As much as we may put forth our best efforts to stay healthy and safe, it is always best to be prepared for the unpredictable nature of life, as well as our bodies.
Though you may not be able to always control what is going on with your body, you can control how you respond to its needs.
Take charge of your health and well-being by managing your medicine cabinet at home. Read on to learn all of the best over-the-counter remedies that you should stock up on to keep you feeling your best.
Most Common OTC Medications to Have on Hand for Your Home Pharmacy
1. Medication for Pain, Headaches, and Fevers
Pain, headaches, or fevers can spur from anything, whether it’s a sore neck from sleeping in an uncomfortable position or a migraine from a shift in the weather and pressure.
Instead of trying to fight through the throbbing headaches or sweat out a flaming fever, it is best to have some kind of medicine on hand to ease your aches and pains.
Some examples of over-the-counter medicines that will help alleviate these symptoms include Advil, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen Sodium.
2. Some Kind of Gentle Soap to Clean Wounds
It is vital that you have access to soap and water in order to clean fresh wounds and prevent infection.
While hydrogen peroxide and alcohol used to be recommended for disinfecting minor cuts and injuries, healthcare professionals now advise against this, as it can actually slow down the healing process.
Instead, they recommend running your wound under clean water and gently cleaning the surrounding area with mild soap and water. Do not put soap directly into your wound, as this could cause further pain and irritation.
3. Allergy Medication
Allergies can spur from anything as small as a little dust or pollen, but when they strike, the cold-like symptoms can leave you feeling itchy, sniffly, and irritated.
When you start to see these symptoms creeping up on you, the best medicines to have ready in your cabinet are eye drops that ease itchy eyes and antihistamines.
Keep in mind that some ingredients in allergy medications can make you sleepy, so be mindful of whether it is labeled as drowsy or non-drowsy.
4. Anti-Itch Creams and Ointments
The skin is the largest organ of our bodies, so it is essential to properly care for it.
Whether you are breaking out in hives, were bitten by a venomous insect, or are suffering from an aggressive rash, having anti-itch creams and ointments on hand helps provide you with quick relief from the oozing, itching, and burning.
Some basic creams to add to your at-home pharmacy include Calamine lotion, Antihistamine Cream, anti-fungal cream, and Cortisone.
5. Decongestants and Cough Medicine
No one likes sleepless nights of fighting to get a good breath or coughing up a lung. Decongestants and cough medicines can help clear up your sinuses so that you can finally get some shuteye.
When it comes to cough medicines, there are typically two kinds: medications for dry coughs and medications for wet coughs.
For a dry cough, look for the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. However, if your cough contains mucus, you should pick a medication that has guaifenesin, as this will help loosen the congestion.
Keep in mind that medications for colds and decongestion often contain antihistamines that can make you sleepy.
6. Cuts and Burns Medicine: Ointments and Bandages
Though we may try to avoid them at all costs, cuts and burns are a messy and inevitable part of life that we should always be prepared for.
This is why it is important that you always have the medical supplies needed to immediately tend to these wounds such as bandages and ointments, as these wounds can get infected.
First and foremost, however, it is always recommended to immediately clean your cuts and burns by running them under clean water and gently cleaning the surrounding area with mild soap and water.
After doing this, you can then protect your wound and allow it to heal by applying antibiotic ointment and covering it up with a bandage or gauze.
7. Medication for Digestion Issues
Everyone eats and uses the bathroom every day, so chances are that at one time or another, you will experience some kind of digestive discomfort.
This is why it is important to have medications on hand to ease any tummy troubles when they arise. Some medications that will serve you and your tummy well include calcium carbonate tablets to help with heartburn and an upset stomach, Simethicone for gas relief, remedies for nausea, and acid-reducing medications.
When in Doubt, See a Doctor
While it may be convenient to rummage through your medicine cabinet for the perfect antidote to your ailments, there are health issues that are too complicated to fix with a pill or bandage.
In the case of a serious injury or illness or if you are not sure what is wrong, it is always best to see a medical professional, rather than self-diagnosing and treating.
Remember that when it comes to you and your well-being, it is always better safe than sorry.