Monday, January 9, 2012
New Year, New Medicine Chest
One of the first things I do each year is make sure that we have our emergency first aid/medical kit in order. I go through and pull out everything and wipe clean the inside of the box or cabinet that we're using.
Step two? Since everything's been pulled out, I sort through things and throw out anything expired. Most prescription meds have an expiration date on them. For items such as some over the counter medications or first aid ointments that don't have an expiration date, I toss out anything older than one year old - especially if it's been opened. Items such as bandaids and sealed packages of gauze can last longer, so I tend to leave those alone.
And now that I've sorted through things, I can figure out what I need. Your needs will differ depending on whether you have children or elderly relatives living with you, what medical conditions various family members may have, and so on. Here is what we keep on hand at home:
- gauze, bandages, tape and blunt scissors
- cotton swabs and balls
- arnica cream (good for aches and pains - do not use on broken skin!)
- benadryl and an epi-pen (I have both food and environmental allergies, so these are a must!)
- cortisone cream
- calamine lotion
- eye cup and eye wash
- rubbing alcohol
- oral thermometer
- acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- ginger tea bags or crystallized ginger (anti-nausea -great for folks like me who are allergic to Peptobismol)
- herbal wound cleansing solution
- aloe vera gel (good for burns and if you have fair-skinned people in your household, it's a must for sun exposure!)
- blister stick
- small reserve of prescription meds that might be needed in emergency by anyone in household (examples: extra asthma inhaler, reserve supply of my great-aunt's heart and thyroid medications, etc..)
- small flashlight
Some folks keep both a home emergency kit and a portable one. It's a good idea to include a list of all household members' allergies and medical conditions in that kit in case you need to call emergency personnel. When help arrives, you can hand them the list and it's a big help.
NOTE: It's important to keep emergency kits somewhere dry and away from extremes in temperature. Keeping it under the bathroom sink will subject it to a lot of temperature and humidity variations and contents may spoil.
So, do you have your emergency kit prepared?
Linking up to Homemaker's Challenge HERE