Out with the old and in with the new. A new year is a great time to go through all of the medications and give a thorough look at the stock in your medicine cabinet.
Keep a list of all of the medications used regularly and others kept on hand for less frequent use. Maintaining inventory is essential information when you visit the doctor. A doctor needs to know everything that is used daily or from time to time. It will come in handy when the doctor is prescribing medications. Also, check with your doctor on any herbal supplements to see if they are necessary and safe to continue use.
As you go through your medicine cabinet, check the expiration dates. Take stock of regularly used over-the-counter medication. If you have some medication that you tried but hated because of how it made you feel, there is no reason to keep it. Check to see if pills have been stored improperly. If it is growing mold or mildew, toss it out. Medications that say “keep refrigerated” and sit in a warm cupboard are also a cause for alarm.
To properly dispose of medications, check to see if there is a medication take-back program in your area. If not, the FDA has guidelines on safely disposing of medications. Empty the pills into something people won’t want to touch, such as a plastic bag filled with dirt or kitty litter. Seal the bag and toss it in the trash can. Before recycling prescription pill bottles, remove or blackout identifying information on the package.
Make sure to monitor the medicine cabinet properly. Keep it locked and out of reach so that small children cannot find their way in or others cannot seek out medicine for abuse purposes.
When stocking your medicine cabinet, it is essential to have the basics on hand in case of a headache or sudden case of allergies. Remember to store medications in their original packaging so that you can reference usage and check expiration dates.
- Your prescription medications
- Pain and fever relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin
- Allergy medications, including nondrowsy varieties
- Eye drops
- Calamine lotion, an antihistamine cream or spray or hydrocortisone for itchy skin or allergic reactions
- Ointments for cuts and burns, such as antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone cream and aloe vera gel
- Decongestants and cough drops for cold or flu symptoms
- Activated charcoal for accidental poisoning
- Medicine for an upset stomach, like calcium carbonate for heartburn or antacids for indigestion
Not only are medications necessary, but it is also essential to keep medical supplies on hand.
- Adhesive bandages, gauze bandages
- Cotton balls and Q-tips
- Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
- Soap and disinfectant
- Safety pins and scissors
- Medical exam gloves
- Nail clippers
- Pill cutter
- Eyeglass repair kit or contact lens cleaner (if relevant)
- Everyday dental basics, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss