Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is Your Medicine Cabinet Healthy?

Tips for Tuesday

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet is just the beginning. Keeping it safe is another. Periodically review your medicine cabinet (about every six months) and sort through what you have.

• Discard expired medications. (The best way is to take them to a hazardous waste collection so they don’t get into your town's water supply.) If you can't find an expiration date, but you've had the medicine for at least two years, discard it. Chemical changes over time can change the effectiveness of medications, and even make you seriously ill.
• Discard any prescription medications you have not taken in over a year. These also have a limited shelf life and can undergo chemical changes.
• Discard any medication without a label.
• Discard old toothbrushes
• Discard rusty nail clippers, tweezers, etc.
• Place often-used items near the bottom of the cabinet, and less-used items at the top.
• Place bottles and boxes with labels outward so you can easily locate what you need.
• If more than one person uses the medicine cabinet, store each person's prescription items on a different shelf. With prescription bottles from the same pharmacy all looking identical, one can easily grab the wrong bottle in the middle of the night and take the wrong tablets if they look similar to their own.
• Call your pharmacy for refills of prescription items when you notice you are down to about five pills. The pharmacy will have it ready for you on time, even if they have to order it from their supplier or call your physician for refills. Never wait until you take the last pill.
• Use plastic cups or containers for small items such as ointment tubes, cotton swabs and nail clippers.
• Store like items together--hair care, skin care, etc.
• Discard any cosmetics over a year old.

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