What works for the Boy Scouts also works for you; always be prepared. Two of the things that are absolutely important that you should be ready for are illness and accidents. This is why you should make sure that your medicine cabinet is well stocked.
With the appropriate supplies handy, you can be efficient in responding to minor sickness and accidents. In the event of something more serious, you’ll also have an adequate supply of first aid essentials.
Most families put their medicine cabinet in the bathroom, but this is not the best place for it. Neither is the kitchen, which is another popular option.
The medicine cabinet shouldn’t be near sources of moisture or heat as these can cause medicines to lose potency or even become toxic.
The recommendation is that you put it in a stable environment that’s out of your children’s reach, such as a high shelf in a closet.
The list below features the things that you should have in your medicine cabinet. Check regularly to make sure that they have not yet gone past the expiration date and that they have not been contaminated or compromised in some way.
If you have children, make sure that you have children- or infant-strength versions of medicines, depending on their ages. Never give adult-strength medication to children as these are more concentrated and could cause liver damage to young ones.
1. For Fever and Pain
- Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen – These are for both fever reduction and pain relief.
- Topical pain relief applications – Do not use for children under 12 as these typically have aspirin, which has been linked to Reye Syndrome, a potentially fatal condition that affects the brain and liver.
2. For Coughs, Colds, and Allergies
Cough and cold medication comes in different forms and addresses specific issues.
- Nasal decongestant – This is for unclogging a stuffy nose.
- Cough suppressant – This is for quieting a cough.
- Cough expectorant – This is for loosening mucus so you can cough it up.
- Antihistamine – This is for stopping runny noses and sneezing caused by allergies. Besides the usual pill or syrup, allergy medication may include allergy eye drops and adrenaline.
Adrenaline such as EpiPen must of course be on the allergy sufferer’s person for easy access in an emergency, but the extras should be kept in the medicine cabinet so they’re easy to find just in case it would ever be necessary for somebody else to retrieve one.
3. For Stomach Issues
- Anti-diarrhea – This is for episodes of frequent watery bowel movements.
- Antacid – This is for stomach acid, gas, and heartburn.
- Chamomile oil – This is commonly used for abdominal distention in babies and children, but it works really well as an antiflatulent for any age.
4. For Wounds, Burns, and Skin Irritations
- Antibiotic or antibacterial ointment – This is to be used for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.
- Hydrogen peroxide – This is for cleaning minor wounds.
- Gauze pads and bandages – These should be in a variety of shapes and sizes. You might want to get colored and patterned bandages to get your children to keep theirs on.
- Anti-itch topical cortisone cream – This is for rashes.
- Anti-fungal cream – This is for bouts of athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other fungal skin infections.
- Hydrocortisone cream – This is for insect bites and stings.
- Calamine lotion – This is for itching brought on by bug bites and other skin irritations.
5. In Case of Babies
- Teething gel – This is to ease pain when the baby is cutting teeth.
- Non-medicated saline nose drops – This is for loosening the mucus and clearing the baby’s nose.
- Nasal aspirator or bulb syringe – This is for gently suctioning mucus from the baby’s nose.
- Simethicone drops – This is for baby gas.
- Oral rehydration solution – This is to replenish electrolytes after bouts of diarrhea.
6. Other Important Supplies
- Digital thermometer
- Petroleum jelly
- Sterile cotton balls and swabs
- Disinfectant, soap, and alcohol wipes
- Dosage spoon or cup
- Bug repellent
- Activated charcoal (for accidental poisoning)
- Essential oils (if you believe in their health benefits)
Important Health Measure
Make sure you regularly check your medicine cabinet to make sure that it isn’t running low on supplies and to verify that everything is still safe to use.
You don’t want to dash to the store or to your neighbor to get what you need for accidents and random incidents of illness. Having the appropriate medicines and supplies handy is paramount, especially when you’re ministering to children or yourself.