A well-stocked medicine cabinet will also come in handy in a medical emergency. If you call your doctor’s office or insurance company for guidance you may be advised to start treatment at home. Here is a list of items that should be kept in your medicine cabinet, out of reach of young children, of course.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol for adults or children). Use for fever or minor aches and pain.
- Ibuprofen liquid or caplets. Use for adult fever and as an anti-inflammatory for minor pain.
- Charcoal. Use for accidental poisoning to absorb toxins/poisons.
- Antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (generic for brand name ‘Benadryl’). Use for allergic reaction, itching.
- Decongestant nasal spray. Use to clear nasal passageways. Saline nasal spray is a good choice. It is your safest option because you can’t use too much and it has no side effects.
- NOTE: Be sure to follow directions if you use over-the-counter or prescription decongestants, or combination decongestant /antihistamines. Common ingredients in decongestants, like pseudoephedrine, can affect your heart and blood pressure.
- Hydrogen peroxide. Use sparingly for cleansing wounds.
- Thermometer. Use to take temperature. You should also keep a thermometer in your First Aid Kit. Choose one that is easy to use and interpret. You want to be sure both teenagers and the elderly can use it.
- Expectorant. Use to bring up mucus by thinning it so you can cough it out. Non-prescription Guaifenesin is a good choice. It is often packaged with the cough suppressant like dextromethorphan (DM).
- Anti-bacterial ointment. Use after cleaning minor cuts and abrasions. Again, this is included in your First Aid Kit but should also be kept in your medicine cabinet. Bacitracin is a good choice. Triple antibiotic skin cream contains Neosporin which is particularly sensitizing especially when used on the face, it can also cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Calamine or antihistamine lotion with or without hydrocortisone 1%. Use this for itching and rash caused by poisonous plants or insect bites. Cleanse the area before application.
- Sterile eye wash with eye cup. Use to flush irritants from eye. You should also keep one in your First Aid Kit.
Check for expiration dates and discard any expired medications properly!
AND do not forget to ask your doctor what he/she suggests you keep at home!