Be prepared for the unexpected: don't let your health be an additional worry

Be prepared for the unexpected: don’t let your health be an additional worry

During the recent Queensland floods, many people were caught without their medicines. This put some people at risk of serious health complications and caused untold additional stress.

Ahead of possible cyclones and further severe weather patterns, NPS has some tips for how people can protect their health during emergencies.

Keep a medicines list

A medicines list is a handy way to keep track of your medicines. It allows you to record important details about all your medicines, such as its name, what it’s for, what strength you take, and when you take it. This includes prescription, over-the-counter and natural or alternative medicines.

If you find yourself without your medicines you can take your medicines list to a GP and ensure you get replacement scripts for the right medicines, or to a pharmacist to discuss how they can help you. Download a printable medicines list.

Keep a prescription wallet

Keep all your prescriptions in a prescriptions wallet and keep this in a safe and easy-to-access place so if you are evacuated you can find it quickly.

Take your regular medicines when you leave home

During emergencies, medicines are often the last thing on your mind. If you have time to pack, remember to take your regular medicines with you, or keep the prescription wallet in your bag so you don’t forget them in a hurry.

Remember to take your medicines as directed

During stressful situations when you’re not in your normal routine it’s easy to forget to take your medicines. When possible, set reminders for yourself on your phone or use your medicines list to check off each dose you take so you don’t get out of kilter.

If you forget to take a dose, ask a doctor or pharmacist what you should do or call the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINES (1300 633 424).

Ensure you have adequate supplies

If you have time to prepare ahead of a possible emergency, ask your local pharmacist to help you ensure you have adequate supplies of your regular medicines. Make sure you store them in a safe, cool and dry place so they aren’t damaged. Think about any medicines that need to be refrigerated if it’s likely you will lose power. If your medicines have become wet or too hot, ask a pharmacist or call Medicines Line before taking them as it might affect how the medicines work in your body.


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests.We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.