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Q: What items should be in a well-stocked medicine cabinet?

Posted August 14, 2013 in Advice Column, Ankeny

A: A well-stocked medicine cabinet can help you avoid trips to the pharmacy or even your doctor’s office. In addition to emergency supplies for cuts, scrapes and burns, you should include products to help lessen the symptoms of common health issues such as headaches, coughs, colds,  upset stomach, constipation, etc.

Other recommendations include adhesive bandages in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sterile gauze and medical tape are needed for larger cuts and scrapes. Antiseptics — two common ones are hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, which kill bacteria on contact, muscle cream and heating pads or wraps to ease score muscles or back pain, nail clippers to keep nails healthy and free from infection, tweezers for removing everything from unwanted hairs to splinters or even ticks, dental floss to help you remove plaque from between teeth and from under the gum line, calibrated medicine spoon to ensure accurate medicine dosing, thermometer (non-mercury) — ask your pharmacist for a recommendation on which type is best for your family and emergency phone numbers for police, fire and rescue and the local poison control center.

Annually do a cleaning and inventory of what’s in your medicine cabinet. Dispose of products that are past their expiration date or are damaged, missing labels or cannot be identified. To ensure maximum effectiveness of products, store these items in a dark, cool place like a kitchen cabinet instead of the bathroom which is often high in humidity.

Information provided by Jennifer Meurer, Pharm.D., Medicap Pharmacy, 107 N.E. Delaware, Suite 6, 964-8550.

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