Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Medicine Cabinet 101: What You Need to Know

Your medicine cabinet isn’t something you probably think about often. However, it's one of the most important parts of any home, and failing to take care of it could lead to serious consequences. Here’s what you should know about your medicine cabinet in order to stay safe and healthy.

According to the National Health Service, basic supplies you should keep stocked in your medicine cabinet include:

Pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen
Antihistamine tablets and creams to treat allergies and insect bites
Bandages, sterile dressings and tape in a variety of sizes for cuts, sprains and other injuries
Antiseptic to clean cuts
A thermometer to check for fever
Tweezers to remove splinters
Eyewash solution to dislodge dirt, grit and other eye irritants

While this is just a basic list, your pharmacist can help you determine other products you should have on hand based on your family’s individual needs. Don't be afraid to ask your local pharmacist for tips and advice when it comes to your medication!

Despite what most people may assume, your medicine cabinet isn’t necessarily the best place to store your prescriptions, which are best kept in a cool, dry place. Medicine cabinets are typically not suggested because of the moisture and humidity in the bathroom. However, your medicine cabinet is a great place to stock any of the supplies listed above.

When it comes to disposing of medication, it’s important to check all of your items regularly for expiration dates. Even common over-the-counter items such as pain reliever, antihistamine, antiseptic and eyewash solution should be disposed of in a proper manner. There are several ways to safely dispose of medication:

Medicine take-back programs are a good way to dispose of medicines, according to the FDA. Check Dispose My Meds for help with locating a drug disposal program in your area.

Flushing your medicines is acceptable in some cases, but not always. Check with your pharmacist about whether your medication may be safely flushed.

 If no other means of disposal is available or appropriate, you can mix medicines with something that is unappealing, such as kitty litter, dirt or used coffee grounds, and put the mixture in a sealed plastic bag before throwing it away. Always make sure you remove the labeling on any empty pill bottles or packaging before disposing of the container to ensure privacy.

If you’re looking for more helpful hints to stay safe with your medications and supplies, check out the free FamilyWize 10th Anniversary eBook. It's a great way to ensure you're staying smart when it comes to your medications, and is written by an expert pharmacist with over three decades of experience.

And don’t forget to use your FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card when purchasing your medications! The card is free to all consumers, insured and uninsured, has no eligibility requirements, and features unlimited use. Showing the card to your pharmacist when you pick up your prescription guarantees you'll get the lowest price - last year, users of the FamilyWize card saved an average of 42%. Print out a card today by going to FamilyWize.org, order one by calling 1-800-222-2818, or download the free app available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phones!

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