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Pile of Pills

Clean out the
Medicine Cabinet

The beginning of a new year is a good time to check out your medicine cabinet.  Chances are your bathroom closet contains a collection of outdated over-the-counter medications, partially used prescriptions and a variety of other "leftovers".  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.

What kind of medicines and other health products should you keep on hand to treat minor ailments or injuries?  Here's what doctors, nurses and pharmacists at FDA recommend:

Analgesic (relieves pain)

Antibiotic ointment (reduces risk of infection)

Antacid (relieves upset stomach)

Antihistamine (relieves allergy symptoms)

Decongestant (relieves stuffy nose and other cold symptoms)

Fever reducer (adult and child)

Hydrocortisone (relieves itching and inflammation)

Antiseptic (helps stop infection)

Adhesive bandages

Adhesive tape

Gauze pads



Calibrated measuring spoon

Alcohol wipes

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Discard outdated products, damaged containers, and old supplies.  Check the expiration dates - if the product doesn't have one, throw it out!  Outdated products can be dangerous in that they may lose potency, or may become too strong due to evaporation.

Restock supplies that are low or missing so that you can respond quickly to fevers, or minor injuries.  Keep all items in their original containers so that no one takes the wrong one.

Taking these measures can't prevent illness or accidents, but they can help you be prepared to treat accidents and minor illnesses promptly and effectively.

For more information, please contact your pharmacist.

Be Well!




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