Many people depend on daily medications. Nearly half of Americans take at least one prescription drug, and one in four Americans take three or more medications. A pandemic or large-scale natural disaster, such as a hurricane, could make it difficult to get prescription and over-the-counter medicines so you and your family may need to rely on a prepared emergency supply.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of prescription medications.
- An up-to-date list of all prescription medications, including dosage amounts and the names of their generic equivalents, medical supply needs, and known allergies.
- Over-the-counter medications, including pain and fever relievers, diuretics, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal medications stored in labeled, childproof containers.
- A cooler and chemical ice packs for storing and keeping medicines cold in a power outage.
- Keep prescription medications somewhere that is easy to get to, does not experience temperature extremes or humidity, and is Up and Away from and out of view of children.
- Know the shelf lives and proper storage temperatures for your prescriptions, including insulin.
- Find out if laws in your state permit pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescription medications.
- Pet owners: Prepare a two-week supply of any medications, and a one-month supply of flea, tick, and heartworm preventative.
- Stay up to date on your vaccines for infections and illnesses, such as tetanus and seasonal flu. Keep copies of vaccination records with your important paperwork.
- Public Health Matters: Preparing Your Medicine Cabinet for an Emergency
- Emergency Preparedness for Vaccine Safety
- Safe Drug Use After a Natural Disasterexternal icon (FDA)
- Information Regarding Insulin Storage and Switching Between Products in an Emergencyexternal icon (FDA)
- Emergency Preparedness: Keeping Medications Safeexternal icon (FDA)
- Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response: Drugsexternal icon (FDA)
The Emergency Prescription Assistance Programexternal icon (EPAP) helps people who live in a federally-declared disaster area and do not have health insurance. Eligible people can receive a free 30-day supply of their medications for as long as EPAP is active. People can also use the program to receive vaccinations or to replace certain medical supplies or some forms of medical equipment that were lost or damaged because of the emergency or while evacuating.