Disclaimer: This article is written for entertainment purposes only. We are not licensed health care professionals, and we have no interest, financial or otherwise, in any company that manufactures or sells any pharmaceuticals. Information contained in this article should only be used as a springboard for doing further research on the efficacy of the ideas presented herein. Usage of any drug, even if it is available over the counter without a prescription, should only be done under a physician’s care. Information and thoughts presented herein are for when our society has completely collapsed and the medical supplies necessary for sustaining our families and loved ones are difficult or impossible to obtain.
Readers of this article will say we sound like snake oil salesmen of yesteryear or those guys on infomercials telling you about the dozens of handy uses for their product, which usually has only one or maybe two practical purposes. However, diphenhydramine, commonly known by its Benadryl trade name, is definitely not a one-trick pony. At least one physician-prepper feels this little pink pill is the most important drug to carry in an emergency kit. While pain relievers from your first aid kit may be used more frequently, Benadryl is one over-the-counter drug that can actually save a life. Anyone can have an allergic reaction to anything at any time. Tylenol can’t help. Benadryl can.
Gather ‘Round – Allergies, Colds, and More
“Gather ‘round, people!” Let’s first begin with the reasons why you want to have a plentiful supply of diphenhydramine or Benadryl, this amazing little wonder drug, in your medicine chest. It’s been around for over seventy years, since it first came into commercial use in 1946. Most of us are quite familiar with the tiny neon pink pill that is mainly used for treating allergies and the common cold. However, Benadryl is also the most commonly used antihistamine for treating acute allergic reactions in emergency rooms around the country. It is used in addition to epinephrine for treating anaphylaxis.
That’s Not All – Sleep Aid
“And that’s not all!” Diphenhydramine is also widely sold as a sleep aid, though usually for a bit more money. Vicks’ ZzzQuil is nothing more than 50 mg of diphenhydramine. Tylenol PM is acetaminophen plus 25 mg of diphenhydramine. Advil PM contains ibuprofen plus 25-38 mg of diphenhydramine. All of these are sold at a phenomenal markup. Save yourself a chunk of change and store straight Tylenol and straight Advil. When you are in pain and need a little extra help falling asleep, then combine them with Benadryl.
Application in Treatment of Other Ailments
The little pink wonder also has application in the treatment of other ailments such as nausea due to motion sickness, vertigo, and other illnesses. And it can be used in the treatment of mild anxiety and mood swings as well as some symptoms associated with Parkinson’s.
Wait, There’s More – Anesthetic
“But wait, there’s more!” And finally, Benadryl is an anesthetic. We see it sold in sprays and lotions for topical pain relief from rashes, insect bites and stings, and contact dermatitis due to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac. It’s used in treating hives and eczema and other conditions to control itching. In a grid-down scenario, it can become even more critical to stop itching. Why? Because scratching may compromise the integrity of the skin, our most important defense against infection. Scratching that itch may introduce Staphylococcus bacteria that are normally present on the skin into the body. That can lead to cellulitis, which can lead to death if untreated. Diphenhydramine is also used as an injectable or topical local anesthetic, particularly for people allergic to lidocaine.
Step Right Up – Available in Several Forms
“Step right up, folks!” Benadryl is available in several forms—tablet, capsule, liquid, rapid melt, chewable, gel, lotion, spray, and injectable. Which do you want? Well, let’s go over that.
Forms of Ingestible Diphenhydramine
Tablets & Capsules
Tablets and capsules are forms of ingestible diphenhydramine the most common and most inexpensive. These will be just what is needed about 90% of the time, maybe more. They have the longest shelf life, too. Each form has its pros and cons. Tablets have the advantage of being able to be split in half.
Capsules are a little faster-acting than tablets. They can be opened and sprinkled over children’s food or mixed in juice or milk if the kids have difficulty swallowing pills.
The powder inside capsules can be mixed with saline or dextrose solution to make an injectable anesthetic. The powder can also be mixed with cream for a topical anesthetic or mixed with water to make a topical spray or paste. (To be fair, tablets can also be ground into powder, but that’s a little bit of a hassle.) The downside to capsules is that in humid areas, basically any place other than the desert, unless they are well-protected and stored properly, they can begin to melt together and become an unusable mess.
