14 March 2012

What's in your medicine cabinet?

Here are some great tips that I have compiled for you from various resources regarding keeping up and maintaining your medicine cabinet (or box, or shelf, or whatever it may be!).

The location.
Your medications should not be stored in a bathroom.  They should be in a cool, dry place.  The humidity of a bathroom can alter the chemical composition of your medications making them less effective or possibly dangerous. 

It is highly recommended to update your medicine cabinet annually, but also making sure you know what you are taking each time you reach for something from your medicine cabinet.

What to do with those oldies.
This seems to be a confusing topic, so listen up!  If we are talking over-the-counter medications, then some Internet search will tell you that medications do tend to lose their effectiveness after a certain amount of time, but they are generally still considered safe.  However, the environment in addition to the medication's age can alter the chemical composition of the medication and could potentially be harmful.  So, it's better to be safe than to be sorry.

If we are talking prescription medication, just go ahead and dispose of them once your prescribed course has finished.  If you have been prescribed something and the medicine was not completely used up, whether by your decision to not finish or just because you had more medicine administered to you than the prescriber told you to take, then just dispose of the remaining medication.  Especially when dealing with antibiotics, there is great concern of adverse (or harming) effects when used after it's expiration (plus, we're then entering into the discussion of antibiotic resistance).

Lastly, you may want to routinely check to see if the medications have been declared dangerous and/or ineffective by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).  You can do so by checking this website.

Some OTC's and other products that might be good to have on hand.
Antacids.  For heartburn, upset stomach, or bloating.  Examples: Zantac, Pepcid.
Antihistamines.  For allergies.  Nonsedating versions include Claritin and Zyrtec.  This may be good to have on hand for guests to use, especially if you are a pet-owner.
Aspirin.  Particularly baby aspiring for patients older than 35 for it's blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory effects.
Benadryl.  For allergic reactions from pretty much any source, including poison ivy.  Does have sedating effects.
Chloraseptic Spray.  Aids with nonsevere pain from a sore throat.
Dramamine.  For nausea and the prevention of motion sickness.
Epsom Salt. For mosquito bites, bee stings, mild sunburn, poison ivy, sore muscles, splinters, fading bruises, and aching feet.  For information on how to use epsom salt for these conditions, visit here.  It also can be made into a cleansing cream for deep-pore cleansing, a hair volumizer, bath crystals, and exfoliation (in which case, visit here).
Honey.  Has a plethora of health benefits, including as a natural cough suppressant.
Ibuprofen.  An NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) which is helpful for certain types of pain, eg muscular pain, tooth pain, joint pain, etc in addition to headaches and fever reduction.
Insect Repellant.  Make sure you're covered for mosquitos and ticks with DEET.
Neosporin. Antibacterial for cuts and scrapes.
Pepto-Bismol.  For stomach upset, heartburn, and diarrhea.
Sunscreen.  Make sure you're protected from both UVA and UVB rays with, preferably, a SPF greater than 15.
Thermometer of the non-mercury kind.
Tweezers.  For removing foreign objects, for example. 

As you can see, I have a quite a bit more than what is listed above.  I don't necessarily open my medicine cabinet often, but I have compiled quite a selection in addition to what I believe are the "must-haves."  I've read many different doctors' opinions on must-have, but the aforementioned list is my version of it.  I have several different types of bandages, lint rollers because I have three animals, allergy medication really just for guests who might have pet-allergies (or really "just in case" because I might have yet discover what I'm allergic to), then various pain relievers (200 mg for those pesky  headaches and 500 mg for the life-shattering migraines), and a few OTC sleep aids (like Unisom).

*If you are on multiple prescriptions, are under 18 years of age or older than 50 years of age, have a chronic condition, pregnant or breastfeeding, or are very much in to homeopathic or alternative medicine, it is a great idea to consult your doctor, pharmacist, or other licensed practitioner to further understand what you can and can not ingest or use.


Downs, M. F. (n.d.). Mosquito Repellents: Choosing the Best Repellant. WebMD - Better information. Better health.. Retrieved February 17, 2012, from http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/avoid-mosquito-bites

Epsom Salt Council. (n.d.). Epsom Salt Council. Retrieved February 17, 2012, from http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org

Griffin, R. M. (n.d.). Choosing the Best Sunscreen. WebMD - Better information. Better health.. Retrieved February 17, 2012, from http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/features/whats-best-sunscreen

Home | Honey.com - The National Honey Board. (n.d.). Home | Honey.com - The National Honey Board. Retrieved February 17, 2012, from http://www.honey.com/

Oz, M. (n.d.). Dr. Oz - Medicine Cabinet Essentials - Health Advice from Dr. Mehmet Oz - Esquire.Beautiful Women, Men's Fashion, Best Music, Drink Recipes - Esquire. Retrieved February 17, 2012, from http://www.esquire.com/features/ask-dr-oz/medicine-cabinet-0608

Penn State Live - Honey proves a better option for childhood cough than OTCs. (2007, December 3). Penn State Live - The University's Official News Source. Retrieved February 17, 2012, from http://live.psu.edu/story/27584

Roth, L. (2011). 2011 Mosby's nursing drug reference (24th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby.

What's in your medicine cabinet?  (2010)  Mayo Clinic Health Letter (English Ed.), 28 (1), 6.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, good info!
    I like your list. tweezers, band-aids, ibuprofen, and neosporin are MUST-HAVES for me.


I love receiving feedback, so thank you! =)
Your support means the world to me.

Have a charming day ;)
xo, amy