Get your Medicine Cabinet ready for a chilly winter!
I wish I didn’t have to say it, but here’s the deal – Winter is coming. We have yet to find a way around it, though many have tried. Every Fall at the first hint of cold weather, my husband and a friend swear they are moving to the Equator. But short of such hemispheric and drastic solutions, winter is inevitable. Some parts of the country get off easy, I know, but here in Chicago? Not so much.
The natural progression of “cold weather is coming” is that with cold weather occasionally comes colds, flu and other bugs to make us feel crummy. And NOW – while it’s not cold out and you’re feeling quite fine! – is the best time to prepare for cold and flu season.
A texted conversation with my friend in Myrtle Beach last week (she’s fine after the hurricane) mentioned that Hurricane Prep and Waiting is like a giant blizzard but no snow and great weather. All the schools, offices and businesses are closed, so once you have battened down the hatches, you sit around and relax until the rain and wind begin.
Doesn’t that sound like a better way to handle cold and flu season, too? Plan ahead, batten down the hatches, and then relax a bit for whatever life sends you.
Gather up everything!
Take a basket and go to all the usual places in your home where you stash medications and supplies. Medicine cabinet, of course, but also: linen closets; kitchen cabinets; the other bathrooms; bedroom dressers and night stands, etc. Once you’ve gathered everything up…
Sort it all Out!
Sort your medications into categories. Cold and Flu, Digestive Health, Vitamins, Aches and Pains, First Aid, Prescriptions, etc. After you’ve sorted it all…
Purge the Old or Icky Stuff.
Check your expiration dates, and handle some quality control. Remember, medicine and medications exist to make us feel better. Using old or outdated medicines invites the potential for ineffectiveness or even unexpected side effects.
Saturday, October 28, 2017 (Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 when orginally published!!) is National Take Back Day, so if you have outdated medications to purge, check this link to the DEA website, and find an prescription medication Take Back event in your area.
Put Your Medicine and Supplies Away in a way that makes sense.
Consider who will use certain items, where you will use them, and what needs to be kept out of reach of children. Also, prolonged heat and moisture can damage medicines, so DO NOT store medications long term in the bathroom or on the kitchen window sill.
We use a plastic basket in the hall linen closet to store most of our medicines for the Cold and Flu Season. The basket is easy to access when someone is feeling poorly, and gets tucked back away when we’re done. The basket keeps things together, and makes any spills easy to clean up, too, so we don’t have a large shelf with dozens of small bottles toppling every which way (which I see in houses often!).
In some homes, the medications are kept in a kitchen cabinet. This works just fine, too, however still invest in a basket or two, to keep things together and save shelf space.
Finally, Stock Up:
Add missing items to your grocery list now, so when you really need cough medicine in the middle of the night, you don’t have to run out to the pharmacy. Here is a comprehensive list of suggested medications and items from Real Simple (“Medicine Cabinet Essentials Checklist”), plus a few items I added:
- Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol)
- Ibuprofen (such as Advil and Motrin)
For Congestion, Colds, and Coughs
- Cough medicine
- Decongestant (such as Sudafed or Dristan)
- Throat lozenges For Allergies and Itching
- Antihistamine (such as Benadryl)
- Hydrocortisone cream (for persistent itching)
- Calamine lotion
For Digestive Issues
- Antacids (in tablet or liquid form)
- Antidiarrheal treatment
For Cuts and Burns
- Gauze, bandages, and medical tape
- Antiseptic for wound cleaning (such as hydrogen peroxide)
- Antibiotic ointment for preventing infections from wounds
- Aloe vera gel
- Antifungal creams (athlete’s foot relief)
Tissues, boxes and personal pocket packs
So clean out and stock up this week, while you’re feeling great and the weather is fine! You will thank yourself later!
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