This weekend was my time to clean out all our medicine cabinets and drawers. Admit it - how many expired bottles of medicine and creams are fermenting on your shelves?
I spent half an hour going through our bathroom and kitchen cupboards looking for anything with expired labels. I found a bunch of prescription pill containers, assorted liquid medicines and all kinds of antiseptic gels which were way past their due date. I was about to throw them in the garbage until Sharon told me you can bring expired pharmaceuticals to pharmacies to be properly disposed of.
When I dropped my bag of expired medicine at the pharmacy counter, the pharmacist explained how medication can actually get into the soil, creating an environmental hazard. If you're thinking of flushing medicine down the toilet, think again. In fact, traces of certain medications have actually been found in water supplies.
He also told me that keeping medication in the bathroom or kitchen can be a problem because the heat and humidity in those rooms can affect the stability of the medication. Also, keeping prescriptions in an overheated car can compromise the medicine. Who knew?
Since we were already chatting, I asked him for his recommendations for the top twenty must-haves for every family medicine cabinet. I scribbled the list and picked it up in one quick shop.
Here's the list so you can use it too!
Ibuprofen (tablets or syrup) for pain and fever in adults and children
Acetaminophen (tablets or syrup) for pain and fever in adults or children
Antihistamine (tablets or syrup) for allergies, bites and itchy rashes
Oral rehydration sachets like Pedialyte or Gatorade
Cream or spray for insect bites or stings
Steam inhalations or vapour rub for relief of cold symptoms and stuffy noses
Antibiotic cream like Polysporin
Saline or something similar for cleaning cuts prior to bandaging
Bandages, gauze and tape for minor wounds
Cough medicine (*Interesting note that the pharmacist told me cough medicine is not meant for children under 6. Ask your pharmacist to recommend alternatives.)
Thermometer - either ear, forehead or mouth/underarm/bum
Measuring spoon, cup or oral syringe for kids
Tweezers for splinters
Hydrocortisone (steroid) cream
Aloe gel for soothing sunburns
Instant cold packs
Warm compress for strains and sprains
Am I missing anything? What are the must-haves in your medicine cabinet?