Your medicines could use an annual checkup
What kind of medicines and other health products should you keep on hand to treat minor ailments or injuries? More importantly, where's the best place in the house to keep them? Contrary to age-old tradition, a bathroom medicine cabinet is not a good place to keep OTC (over-the-counter or nonprescription) or prescription medications. Showers and baths create heat and humidity that can cause some drugs to deteriorate rapidly. A cool, dark and dry place such as the top of a linen closet, preferably in a locked container and out of a child's reach, is best for storing medicines.
Here's what doctors, nurses and pharmacists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend as "must haves":
LINEN CLOSET: Analgesic (relieves pain), antibiotic ointment (reduces risk of infection), antacid (relieves upset stomach), antihistamine (relieves allergy symptoms), syrup of ipecac (induces vomiting), decongestant (relieves stuffy nose and other cold symptoms), fever reducer (adult and child), hydrocortisone (relieves itching and inflammation) and antiseptic (helps stop infection).
MEDICINE CLOSET: Adhesive bandages, adhesive tape, gauze pads, tweezers, thermometer, calibrated measuring spoon, alcohol wipes and disinfectant.
REMEMBER TO: Clean out your bathroom medicine cabinet and the area where you store medicines at least once a year, discard outdated products, damaged containers, and old supplies, restock supplies that are low or missing and keep all items in their original containers so that no one takes the wrong one.
HOME HEALTH CARE QUOTES FROM FDA EXPERTS: "Check expiration dates frequently. Most people are unaware that even first-aid kits have expiration dates."
"Keep important health service numbers near the telephone."
"Wash all cuts and scrapes thoroughly with soap and water before applying antibiotic ointment."
"Do not give aspirin to children because it has been linked to Reye syndrome--a rare disorder that affects the brain and liver and, in some instances, can kill children. Check with your doctor for a suitable substitute for reducing a child's fever."
"Never refer to medications as candy." (If children find medicine on their own, they're likely to remember that you called it candy.)
"Give syrup of ipecac only after talking with your doctor or a Poison Control Center expert. Some ingested poisons are treated differently."
"Pay particular attention to dosing instructions. The potency levels of medications intended for children are very different from those intended for adults."
Be especially careful with iron-containing supplements. "Iron tablets are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in children."
"Keep all items in their original containers so that no one takes the wrong one."
Courtesy RB NEWSJournal
December 25, 2003
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