10 Must-Haves for Your Medicine Cabinet

These items can help you feel better, whether you’re treating an illness or an injury.

Quick, name what’s in your medicine cabinet. After the initial tinge of worry about how long that scary-looking pink liquid has been in there, you probably would have a hard time remembering what’s in there. And chances are you won’t think about it again … until you need something in a hurry.

So plan ahead. Here are 10 things to have on hand at all times.* Keep an eye on expiration dates, watch dosages and store medicine out of the reach of children.

1. Acetaminophen and an NSAID. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce inflammation related to conditions like backaches and toothaches.

2. Aspirin. Sure, it’s a pain reliever, but chewing on asprin while waiting for an ambulance is also recommended to anyone who might be having a heart attack.

3. Antihistamine. It treats hives and itching caused by just about anything. Stock both oral antihistamines (the liquid form may come in handy during a serious allergic reaction) and hydrocortisone cream.

4. Decongestant, cough suppressant and flu relief medicine. Save a trip to the drugstore when you’re feeling lousy by having cold and flu relief on hand.

5. Antacids. If you’re tossing and turning from heartburn, these are your best bet for relief.

6. Antibiotic ointment. This medicine is key for after you’ve washed cuts and scrapes with warm water and soap, and before you apply bandages.

7. Bandages. Stock up on adhesive bandages, gauze and sterile tape, etc., when they’re on sale. You know you’ll need them eventually.

8. Digital thermometer. Get a more accurate reading than feeling someone’s forehead.

9. Heat and ice packs. These are good to have on hand to provide relief for muscle pains and injuries.

10. Emergency instructions list. Tape essential phone numbers (doctors, Poison Control) and instructions and allergy alerts inside the cabinet door.

* Before taking any medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

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