Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Stock A Medicine Cabinet

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Inevitably, it's flu season, someone gets sick and you find yourself making a midnight run to the local pharmacy.  When more than a good cuddle on the couch is needed, a well-stocked medicine cabinet becomes the next best thing.

One of the first things to consider when stocking a medicine cabinet is your family's particular health issues.  Do you have a diabetic, an asthmatic or someone with an allergy in your home?  If so, those are the first and easiest medications to stock because the condition already exists.  They will always be needed and should always be current and stocked.

Another thing to consider is taping a set of instructions to the inside of the cabinet door.  An example of this would be how and when to use a particular medication or how to perform CPR.  If you or someone in your home is a newly-diagnosed patient, having instructions on how to use the medications and properly store them proves vital.

You can also keep an In Case of Emergency envelope.  Some of these things seem like common sense information, but in an emergency, it is much easier to have it all written down than it is to try to remember it.  Include important information such as:
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your child's name
  • Your child's date of birth
  • Any known allergies listed by household member
  • The closest hospital (name, address, phone number)
  • The closest children's hospital (name, address, phone number)
  • If you are pregnant, list the closest hospital with a Level II or III NICU
    • Level II NICUs tend to babies born at 32 weeks gestation or greater
    • Level III NICUs tend to babies born at less than 32 weeks gestation and need more specialized care
  • Your primary care provider or specialist
  • Your child's primary health care provider (name, address, phone number)
  • The Poison Control phone number (1-800-222-1222). 
  • Police station information
  • Ambulance service information
Here are some commonly needed items for the medicine cabinet, listed by topic.

  • Allergy eye drops
  • Benadryl (Made in the USA)
  • Seasonal allergy medication
  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen: for fever reduction and pain relief
    • Note: Do not give children aspirin.  It puts them at risk for Reye's syndrome - a rare and serious condition that causes brain damage and liver function issues.
  • Bulb syringe: to suction any mucus
  • Children's cough syrup
  • Children's decongestant
  • Children's dosage cup or spoon
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Saline nose drops
  • Vaporub
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibacterial ointment
    • If the tube touches a cut when applying, throw it out and buy a new one.  Touching an open cut can introduce bacteria to the tube.
  • Bandages:
    • stock various sizes
    • Note: Small bandages can be a choking hazard for small children so keep an eye on your child.
  • Calamine lotion
    • helps relieve skin itchiness, ie: chicken pox, bug bites, skin reactions
  • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped applicators
  • Diaper cream
  • Disinfectant and alcohol wipes
  • Gauze
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Insect repellent
  • Petroleum jelly
    • for abrasions, cuts; also to help keep moisture away from baby's bottom during diaper rash episodes; act as lubricant when constipated or for a rectal thermometer
  • Sunscreen
  • Teething gel
  • Thermometer: for taking temperature
  • Tweezers
    • for removing splinters or ticks (sterilize before using)
Fungal Issues
  • Anti-fungal medicine
Tummy Trouble
  • Activated charcoal
    • for accidental poisoning
    • Call the Poison Control phone number 1-800-222-1222 or 911.
  • Antacids
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte
With the holidays right around the corner and all of the gatherings happening, having a well-stocked medicine cabinet assures you that you can focus your attention on your guests and not on runny noses, dry eyes or acid stomachs after eating too much from the Thanksgiving Day banquet.


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