Sedative Meds

Checklist: 8 mistakes of your first aid kit

Everyone has medicines at home – there may be more or less of them, but some of them are probably unnecessary or expired. It also happens that there seem to be a lot of drugs, but it is not possible to find the right one, and it is difficult to remember which one is intended for what. We have compiled a checklist that will help you to put things in order in the first aid kit and stop making mistakes that are dangerous to your health. 


You store medicines in the refrigerator door

A number of medicines need to be stored at a low temperature – usually 2-8 degrees, that is, just in the refrigerator range. The problem is that the temperature in the door is often slightly higher; in addition, it constantly fluctuates due to opening and closing. So it is better to allocate a separate place for medicines on the shelf. Do not move the first-aid kit to the back wall – liquid preparations can freeze there, which in most cases is fatal for them. It is also recommended to put medicines in an airtight container – this will protect against temperature extremes and excess moisture.  

If the package says “store at room temperature”, it is understood that it is not higher than 25 degrees – for such drugs, a short period of storage is usually allowed at a higher temperature (up to 30 degrees). That is, if in the summer the heat went off scale for a couple of days, it is not necessary to throw out the entire first-aid kit, but you should not systematically keep it by the battery.

Finally, it is undesirable to store medicines in the bathroom – it is too humid environment for them. It is also quite difficult to find an adequate place in the kitchen – there may be high humidity or temperature drops near the oven and microwave. It is best to choose a location in a room or hallway.


You throw away the packaging

If the expiration date is usually applied to the label of the bottle or each blister with tablets, then other important information may not fit – and remains only in the instructions for the drug and on the carton. As a result, you find a medicine with a well-known name in the first-aid kit, make sure that it is not expired – but you don’t remember how to take it, before or after meals. Sometimes you need to re-read the instructions to make sure that this is the same tool you are looking for, and not another with a similar name.

Manufacturers of hormonal contraceptives have recently been trying to include detailed instructions on what to do when skipping a pill, not only in the insert text: a clear scheme of actions is applied directly to the cardboard part of the blister, which cannot be accidentally thrown away.

Nevertheless, it is very easy to lose the instructions for most drugs, so it is better not to separate the medicine, packaging and insert from the very beginning. For syrups, drops, liquids in ampoules, the cardboard box also performs a protective function: these drugs become unusable under the influence of light. So if you know that you will definitely be too lazy to google the instructions for use, do not rush to part with the paper version.

MEDICINES IS AT EVERYONE’S AT HOME – there may be more or less of them, but among them there are probably unnecessary or expired ones. It also happens that there seem to be a lot of drugs, but it is not possible to find the right one, and it is difficult to remember which one is intended for what. We have compiled a checklist that will help you put things in order in your first aid kit and stop making mistakes that are dangerous to your health. 


You don’t keep track of expiration dates

The shelf life of medicines is indicated for a closed package – and the instructions usually write how long the medicine can be used after you open it. Of course, tablets in a sealed blister will not do anything even in a year, but drops for eyes or nose become simply dangerous in a month – bacteria multiply in them. Sometimes they talk about three months, and in general it depends on the composition of the medicine and the content of preservatives in it. For those who constantly use moisturizing eye drops, it is better to purchase new bottles at least once a month.    

Sometimes package provides only a month and year, without an exact date – and a shelf life in different countries interpret differently . According to Russian rules, the expiration date is the interval until the first day of the specified month, and in the European Union it is the last day. For example, a drug with a shelf life of up to 11.2017, purchased in Russia, can be used until October 31 of this year, inclusive, and brought from Europe until November 30. 


You underestimate the ability of children

From year to year, on medicines and household chemicals, they write “store in places inaccessible to children” – and the flow of panic calls to the ambulance does not stop due to the fact that the child has swallowed an unknown pill. This is another argument in favor of storing drugs in packages: if the drug ends up in children’s hands in a box, it is a little more difficult to get to the contents, and you have more time to notice it and take away the “toy”. And even if the child nevertheless discovered and swallowed something , you will know what kind of remedy it was, and doctors will not have to speculate.

