Medicine Cabinets 101: What Every Medicine Cabinet Should Have

We took a professional peek (us snoop? never!) into the medicine cabinet of a local physician mom to learn what you should keep in yours.



Photos by John O'Donnell

If you have to get sick or injured, the Harrison home of eye surgeon Dr. Jacqueline Muller is a good place to be when you do. Dr. Muller showed us what she has in her medicine cabinet and what you should consider stocking in your own to keep your family healthy and prepared for any medical emergency. Start by tossing out those
mystery pills from 1982 to make room for the following:
Benadryl Allergy
For allergy symptoms or sinus congestion. “It can be a good first line of defense, especially at bedtime,” Dr. Muller says.
 benedryl allergy medicine
 Triaminic cough syrupTriaminic
For children over two, to relieve cough and fever due to colds but only if these symptoms prevent them from sleeping.
Prescription EpiPen Auto-Injector
Can be used to administer the drug epinephrine to someone experiencing a severe allergic reaction. Says Dr. Muller: “I’d like to never find myself in a situation in which a person needs my help and I can’t provide it.”  
 Prescription EpiPen Auto-Injector
 Band-AidsClear Bandages
Good for covering a wound. Before applying, clear the area of excess dirt, clean it with hydrogen peroxide or soap and water, and then apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin.
Neosporin
This first-aid, antibiotic ointment should be applied anytime there is a break in the skin or an open wound to help decrease the risk of infection. Before applying, clear the area of excess dirt and clean it with hydrogen peroxide or soap and water. After applying, cover with a bandage if needed.
Neosporin  
Motrin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve Motrin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve
To help relieve headaches, back pain, menstrual cramps, etc. All are effective; it’s strictly a matter of personal preference.
Vicks NyQuil Cough
Keep on hand if—and only if, Dr. Muller says —a cough is keeping you awake at night, “There is a purpose to coughing,” she says. “Your body is trying to clear mucous from the chest, so you don’t want to suppress that unless it’s actually keeping you from sleeping.”
 Vicks NyQuil Cough syrup
A&D Ointment A&D Ointment
For soothing some skin rashes and irritations, even something as minor as chaffing from the elastic of a child’s waistband.
Children’s Tylenol Plus Flu
Use to ease some flu symptoms but, Dr. Muller notes, the flu has to run its course.
 Children’s Tylenol Plus Flu
 Aveeno and Benadryl CreamsAveeno and Benadryl Creams
To soothe insect bites, skin irritations, or rashes (scratching can open a wound and thus increase the risk of infection). Both are effective but, because it contains Calamine lotion, Aveeno is often the remedy of choice for chicken pox, with Benadryl frequently used for bug bites.
Children’s Motrin
“If my kids are sick with fever and lying around like lumps on a log, Children’s Motrin perks them up in about twenty minutes,” Dr. Muller says. “But if a child has a low-grade fever, you may not necessarily want to reduce his temperature if he is comfortable. Like coughing, there is a purpose to fever: it’s one of the body’s mechanisms to help fight infection.”
 Children’s Motrin
 Children’s Benadryl AllergyChildren’s Benadryl Allergy
In its liquid form, this is a good decongestant alternative for kids who don’t like to take pills. “One of my children used to have trouble with her ears while flying,” Dr. Muller says. “Our pediatrician recommended using a decongestant prior to boarding. This is a particularly good choice if you want a child to be a little bit drowsy on the plane rather than all wound up.”
Sterile Pads
A gauze center with bandage adhesive surrounding it on all four sides gives better coverage of certain wounds.
 Sterile Pads
rubbing alcohol Rubbing Alcohol
Swabbing a needle with rubbing alcohol will sterilize it so that it can be used to remove pesky splinters.

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