Give your Medicine Cabinet a Make-over
As if you didn't have enough to do over the holidays, now is a good time to
give your medicine cabinet a long overdue make-over. Take everything out, clean
it thoroughly, and only put back what really needs to be there. Throw out anything
that is expired, "old" prescriptions for conditions you no longer have, or any
products containing ingredients such as phenylpropanolamine, a common ingredient
in cold products and diet pills that the FDA banned.
Think "location, location, location" when storing medicines. This can improve
safety and help you take your medicines properly. Other tips on medicine safety?
First, keep ALL medicines out of the reach of children. Next, store medicines
according to the package directions. . .which means you have to read them. Store
your medicines where you are most likely to use them. Is your lifestyle on the
go? You may be better off carrying your medicines with you. This also works
if you just can't remember to take your medicines every morning. If it's with
you, you can take it when you remember. And, if you have medicines that must
be taken in emergencies or as soon as you have certain symptoms, keep it with
you at all times.
There are now more than 300,000 over-the-counter medicines: which ones do you
really need? Think about what should be in the medicine cabinet and what shouldn't,
what first aid products you should have, and how to organize your home remedies
so they're available when-and where-you need them.
In general, think of products as those used daily, those used occasionally,
and emergency products.
Products used daily may include: Daily medicines, vitamins and supplements.
And of course, toothpaste & dental floss.
Products used occasionally-may be used more frequently in winter, especially
during the holidays:
These include headache, pain, and fever medicines and cough/cold/or flu symptom
products. Sometimes its tough to tell, but they are all made from combinations
of up to 5 ingredients: decongestant, cough suppressant, expectorant, anti-histamine,
and fever/pain reducers. It's also handy to have a cream for itchy skin reactions
as well as products for all the usual stomach or bowel problems.
An emergency first aid kit should be kept at home and in the car. Add something
for minor burns, an antibiotic cream for minor cuts, and an antihistamine for
unexpected allergic reactions.
Created: 12/29/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 12/27/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.