10 Medicine Cabinet Essentials

well-stocked medicine cabinet

When it comes to first aid in the home, be prepared with a well-stocked medicine cabinet. If you need to treat an illness or injury, you will have all the basics on hand to help yourself or others.

Before you head to the drugstore, take an inventory of your medicine cabinet and what’s currently on your shelves. This is a good opportunity to clear your medicine cabinet of old prescriptions and expired products. Make this a habit and try to do this every three months. Find a local center near you that can properly dispose of old medication. Some grocery stores or community centers offer this service annually. By doing this, you won’t have to worry about how long that bottle of pink liquid has been sitting on your shelf the next time you have a sudden stomach ache.

Remember: Always follow dosage instructions as indicated on medication packaging.

Medications and first aid supplies to have on hand at all times

The following medicine cabinet supplies can treat a range of illnesses and minor injuries, from allergies and stomach aches to cut, bruises, aches and pains.

1. Emergency instructions

Tape a list of important phone numbers (doctors, Poison Control), medication instructions and allergy alerts inside the cabinet door.

2. Acetaminophen and an NSAID

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce inflammation related to conditions like backaches and toothaches. Be aware of NSAID sensitivity in your family, especially in young children.

3. Aspirin

Aspirin works as a pain reliever for adults, but it’s also important to have on hand in case of emergencies. According to the American Heart Association, taking aspirin also helps during a heart attack. In fact, people having a heart attack are often given an aspirin by emergency medical services. However, it’s wise to be aware of aspirin sensitivity in your family, and it should never be given to children under 18.

4. Antihistamine

Antihistamines treat hives, itching and allergic reactions from a wide range of causes. Stock both oral antihistamines (the liquid or pill form that may be helpful during a serious allergic reaction) and hydrocortisone cream.

5. Decongestant, cough suppressant and flu relief medicine

You won’t want to leave home to go to the drugstore when you’re feeling lousy, so keep cold and flu relief medication on hand.

6. Antacids

If you are suffering from heartburn, these are your best bet for quick relief.

7. Antibiotic ointment

Apply this after you’ve washed cuts and scrapes with warm water and soap, then cover the wound with clean bandages.

8. Bandages

Stock up on adhesive bandages of all sizes, plus plenty of gauze and sterile tape.

9. Thermometer

Feeling someone’s forehead may be a good first step, but a thermometer is necessary for an accurate temperature reading.

10. Heat and ice packs

Keep several of these on hand, as they can provide relief for everything from headaches and sprains to injuries and sore muscles.

Staying healthy and safe is everyone’s concern. But if someone gets injured on your property, you’ll need more protection than what’s available in your emergency medicine cabinet. Make sure you’re covered with personal umbrella liability coverage from Nationwide, which may help protect you beyond your homeowners insurance coverage limits.