Illnesses usually catch even a healthy person unaware-, especially during the cold season. It is vital to check one’s medicine cabinet once every six months to ensure that the essentials are in place. What one must have in their medicine cabinet depends on their needs.
16 of the essentials for one’s medicine cabinet are listed below:
Antiseptic solutions are very important to clean out minor wounds and ensure that the site is clean. Immediate cleaning can reduce the risk of infection.
Disinfecting liquids include Dettol or Betadine.
- Antidiarrheal and Laxative treatment:
Anti-diarrheal medication helps in the case of an emergency and prevents one from losing too many fluids. Commonly available over the counter are tablets like Lomotil and Loperamide that slow down the activity in the gastrointestinal tract.
Laxatives are also important to have handy. Commonly used bulk-forming laxatives are Citrucel and Metamucil.
- Antibacterial powder:
Powders like Candid and Clocip aid in keeping bacterial infections and rashes at bay. Antiseptic talcum powder can also do the same job.
- Healing ointment:
Healing ointments like Boroline can help to prevent scarring and soothe wounds. Antibiotic ointments help to prevent bacterial infections in an open wound. Ointments include Fucidine and Bactroban. These can also be used to treat dry and damaged skin.
Antihistamine tablets like Avil are essential to keep allergies at bay and reduce itching, sneezing, and watery eyes. It is better to stock up on those that make you drowsy and those that do not. Antihistamine ointments like Anthisan Cream are also available.
- Burn ointments:
Burn ointments help to reduce pain and speed up the healing of a minor burn site. These are available as ointments, sprays or gels. Commonly available in the market in Burnol.
For pain relief there some over the counter tablets that are available. Some of the common ones are Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. These are dual action. It is also important to stock up on child-friendly painkillers like Calpol or Panadol syrup.
Aspirin is a painkiller as well as tackles a fever. However, it must be avoided by those who take blood thinners as Aspirin interferes with blood clotting. Zerodol P Uses a commonly used tablet for pain management and to combat inflammation that accompanies conditions like Osteoarthritis and Spondylitis.
Gelusil tablets or syrup help to aid heartburn and acid reflux when the need arises. Calcium Carbonate tablets like Maalox also relieve heartburn and helps to relieve symptoms that would irritate the oesophagus. They work by neutralising the stomach acid. It is important that people with kidney issues and heart problems consult their doctor before taking antacids.
- Antiemetic medicine:
To prevent vomiting, dizziness, motion sickness and nausea, antiemetic medicines come in handy. Common tablets are Zofran and Domstal.
These tablets block neurotransmitters in the body that trigger impulses of vomiting and motion sickness.
The two kinds of decongestants from colds are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine.
Commonly available ones are Afrin, Vicks and Sudafed PE.
- Cough medicines
Cough medication is available in two kinds- one for a dry cough and one for the mucus-producing kind. Medication for these is Benadryl and Mucinex respectively.
- Eye and ear drops:
Eye and ear drops like Ciplox and Gentamicinthat are antibiotic are used to treat infections like conjunctivitis or ulcers.
- Calamine lotion:
The Zinc based pink liquid can soothe rashes or itching that arises from bites upon topical application.
- Medicine for Urinary or Bladder infections:
A bladder infection may cause pelvic pain and an increased urge to urinate. If it is left untreated, it can cause a fever spike. Antibiotics like Amoxicillin can be used to treat this.
- Immunity Boosters:
Immune system boosters help one’s body ward off infections. Vitamin C tablets help stave off infections and colds if taken on a regular basis. Malano and Tildoxon are ascorbic acid tablets that act as immunity boosters. Honey is also used as an immunity booster. Raw honey has antibacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Tools like a pair of scissors and tweezers can come in handy in a medicine cabinet. Bandages and plasters are also essentials that need to be stocked up on for minor cuts and scrapes. A thermometer will read body temperature to indicate when it is time to get medical help.
An ice pack is indispensable in the case of sore ligaments and muscles.
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Most people end up self-medicating with various over the counter remedies. Overuse of tablets or combining these with certain other medications can lead to serious health complications that include stomach ulcers, increased blood pressure and liver or kidney damage. According to the Centre for Disease Control, more than 60,000 children end up in the emergency room every year due to accidental overdose.
To make sure that you are not doing more harm than good, it is important to keep in mind factors like:
- Dosage: The recommended dosage for one person is not the same as the same as it is for everyone else. Medicines should be used only for relief of minor symptoms and not on a regular basis.
- Ingredients: It is important not to double up on medication. There is an overlap when it comes to certain multi-symptom cold medication.
- Medical conditions: High blood pressure, heart conditions, and other pre-existing conditions can get aggravated upon taking unnecessary medication. Avoiding this is important.
- Interactions: Some prescribed medications may interact with over the counter medications. Checking with a doctor before taking medications is important.
- Antibiotics: Leftover antibiotics should not be used for the subsequent treatment of other illnesses. It could put one at risk for unnecessary side effects.
- Children: Many common medications for people above the age of 50 are quite harmful to children. Even a small dose can have a big effect on a child’s body.
Make sure the medicine cabinet is stocked and organised. It is important to throw out old and expired tablets and syrups. Medicines can lose potency over time and should be evaluated periodically.