Whether it is a common cut or something scarier like chest pains, you need the right items to handle a medical emergency. But most people aren’t well-prepared. As a parent with kids running around the house, you may have to nurse a bruise or cut once in a while.
Medicine cabinets should always contain basic first-aid and OTC medication. It is important to regularly take inventory of your supplies and restock before things run out. You will save yourself late-night emergency drug-store runs, sleepless nights and possibly a doctor visit by nipping ailments in the bud when you are able to treat them on the spot. Make it a habit to throw out anything that’s passed its expiration date. Expiration dates on medical products are a critical part of determining if the product is safe to use and will work as intended. They really are there for a reason.
Take this checklist and head out to fully stock your medicine cabinets with these 10 must-haves.
- Pain Reliever
You should have at least one of these three -aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen -for pain relief, fever reduction and anti-inflammatory purposes. It is actually a good idea to have more than one option since some people have sensitivities to certain ones and some are better for different types of pain than others.
Heart attacks can happen any time, and taking aspirin as soon as possible helps reduce the damage.”
Here’s how: Heart attacks are usually caused by a blood clot in a coronary artery.
If you take aspirin (and chew it so it enters your system quickly), its blood-thinning properties can help break down the clot and limit the injury to your heart.
You must have a reliable thermometer in your medicine cabinet, especially if you have got very young children. You will need it to monitor fevers, which could indicate infection in a wound or worsening of any illness,
A digital thermometer is recommended because they are easier to read than ones with mercury.
It is vital to clean wounds immediately to avoid infection. You should have both rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
Keep a variety of bandages on hand. Adhesive strips are probably used the most but you should also have gauze pads, medical tape, butterfly and ace bandages. On larger wounds, a pad will cover, protect and absorb any drainage from it.
In addition to cleaning wounds, you also have to remove any foreign objects that may cause irritation or infection. And of course, you need them for splinters.
- Antibiotic Ointment
Once the wound is clean, antibiotic ointment prevents infection and speeds healing. You may want one that contains a topical pain reliever too.
- Anti-Itch Lotion
Medicine cabinets should contain a couple of different itch stoppers. Hydrocortisone is excellent for treating small rashes and bug bites. For larger allergic reactions Benadryl Anti-Itch Gel contains a topical antihistamine.
Nothing is worse than having to run (No pun intended!) to the store in the midst of a bout of diarrhea. Yours or your child’s.
- Allergy Medication
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) tablets are a life saver during allergy season but they cause drowsiness so you might also want to have a non-drowsy option like loratidine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra) or cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec).
- Activated Charcoal
Ipecac used to be recommended to induce vomiting for accidental poisoning but you should absolutely NOT use it anymore. Instead keep activated charcoal on hand.
- Hydrocortisone cream
This contains an inflammation-reducing steroid hormone, and can take the itch out of insect bites, poison oak and ivy, and some rashes. Apply a small amount, and do not use it for more than a few days at a time without consulting your doctor.