Healthcare Guide: Stocking the Medicine Cabinet
Please remember, this is intended to offer people support, ideas, and resources. It is not in any way intended to be a substitute for medical advice or care. Please see (or at the very least call) a health care professional if you have concerns!
REMEMBER when taking ANY KIND OF MEDICATION:
- Read and follow any enclosed directions with your medication.
- If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact your doctor or pharmacist.
- Be sure you’re giving the right medicine and the right amount
- Use the correct dosing device.
- Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider before giving two medicines at the same time.
- Follow age and weight limit recommendations. If the label says don’t give to children under a certain age or weight, don’t do it.
- Prescription medication is not meant to be shared. It should only be taken by the person it was prescribed for. Doing anything different is not only medically dangerous, but illegal.
If you have ANY questions about medications, side effects, other drug interactions, etc. talk to your doctor OR drug store pharmacist – they are actually more knowledgeable than doctors a majority of the time since unlike doctors their entire training is focused on pharmacology (although you should always question your doctor when receiving meds). If the symptoms do not improve, contact your doctor.
Always be upfront with your doctor about ALL medications &/or supplements you are taking to prevent drug interactions. If you find you’re taking more than a few medications and supplements, it can be helpful to bring a list to all medical appointments. Some doctors ask that you bring all medications and supplements to the appointment.
Keep in mind: Drugs usually don’t work “instantaneously.” Wait about 20 minutes.
If you have any questions or concerns, call your health care provider and follow your health care providers advice.
When I buy Over the Counter (OTC) meds (non-perscription), I choose to buy the kind that only have one active ingredient, that way I can be sure you’re taking only the drugs you need/intend to take. It’s too easy for people to over-dose on some drugs if they are wrapped up with others (e.g., taking tylenol AND nyquil, which won’t kill you but isn’t good for your liver) plus why deal with side effects from taking drugs for symptoms you don’t even have?
You don’t want to exceed the amount of medication needed in a certain time period. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications at once. For example if you have the flu you might be taking a daytime flu medication, but then you will want something to knock you out for the nighttime (proper rest is key to recovery). Both drugs have high doses of acetaminophen so you need to include that variable when planning your dosages, i.e., if they both say do not exceed 4 doses every 24 hours, then you would take 3 doses of the daytime, and one dose of the nighttime.
If you have ANY QUESTIONS about dosage, talk to your healthcare provider. Generally, for medications taken multiple times a day over a weeklong period, it’s usually advisable to keep the amount of drug in the system constant. So if it says “take twice a day” it’s best to separate by 12 hours. If it says “take three times a day” it’s best to separate by 8 hours.
When it comes to most basic medical needs there three over-the-counter drugs we have in our medicine cabinet: Ibuprofen (Advil), Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
*** Eat something before taking Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen, they are very rough on the stomach lining and if you take them frequently with nothing in the stomach it can cause indigestion or nausea and eventually even ulcers. Not to freak anyone, but it is VERY IMPORTANT important that people read and FOLLOW the directions on the bottle for dosing etc. Antihistamines frequently cause drowsiness, if it is bad look for alternative brands.***
- Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen is used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury. (via Drugs.com)
- Acetaminophen: Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. Acetaminophen is used to treat many conditions such as headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds, and fevers. (via Drugs.com)
- Diphenhydramine: Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine. Diphenhydramine blocks the effects of the naturally occurring chemical histamine in the body. Diphenhydramine is used to treat sneezing; runny nose; itching, watery eyes; hives; rashes; itching; and other symptoms of allergies and the common cold. (via Drugs.com)
Other Drugs to Consider
- calcium carbonate (Tums): Treating heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, and upset stomach caused by these conditions. Tums chewable tablets is an antacid. It works by neutralizing acid in the stomach. It also works to treat or prevent calcium deficiency by providing extra calcium to the body. (via Drugs.com)
- Advil PM (Diphenhydramine & Ibuprofen) Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, which can aid in the treatment of occasional sleep problems (insomnia). Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ibuprofen works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. The combination of diphenhydramine and ibuprofen is used to treat occasional insomnia associated with minor aches and pains. (via Drugs.com)
Many “cold medications” don’t actually treat the cold, they “treat” the symptoms and add some stimulants. You are usually better off with some throat lozenges, liquids (hot tea with honey, soup, water), and rest. If symptoms don’t improve in 3-5 days (or get worse), call your health care provider.
Other things to have on hand/in the Medicine Cabinet
- Band aids/bandages
- Hydrogen peroxide (useful for cleaning minor wounds, disinfecting, and removing blood stains)
- Bactine spray similar to hydrogen peroxide, but less damaging on the tissues & it causes no pain to the recipient when applied
- Vaseline (or something similar)
- First Aid Kit and some idea of how to use it
- a hot/cold pack (similar to the Carex Bed Buddy) – these are useful for muscle aches and menstrual cramps
- a boo-boo buddy (little ice pack for kid’s scrapes & bumps, used mostly for distraction)
- a thermometer – so you know what your temperature is
- phone number for doctors, and poison control
What do you have in your medicine cabinet?
What do you find useful or helpful to do or take when you’re not feeling well?
What do you do on a regular basis to maintain your health?
Please remember, this is intended to offer people support, ideas, and resources. It is not in any way intended to be a substitute for medical advice or care. Please see a health care professional if you have concerns, especially if your concern is serious!
If there are any topics or information missing, or that you would like us to address, please leave a comment, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org