Your medicine cabinet may contain life-saving medications, but it can also pose serious health risks to your family. Ensure your family's health and well being by always followng these 6 key steps to better medicine cabinet safety.
1. Keep your medications and supplies organized.
In an emergency, you don't have time to rummage through old bottles of poorly labeled medications to find the one you need. Always keep daily prescriptions within easy reach, and be sure to keep children's medications separate from adult medications to prevent dangerous mix-ups.
2. Check expiration dates routinely.
Medications can lose potency once they expire, so expiration dates should be checked routinely — once a year at least. Storing medications in a warm, humid environment may shorten shelf life, so if in doubt, consult with your doctor or pharmacist.
3. Dispose of medications safely.
There are many options for disposing of expired or unused medications safely, including flushing the medicine down the toilet, or mixing it with kitty litter or coffee grounds before throwing it in the trash.
4. Don't play doctor.
Even if your medicine cabinet is stocked with natural remedies like homeopathics or herbal supplements, it is still a good idea to consult with a doctor or trained specialist — particularly if you're using these in conjunction with prescription medications.
5. Use a secure lock.
According to WebMD, "more than 60,000 young children in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms each year for accidental overdoses." Most of these cases occur when children find and ingest medication that has not been locked up safely.
A secure lock is also essential to keep teens out of the medicine cabinet, as this demographic is increasingly likely to abuse drugs that they have access to in their own homes.
6. Keep your medicine cabinet well-stocked.
The WebMD Medicine Cabinet Makeover video includes tips on which over-the-counter medications to always keep on hand. Basic products you'll want to have include:
- Bandages and other first aid supplies.
- Antihistamines (useful for treating allergic reactions).
- Pain relievers and fever reducers.
- Antibiotic ointments.
- A thermometer.
- Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
By securing and organizing your medicine cabinet, you'll be able to meet all of your family's medical needs quickly and safely. Medications that save lives can become deadly if they make it into the wrong hands, so don't delay — take these potentially lifesaving steps to a safer medicine cabinet today.