What Medications Can Help Me Prepare for a Coronavirus Infection?

During the first week of March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that there’s a shortage of particular prescription medication due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The name of the medication was not disclosed, but the agency hinted that there’s a problem with manufacturing one of the ingredients for the drug. The FDA has added the affected drug to its shortage list.

Most of the ingredients used for the production of prescription and over-the-counter drugs are made in China. But as of then, most Chinese factories had been shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the factories have been reopened, but as the outbreak persists, we may witness more shortages. The question goes – is it necessary to stock up on OTC drugs or medications?

Let’s find out.

Stock up on a one-month supply of prescription medications

According to an infectious disease specialist in New Jersey, people who are on medications should stock up a one-month supply.

This will last through the 2-week self-quarantine period, which is mandatory for anyone who has been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2. You will have to remain at home during this time to observe whether you develop COVID-19 symptoms. The symptoms are cough, shortness of breath, and fever.

If you fall sick, you will have to isolate yourself at home until your risk of transmitting the virus to others reduces, according to the CDC.

Some drug stores and pharmacies make provision for automatic refilling of your regular prescriptions, in some cases up to 90 days at a time. This will ensure that you have enough on hand.

A medical science lecturer at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts says that many medications are viable for up to a year, so you don’t have to worry about their expiration.

If your insurer cuts down on the length of the prescription you can have for your medication, request for a quantity limit exemption form from your doctor.

You may also lookup the FDA drug shortages list to verify if your current medications are affected by COVID-19 or other manufacturing issues. If they happen to be affected, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to find you an alternative.

Stock up on over-the-counter drugs

Currently, there are no approved antiviral medications for coronavirus. However, several medications are being developed.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the common cold, and the common cold is caused by another type of coronavirus. Thus, some over-the-counter medications can help relieve COVID-19 symptoms.

You can use acetaminophen for body aches and fever. Nasal congestions may be eased with a saline solution, pseudoephedrine (this is contraindicated in people with high blood pressure), or phenylephrine.

You will also have to apply the usual flu/cold self-care recommendations – hydration and rest.

Cold and flu symptoms may also be relieved by some natural remedies. However, these are not approved by the FDA.

Supplies to stock up during the illness

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you may be unable to leave your house for a while, so you must stock up on some essential supplies.

Among these include frozen or canned meals, vegetables, and fresh fruit, beverages such as tea and coffee, or your best sweet treats.

If you’re a King County resident, there’s a pandemic flu checklist that lists medications and essentials like dry goods, canned goods, and bottled water.

A checklist has also been provided by The American Red Cross. It is similar to items recommended for natural disasters. Compared to blizzards and hurricanes (which have a definite timeframe), the COVID-19 pandemic may persist for a longer time. However, this doesn’t mean that you should make extreme preparations.