Which Medicines Should Be In Your Cabinet?

    7. Antihistamines. Antihistamines can relieve the symptoms of allergic reactions – whether they’re from ragweed, dust, insect bites or a specific food. Doctors often recommend them because they work quickly to dry up a watery nose or control itchy allergies. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is the most common, but it can be sedating. Claritin (loratadine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine) lasts longer (24 hours) and both are considered non-sedating. All are available in both adult and children formulations. Remember that if you’re dealing with a severe allergic reaction – difficulty breathing, tongue or lip swelling – don’t count on a pill. Call 911 and get to an emergency room immediately.

    8. Decongestant. Medications containing pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylephrine are for stuffy/congested noses. They can be stimulating and may interfere with sleep. Decongestants also drain mucous, so taking them at night is going to cause a river of drainage. It is best to do this during the day when you can blow your nose.

    9. Cough Medicines. There are two types: expectorants (makes you cough by loosening mucous), and suppressants (controls or reduces coughing). It is important to know your goal when you select one. Medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DM) can suppress a cough. Combination medicines have both an expectorant and a suppressant — they essential make you cough and tries to stop it at the same time.

    10. Medicines Specific To Your Families Needs. Of course, as mentioned before, your family and individual needs may require you to have other medicines or classes of over-the-counter drugs on hand. Each home pharmacy will need to be individualized. The home pharmacy of someone with children will be totally different than a family without kids.

    Toss These… Today!

    Now that you know what medicines belong in your cabinet, here’s what needs to be thrown out…now. The following products do more harm than good:

    Mercurochrome and betadine. Experts now say that these old-school, wound-cleansing antiseptics can delay healing.

    “The new, fragile cells responsible for a wound’s healing are easily damaged by the toxic effects of these agents,” Singh says.

    Syrup of ipecac. The American Pediatric Association no longer recommends taking this to induce vomiting after swallowing something dangerous, Singh says. “By causing vomiting, there’s a risk of [inhaling stomach contents into the lungs].”

    A Necessary Reminder About Any Medication…

    • When using any medication or treament, always follow dosage recommendations and avoid the home treatment of things that have not been properly diagnosed — even if you are the one diagnosing them. Consult with your medical provider if you have doubts or questions.

    • Remember that all medicines need to be securely locked if you have kids, or visiting grandchildren.

    • Rather than wasting time on a risky and possibly ineffective treatment, call 911 or poison control if a family member has swallowed a toxic substance.

    • To avoid contaminating the environment, follow label instructions when disposing expired drugs, according to the FDA.

    When in doubt about any medicine, talk to your pharmacist or your doctor.

     

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