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You’ll never know when an illness will strike. While it’s true that some rest will usually help to make you feel better, sometimes you’ll need more than that, especially when you don’t have enough time to get lots of that much-needed rest. In cases like this, taking medicines will be your best option to speed up the process. This is also why it’s ideal to have medications ready at home, especially because illnesses often happen when we least expect it, and sometimes, buying medicines can be difficult when you’re badly in need and there are no drug stores nearby.
When you have a properly stocked medicine cabinet at home, anytime you feel a headache coming on, your pain relief is only a few steps away. It’s also helpful for first aid treatments of emergency cases while waiting for a full medical treatment, which can sometimes be miles away.
However, when you plan to stock up your medicine cabinet, remember to always make note of the expiration dates. This is important because your medical supplies will sometimes be unused for long periods of time, so keeping track of these dates will tell you when something should be replaced already. To learn more about the shelf lives of drug products, see this website.
Now, to help you fill up your cabinet, listed below are the must-have medicines that you should add to your list:
Must-Have Medicines At Home
1. Analgesics (Pain Relievers)
Pain is the most common ailment that everyone will have to deal with every now and then. Although it’s a symptom and not exactly an illness, it’s something that can usually be addressed at home.
If you feel any acute mild to moderate pain, like headaches, toothaches, or body pain, pain relievers to manage your discomfort. However, if the pain doesn’t disappear or becomes worse, it’s important that you consult your doctor right away to find out what’s causing it. Chronic pain and severe pain that’s unbearable are urgent cases that need immediate medical attention.
When taking pain relievers, always make sure to check the recommended dosage for your age or body weight. If you have children who may need pain relief, or if you’re not sure what the proper dose should be, check with your doctor first before anything else.
Examples: ibuprofen, aspirin, paracetamol, acetaminophen
2. Antihistamines (Anti-Allergies)
Allergies can be life-threatening in extreme cases. If there’s a member of your family who has a history of allergies, making sure you have antihistamines in your medicine box would be helpful in emergency cases.
Sometimes, allergies may also occur suddenly and if it’s the first time, it’s often difficult to find out what caused it. Allergic reactions may be triggered by insect bites, pollen, and exposure to certain types of food, medicine, and plants.
The most common symptoms are hives, itching, and rashes. In extreme cases, an anaphylactic reaction ensues, which is characterized by swelling of the face and difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening as the swelling can eventually obstruct the airways, which can happen quickly. This is why antihistamines should be given as soon as you see the first signs of an allergic reaction. Here are some must-have medicines for allergies.
Examples: cetirizine, loratadine, diphenhydramine, fexofenadine
Even outside the cold season, you may still get colds, although likely less often. The problem when you have colds is you can easily pass them to your family members. This is why as soon as someone in your household gets colds, it should be treated immediately to reduce the risks of spreading.
When you get a clogged or stuffy nose from colds, decongestants can be your best friend. They’re also helpful in relieving the symptoms of sinusitis and mild allergies.
Examples: phenylephrine, oxymetazoline, pseudoephedrine
4. Antipyretics (Fever Medicines)
Fever often happens abruptly, and is sometimes the earliest sign of something more serious, like an infection. While everyone might try to stay healthy by having enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating nutritious meals, there are illnesses that may still come unexpectedly.
For mild to moderate fever, antipyretics may help decrease temperature. However, when your fever is too high (above 40°C) or doesn’t subside with medication, seek proper medical treatment immediately. Fever is one of our body’s defenses that help fight off infection. However, when the temperature becomes too high, it may lead to febrile seizures, which may harm the brain in extreme cases.
Examples: ibuprofen, aspirin, paracetamol, acetaminophen
5. Antacids (Acid Blockers)
Heartburns can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when you just had a delicious meal. But before you head out to the hospital, if your discomfort is only mild to moderate, taking some antacids may help relieve your symptoms.
However, you should note that various antacids might affect you differently. Aluminum-based antacids may cause constipation, while magnesium-based antacids might cause diarrhea. If heartburn is a discomfort you often experience, it’ll be best to consult with your doctor to find more long-term treatment options. Here are some must-have medicines for blocking acids.
Examples: magnesium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, aluminum hydroxide
6. Wound Ointments
Accidents and injuries are the most common reasons to get a first aid kit because they happen unexpectedly. That being said, your must-have medicine cabinet should always have an ointment for common injuries from accidents like cuts and scrapes.
After cleaning the wound with soap and running water, applying an antibiotic ointment will help keep it protected against potential infection.
However, if the wound is too big, or is bleeding profusely even after applying pressure, call for emergency medical treatment. Wounds that don’t seem to heal or show signs of infection after a few days such as redness and swelling also require urgent medical attention.
Examples: bacitracin, mupirocin, gentamicin
A well-stocked medicine cabinet will always come in handy for unexpected medical issues and emergencies. Just don’t forget to keep track of the expiration dates. Keeping an eye on potential signs of complications is also important so you know when you need to see a doctor.