Even minor ailments and illnesses – such as colds, sore throats, diarrhoea, and headaches- can have a hugely disruptive impact on yours and your family’s life. It is always a good idea to be prepared for most common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. In this article, we look at some of the must-haves for any family medicine cabinet.
One thing that should be in every medicine cabinet is a selection of painkillers. This may include paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin. These are effective at relieving all sorts of minor pains and aches, such as headaches and period pain, and can help to bring down temperatures. These three medicines can also help to reduce the inflammation in arthritis and sprains.
Aspirin should not be given to children under the age of 16 – instead, look for specialized paracetamol for babies and children. These are particularly useful for post-vaccination fevers and teething pain.
Oral rehydration salts
If you or someone in your family is suffering from a fever, vomiting or diarrhoea – or all three, in some cases, they will begin to lose water and essential minerals, which if left untreated can lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous. If an illness means someone can’t keep down food or drink, oral rehydration salts can help to restore the body’s natural minerals and fluid balance, and aid faster recovery. These are available at any local pharmacy and many grocery stores.
Antihistamines come in the form of topical creams that you apply to the skin and tablets or capsules that are to be taken orally. These are useful for helping to deal with insect bites and stings, and rashes and itching from allergies. They can also help to control symptoms of hay fever and calm itchiness during chickenpox. However, it is important to remember that some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, so you should always ask your pharmacist about this, particularly if you need to drive or operate machinery.
Food poisoning, a stomach virus, or intolerance or allergy to a particular food can all be causes of diarrhoea. It can come on without warning, and when that happens, it can be very difficult to leave the house to seek treatment, which is why it is always a good idea to keep anti-diarrhoea medicine at home. While it will not deal with the underlying cause, these remedies can quickly get the unpleasant symptoms under control, allowing you to deal with whatever is causing it.
Basic first aid kit
As well as the medicines above, keeping a well-prepared first aid kit can help to treat minor cuts, sprains, and bruises. You may want to include
- Antiseptic wipes
- Eyewash solution
- Sterile dressings
- Medical tape
When it comes to the contents of your medicine cabinet, make sure that you always follow the directions on medicine packets and information leaflets, and never take more than the stated dose. Keep them out of reach of children and keep an eye on the expiry dates.