Still, it is better to prevent such situations. The first-aid kit should be truly inaccessible to children: the box should be placed at a decent height and locked with a key (not sticking out in the keyhole) or a complex latch. Children’s medicines or vitamins in the form of gummies are also dangerous. Yes, it is easier to give a chewing bear to a child who does not want to take a pill – but if the baby wants to treat himself to “sweets”, having reached the package on his own, the consequences can be tragic.


You throw away your medications
as needed.

The environmentally friendly and safe disposal of medicines is a serious problem, which, unfortunately, is not yet being addressed in our country . In many countries, expired or unnecessary medicines can simply be brought to the clinic, pharmacy or special collection point – they know what to do next. But while this is not possible, it is in our power to at least maximally protect others from potential harm.  

Only completely water-soluble drugs can be thrown into the sewer system – there are not so many of them, and the rest are very harmful to the environment and end up in natural water reservoirs. Therefore, all that remains is to throw the drugs into the trash bin; it is best to put them in an opaque bag or resealable jar and seal them tightly. You can put something clearly inedible in the same bag – a used diaper or cat litter. This will save animals, birds and possibly people from eating and poisoning drugs.

Another option is to try giving medicines to those in need immediately after you have finished taking the course. There are communities on the internet where you can donate drugs to those who cannot afford them.


You haven’t disassembled a first aid kit for a long time

When there are a lot of medicines, but you cannot find the right one right away, there is a reason to disassemble the first-aid kit. In general, it makes sense to do this at least once a year: we often do not notice how unnecessary or old drugs accumulate. You should definitely throw out expired medications and any pills that have fallen out of blisters or vials, even if you think you know exactly what it is. Liquid preparations – syrups, solutions for injections, gels, creams and ointments – should be thrown away if they change color, stratify, or visible particles appear in the solution.

In principle, for self-treatment at home, a small set of drugs is enough – these are anti-inflammatory and analgesics from the NSAID group, antihistamine, something from diarrhea, means for replenishing the balance of fluid and salts with diarrhea and vomiting. At home it is worth keeping an antiseptic, plasters and something from burns – although in case of a burn, first of all, you need to place the affected area under cold water for about fifteen minutes. The rest of the contents of the home first aid kit is formed as needed and prescribed by the doctor.  


You hold on to “old school” funds

It would be strange to boil glass syringes before each use in our time – after all, they have long been replaced by disposable ones. But it is not always possible to refuse other means familiar from childhood – such is the force of habit. However, instead of fiddling with cotton wool and alcohol, you can use individually wrapped alcohol wipes to disinfect before the injection. In addition, they are safer than a bottle of alcohol, which can get into the hands of a child. Instead of green and iodine in bottles that leave no chance not to get dirty, the same means in the form of felt-tip pens have long been invented – not to mention the fact that instead of green it is better to use other antiseptics, more convenient and no less effective.   

If you have been taking the same medications for years, for example, for episodes of allergies, but have not talked about it with your doctor for a long time, it is quite possible that something more effective and with less pronounced undesirable effects has appeared during this time. Finally, if medications are taken chronically and do not help, then maybe they simply do not suit you, and you need to be examined and clarify the diagnosis. For example, migraines , although accompanied by headaches, are not treated with pain relievers at all. 


You buy extra medicines

Endless dietary supplements, interferons “for raising immunity”, stocks of antibiotics – at best, such a first-aid kit is useless, and at worst dangerous. Homeopathy doesn’t work, ” detox ” can be harmful – and worst of all, trying to treat with such means takes time, which is important for a timely examination, determination of the diagnosis and initiation of a full-fledged treatment. “Miraculous” nutritional supplements benefit only their creators – and even then financially.   

Try to limit your first aid kit to only the most essential tools and remember the principles of evidence-based medicine, at least for common illnesses like the common cold – it does not need to be treated at all . It is not worth spending money on “antiviral” drugs for the treatment of influenza – while the only effective preventive measure remains vaccination against this virus. 

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