Preparing Your Medications for Emergencies

Published: February 18, 2021

Patients should be aware of their medication needs as they prepare for any emergency. Following the tips below can help you be ready for most emergency situations.

  • Keep a list of all medications taken by you and your immediate family members. This list should include drug name, strength, dosage form, and how often you take the medication.
  • Be sure to have your prescription and medical cards for all family members.
  • Make copies of your current prescriptions and keep them in your emergency kit.
  • Create an emergency kit of medications: Store 3-5 days of medications that are important to your health, including prescription and over-the-counter medications that you may need.
  • Include any medications used to treat 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 your medication with you in labeled containers placed in a waterproof bag or container.
  • 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.
  • Keep your medications in child-resistant containers and store these medications out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Rotate these medications whenever you get your prescriptions refilled to make sure they are used before their expiration date.
  • Keep your medications and emergency plans up to 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 pharmacies, have a longer lead time to refill.
  • If your child takes medications, talk to your school administrator to find out their emergency preparedness plans and if they need to keep an emergency supply of your child’s medications.
  • Add medications to your list and emergency supply as you are prescribed new medications or have changes in the dose or how often you are to take them. Also remove medications from your supply and list when you no longer need to take them.
  • If you are being treated with medications or that require electricity for storage or to use, talk to your physician or pharmacist to create appropriate emergency preparation plans.

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