Colds and the flu usually strike at the end of winter or beginning of spring. Are you and your medicine cabinet prepared to handle another cold, allergy and cough season?
In addition to readying you for spring, cleaning out your medicine cabinet also ensures you get rid of dangerous or outdated medicines. First, know what to get rid of. Throw out expired and old medicines and consolidate nearly empty bottles and duplicates to get rid of clutter. Don’t leave old pills lying out in open trash cans and available to the curious hands and noses of young children and pets; dispose of them securely
Next, inventory what you have and learn what to add, especially if you’re living in cold-prone, windy areas. Make sure you have the following items in your medicine cabinet:
Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Primarily known as a pain reliever, acetaminophen is also a fever-reducer.
Aloe vera: This soothing, oft-green gel treats burns.
Antihistamine (Benadryl): This over-the-counter medication calms allergy symptoms such as nasal inflammation, sneezing, runny noses and eye irritation. It’s also a lifesaver for allergic reactions and bug bites.
Antiseptics: Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol clean cuts and scrapes to help prevent infection.
Antiseptic creams or ointments (Neosporin): These prevent infection in cuts and scrapes and reduce scarring.
Bandages: Stock up on bandages in various sizes so you can cover and protect any wound.
Cold, cough and flu medicines: So you’re not treating symptoms you don’t have, purchase different over-the-counter cold, cough and flu medications, such as decongestants (for coughs), expectorants and cough suppressants, depending on the symptoms you typically have.
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Cortisone cream: This topical ointment reduces inflammation and calms itchy insect bites and rashes.
Gauze bandages and adhesive tape: These two items are crucial for covering larger wounds.
Heating and cooling packs: Ice reduces fevers and swelling, while heat eases cramps and stomach aches.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin): This pain reliever also reduces inflammation and swelling.
Medicine dropper or medicine cup: You need some accurate medical-use measure for dispensing liquid medications.
Nose spray: Decongestant nasal sprays quickly open up nasal passages by constricting blood vessels in the lining of the nose. Saline sprays help moisturize dry or irritated nostrils.
Thermometer: Purchase a digital or chemical-dot thermometer for checking temperatures, and know which temperatures are too high for all ages.
Tweezers: Find good tweezers with more pointy ends for removing splinters or ticks.
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Sarah&Boston