Last Updated on January 29, 2021
Every house should have a medicine cabinet. The latter is a place where you can find all kinds of over the counter medications to treat or alleviate the symptoms of those annoying minor health issues.
Because even if they’re minor, they can make you feel extremely uncomfortable from time to time. We are talking about headaches, small burns, or an upset stomach, for example.
The problem is that people often do not know what kind of medication they should have nor how to take it. To solve this latter problem, you have to read the package leaflet very carefully and follow the instructions given.
This article aims to help you solve the other problem. So, here are X essential over the counter medications you should always have!
1. First aid kit
Usually, this emergency kit is taken out of the medicine cabinet in case of minor accidents and injuries. A basic kit should contain:
– Sterile gauze dressings
– Disposable sterile gloves
– Sticky tape
– Cleansing wipes
– Antiseptic cream
– Distilled water
Although we live in the digital era, and you can access all kinds of information with your Smartphone, having a physical first aid manual can help you a lot.
In case of an accident, having to grab your Smartphone and do a specific search on Google while you are highly stressed might be extremely difficult. The manual will make things easier and teach you how to deal with the situation in a simple manner. Besides, you know for a fact that was written by a credible source.
Additional tip: it’s probably a good idea to keep an extra first aid kit in your car.
2. Fever, headaches, general pain
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is widely used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation. It’s a cheap and highly effective drug that everyone should have access to. In some cases, Ibuprofen may cause heartburn, a rash, and stomach problems. Other rarer side effects include increased risk of heart, kidney, and liver failure.
This is probably the most famous painkiller in the world. Just like Ibuprofen, Aspirin is also an NSAID, which means that you can also use it to treat inflammation. People use it to deal with all kinds of situations: muscle aches and pain, back pain, headaches, period pains, arthritis, fever, and even to prevent a stroke!
Warning: children, teens, and people who are about to undergo surgery can’t take this medicine.
If you want to reduce fever, Acetaminophen is a great alternative to the two medicines mentioned above. It can also be combined with other medications for additional pain relief. Just make sure you don’t overuse it since it can damage your liver or even lead to death.
Additional tip: you probably don’t need to have all these three medicines in your cabinet. Choose the one that works best for you and keep it in stock all the time!
3. Allergy Medicine
People who suffer from allergies know that antihistamines are true lifesavers in case of an aggressive allergic reaction. The only problem is the sleepiness these medications cause – don’t take an antihistamine before doing a task that requires full focus!
• Eye drops
Itchy, red eyes are probably the most irritating symptom of allergies. Unless you want to spend the whole day scratching your watery eyes, you need eye drops in your medicine cabinet.
4. Colds: congestion and cough
• Cough medicine
As you know, there are two different types of cough. A dry, hacking cough, and one that produces a kind of mucus. These are treated with different medicines, so it might be worth having one of each in your cabinet: a cough suppressant (to treat dry cough) and an expectorant (to loosen the cough’s mucus).
Please remember that coughing is a normal response of the body to clear the airway, so you should only take medicine if, for example, you are having trouble falling asleep because you are always coughing.
You know those times when the nose is so congested that it even causes breathing problems? It can be really annoying. Fortunately, there are a lot of decongestants that can drain the mucous and alleviate your stuffy nose.
Whether you prefer a nasal spray, pills, or nose drops, please make sure you have a decongestant in your house, especially during springtime.
5. Digestive issues
Antacids are a type of medicine used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion. Alumina hydroxide is a naturally occurring mineral and one of the most popular antacids that neutralize the acid content of the stomach to make you feel better.
If you need to take medications for your stomach often, you should discuss this issue with your doctor.
6. Skin issues
• Antiseptic cream
We already mentioned that you should always have an antiseptic cream in your first aid kit. This medicine is used to reduce the risk of infection from a cut, bite, or scrap, which is essential. Even a minor wound can be a huge problem from your health if it becomes infected.
• Antihistamine cream
Antihistamine creams can relieve aggressive itching caused by bites or other skin patches. This is a must-have from everybody that lives in a tropical region, where there are a lot of mosquitoes all year round.
It is important to note that if the symptoms are aggressive or long-lasting (and do not go away with over the counter medication), you should always go to the emergency room and explain your situation to a doctor.
More often than not, your body needs some help to overcome problems such as bacterial infections, for example – and you can’t buy antibiotic medications without a prescription. Or you might be dealing with a more severe illness that needs to be correctly diagnosed and treated. Either way, don’t think that you can treat everything at home!
Lastly, don’t forget to check and update your medicine cabinet. It would help if you did it at least once a year, to get rid of expired medicines and to renew the stock of those that are about to run out.