Diphenhydramine syrups have a shorter shelf life, but one of their great advantages is being able to get into the bloodstream faster. The other, of course, is the reason for which they were created in the first place: liquids are easier for children to swallow. One disadvantage is that if it spills, you’ve lost it. If you spill a bottle of pills, you can pick them back up pretty easily with little to no loss incurred.
Rapid Melts and Chewables
Rapid melts and chewables are a compromise between pills and liquids; they get into the bloodstream faster than tablets and capsules, and they store better than liquids. They are a better choice for first aid kits for conditions when getting into the bloodstream quickly is critical. Unfortunately, they are relatively expensive, but keep in mind that you don’t really need very many.
Forms of Diphenhydramine for Topical Use Only
Lotions, gels, and sprays are forms of diphenhydramine for topical use only. As such, they don’t have as much of the drowsiness side effect that oral forms have. Like syrups, lotions and sprays have a shorter shelf life. But these topical forms can be quite the blessing in taming the urge to scratch. Relief is immediate. And not only will these topicals treat insect stings and bites, rashes, and poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac, but they also help with the itching that occurs in the course of the healing of minor burns (including sunburns), cuts, and scrapes.
Finally, there is injectable diphenhydramine. Naturally, it acts faster than any of the other forms, which is critical when it is used as an adjunct in treating anaphylaxis. It is also useful as a local anesthetic, especially in people who are allergic to lidocaine. Unfortunately, it is only available for purchase by licensed health care providers. But, you can mix it up yourself! Of course, this is only for a grid-down situation, and you should do this under a physician’s guidance. However, having the supplies on hand will be critical. In addition to having diphenhydramine powder from capsules, you will also want sterile saline or dextrose solutions and syringes.
Make Your Own Lotion or Spray
Diphenhydramine powder from capsules can also be used to make your own lotion or spray by simply mixing with lotion or water. Combining the powder with a small amount of water makes a paste that can be applied in and around the edges of a wound to anesthetize it prior to cleaning and closure.
Dosage of Benadryl
An adult dosage of Benadryl is one or two pills for a total of 25-50 mg. Children 6-12 years are prescribed one 25 mg tablet. Prescription strength Benadryl is 75 mg. A physician should be consulted before using oral diphenhydramine products in children under the age of six years. Topical lotions and sprays may be used in children two years and older.
Benadryl is also not recommended for use in people over the age of 60 without a physician’s care. Because it is excreted in breast milk, it should not be used by nursing mothers (and it can also dry up the milk supply). Drug screens may produce false positive results for methadone use in people who have recently taken diphenhydramine. A typical 50 mg dose can create impairment equivalent to a .10 blood alcohol level, which is why each bottle contains a warning about driving and operating heavy machinery. In some children, Benadryl can have a paradoxical effect, where instead of having a sedating side effect, the side effect is stimulating. This is particularly true with children who have ADHD. Also, diphenhydramine can interact with other medications, so a drug reference should be consulted before medication is administered.
Shop Now – Where You Can Buy This Amazing Little Wonder Drug
“Don’t delay! Shop now!” So folks, now you’re wondering where you can buy this amazing little wonder drug. You can drive on down to your local grocery store and pay snake oil salesman prices for a few pills in a small containers. You may need lots of small containers to see you through to the other side of the apocalypse. Or you can step right up, people, to Sam’s Club. Our Sam’s currently has a bottle of 600 pills for $4.48, which is less than a penny per pill. Amazon Prime Pantry sells 400 pills for $6.09, which is about 1.5 cents per pill. Amazon also looks like the least expensive place to get chewables and rapid melts. And it has 1000 capsules for making your own injectables and topicals for $16.50.
Do I think I’ll need that many? If things get that bad, even for my large family, I think we’d rather be dead. But I’d have to spend at least $5.00 for a small bottle that might not be enough pills for us. And it just seems like a good idea to have extra for sharing or bartering.
What a Deal
Benadryl, where else on the planet can you find something that alleviates runny noses and itching, anesthetizes wounds, induces sleep, and treats nausea and anxiety in such a tiny pill that stores very well, for less than a penny? What a deal!
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.