15 Items to Keep in Your Apartment Medicine Cabinet
With spring allergies looming, it’s the perfect time to reassess your medical supplies to ensure you’re prepared for any situation. Check the pulse on the medicine cabinet in your apartment and keep it stocked with these must-have items.
For Cuts, Scrapes, and Burns
- Bandages. Make sure your medicine cabinet is full of bandages of all shapes and sizes. This includes self-adhesive bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, and other special bandages.
- Antiseptics. Clean and disinfect minor cuts and scrapes by having some sort of liquid disinfectant on hand. Good options include hydrogen peroxide, which generally stings less than alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol, which can also be used as a cleaner.
- Antibacterial ointment. An antibacterial ointment like Neosporin or Polysporin can help with pain relief and often speeds up the healing process.
- Cotton swabs. These are helpful for applying ointments and other medicines in a sanitary manner, and they can also be used for removing makeup and cleaning, making them a versatile investment.
- Tweezers. This tool is useful for removing splinters and ticks. Find sturdy metal tweezers with pointy ends for best results.
For Rashes, Allergies and other Skin Irritations
- Calamine lotion. For many insect bites and plant-based rashes like poison ivy, it doesn’t get much better than being treated by calamine lotion. This old-fashioned pink solution calms itching and can dry up weepy rashes.
- Antihistamines. Most oral antihistamines are available over-the-counter (Benadryl), and can soothe allergies and itching caused by just about anything, like hives, animal allergies, and food allergies. Beware of the main side effect of drowsiness.
- Hydrocortisone cream. A 1 percent topical hydrocortisone cream or ointment relieves persistent itching and inflammation that may not be cured by the above medications.
- Eye drops. Soothe itchy, irritated eyes with eye drops that contain an antihistamine and a decongestant, like Opcon-A and Naphcon A.
For Digestive Issues
- Nausea and diarrhea aids. While many anti-nausea medications require a prescription, you can buy Dramamine over the counter and also use it for preventing motion sickness. An all-around drug like Pepto Bismol can provide general stomach relief from nausea, heartburn, and upset stomach, while something like Immodium is a good option to treat diarrhea.
- Calcium carbonate tablets. Keep these tablets on hand to relieve heartburn, which occurs when stomach acid backs up and causes irritation of the esophagus. Common brands are Tums and Rolaids.
For Pain, Headaches, and Fever
- Pain relievers. Cover your bases by getting two types of pain relievers, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Medicines like Tylenol have acetaminophen and are milder on the digestive tract, while ibuprofen-based medications, including Motrin, Aleve, and Advil, work better for inflammatory pain and swelling.
- Cold and cough. Over-the-counter medications can work wonders for cold and cough symptoms. A decongestant like Sudafed can relieve a stuffy nose, ear congestion, and sinus pain, while an expectorant like Mucinex can help with a wet cough. Dry coughs can be treated by a cough syrup that contains the suppressant dextromethorphan, like Pertussin and Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough.
- Thermometer. An electronic thermometer is usually the sturdiest and most accurate option for checking temperatures, and a good choice if you are worried about the mercury in traditional thermometers.
- Measuring cup. Make sure you have a medical-use, calibrated measuring cup that can accurately dispense liquid medications.
Photo credit: Shutterstock/Sherry Yates Young