medications for Emergencies

All people should be aware of their medication needs as they prepare for any emergency. Following these tips can help you prepare:

  • Keep a list of all your medications in your wallet (include lists for your immediate family members) including drug names, strength, dosage form, regimen, and allergies
  • Wear your medical-alert bracelet or necklace
  • Store 3-5 days of medications that are important to your health.
  • Include any medications used to stabilize an existing medical condition or keep a condition from worsening or resulting in hospitalization, such as medications for asthma, seizures, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, psychiatric conditions, HIV, and thyroid disorders. Carry these with you, if possible, in a purse or briefcase in labeled containers.
  • Don't store your medications in areas that are susceptible to extremes in heat, cold, and humidity (e.g., car or bathroom). This could decrease the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Use child-resistant containers and keep your purse or briefcase secure.
  • Rotate these medications whenever you get your prescriptions refilled to make sure they are used before their expiration date.
  • Refill your prescriptions while you still have at least a 5-7 day supply of medications left. Keep in mind that some sources, such as mail-order or online pharmacies, have a longer lead time to refill.
  • If your child takes medications, talk to your school system to find out their emergency preparedness plans.
  • If you are being treated with a complex medication regimen, talk to your physician or pharmacist to create appropriate emergency preparation plans. Such regimens include injectable medications, including those delivered by pumps (e.g., insulin , analgesics, chemotherapy, parenteral nutrition), medications delivered by a nebulizer (e.g., antibiotics, bronchodilators), and dialysis.

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