As I laid around quarantined in the basement over the weekend due to a bad bout with COVID-19, I started to think about unexpected illness and how one could best prepare for getting sick without warning.
Whether it’s COVID-19 or just a cold, there’s nothing worse than being away from home and feeling like garbage. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to run out and pick up some over-the-counter medication to help alleviate your symptoms until you can make it back to your bed, but sometimes that’s not always possible.
Because life can be so unpredictable, I started to think about what types of medications a person might want to throw into their everyday carry pack just in case you start to come down with something as you’re out or away from home.
These medications obviously are not going to be able to cover everything and aren’t going to keep you from being contagious, so you should always keep that in mind, but they will make you feel better and hopefully give you enough strength to get yourself through your day so you can rest once you get back home.
Medication to Keep in your EDC Bag
While most of these medications are going to be over-the-counter medications that will help deal with pain and other symptoms of minor illness, you may want to consider stocking some prescription medications as well, if your health depends on it.
If you have long-term illnesses or diagnosis that require medication, be sure to talk with your doctor regarding what you should have with you at all times.
As we mentioned, prescription medications can be invaluable to people with long-term or chronic illnesses. Because of this we recommend keeping a couple extra pills or doses or these types of medications in your EDC bag at all times.
Most people that have to take medicine on a daily basis understand the risks involved with missing a dose, so while you are probably more likely to carry all of your pills with you at any given time (depending on the severity of your illness), it would also be wise to have an emergency stash of these pills in a pill container within your bag.
This can also apply to things like inhalers and epi pens as well. My son is allergic to peanuts, so we have to ensure that we carry an epi pen with us at all times just in case he has a reaction while we are away from home. Thankfully we’ve never had to use it on him, but it would be a bad situation if we had to use it and didn’t have it with us.
One thing to note, it is illegal to carry around prescription pills that don’t belong to you, so be sure these types of pills are in a medical pill bottle, or have the prescription information easily available if you ever run into that situation.
If you’re looking for over-the-counter medications to carry with you at all times, you’ll want to be sure you have ones that can help with most common ailments that you would run into while away from home. These things can include headaches, cramping, muscle pain, upset stomach and more.
Pain Relief – Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen
Having a couple common pain killers in your bag can help you relieve a sudden headache, cramps, aches and pains as they may arise throughout the day.
Throwing a small travel-size bottle of Advil in your bag is an easy way to know that you’ll always have them on hand if the situation ever arises. We would probably advise against any pain killers stronger than OTC medications, but if you absolutely require them, make sure they are kept in the prescription bottle with your name on it.
Carrying around prescription pills without a prescription is illegal and can get you in trouble. So, for typical EDC use, we recommend just your normal Advil or Tylenol for pain relief.
If you’re an athletic person, or like to spend your time outdoors doing physical activity, a muscle relaxer can be very useful after a long day of hiking, running, or playing sports. They can help reduce swelling and prevent cramping as you decompress from a long day.
Imodium, Tums, Etc. For Digestive Help
Digestive problems can turn their ugly head at any time, whether it’s the food you ate, water you drank, or just a random stomach bug from traveling. Nobody wants to be spending their days in the bathroom when they have things to do.
Digestive medications like Imodium and Pepto Bismol can help relieve some of the symptoms of digestive stress allowing you ample time to make it home before having a possible negative reaction.
Digestive issues don’t always mean time an upset stomach, heartburn is also a very real concern for a lot of people, especially while traveling and trying new foods.
Different foods from different cultures can cause acid reflux and heartburn which can also put you out for a while. Having tums, Pepcid, or other heartburn relief medications with you can help give you some relief on the spot when that awful burning sensation crops up.
General Cold and Cough
There’s nothing worse than that feeling when you know you’re coming down with a cold, but have to press through the rest of your day. Having a couple cold and cough pills in your bag can help you as you navigate the rest of what you have to do.
Be sure you don’t take the nighttime versions of these pills during the day or you could end up falling asleep before you’re able to finish out what you need to get done. It can also be dangerous to operate a vehicle while medications like this that make you drowsy.
Finally, allergies are the bane of my existence and having access to a couple Benadryl or Zyrtec pills can clear my mind faster than anything else. These pills might not be necessary depending on how allergic you are to things, but if you know you’re allergic to things like pets, dander, pollen, etc., they are great to have in case you run into the situation where your allergies start flaring up.
Again, be sure you know how these types of medications affect you, as Benadryl, and others, can make you drowsy and want to fall asleep.
EDC – Preparing For Everything
One of the main concepts behind EDC, Everyday Carry, is making sure that you’re prepared for anything that may come at you during the day, so it makes sense that you may want to carry some medication with you at all times.
We’re not saying to have your entire medicine cabinet in your bag, but a few pills or capsules that could help you out in a jam, would be beneficial. These can even be part of a first aid kit you may have also.
Obviously different circumstances may call for different items to be included in your EDC pack, so just make sure you plan accordingly and build your pack to suit the need for your day.
Zach Belmont has been working in the outdoor apparel industry in one form or another for over 20 years. During his career, he has worked at some of the most well-known adventure brands including Patagonia and The North Face in marketing, operations and product development. Zach currently lives in Wyoming with his wife and 2 kids.