Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What every medicine cabinet needs

Here in D.C., we are slowly starting to thaw from what my friends on Facebook have been calling "snowmageddon" or the "snowpocolypse." We haven't had this much snow in DC for over 100 years!
Today's Washington Post had an interesting article entitled "What Every Medicine Cabinet Needs." Because traffic around the Beltway is normally horrible, we in the DC Metro area run to raid the local grocery store at the first sign of snow. However, a stop at the pharmacy isn't usually considered since it generally doesn't snow that much here. However, this latest winter blast found many stuck in their houses for days, unable to get to a store or pharmacy. Some pharmacies shut down. All of this leading to the Post's question in preparation for the next blizzard. They asked a few local docs and here's what they came up with:
Hydrogen peroxide
Neti Pot
Vicks VapoRub
Plan B

While I think the list is a good start, I might change or get rid of some and add a few. Here's my list.
Neosporin and Bandages- both useful in case of cuts and scrapes
Rubbing alcohol -prefer this over hydrogen peroxide, but either probably OK
Benadryl - a life saver in case of a severe allergic reaction. Also, before Ambien, this is what we used for insomnia.
Tylenol-good for fever, headache
Naproxen (Alleve)- though also good for fever and pain, slightly better than Tylenol for menstrual cramps and muscle pain (that one might get from shovelling 2 feet of snow). Also, for high fevers, you can take both naproxen and Tylenol. Aspirin is not a great pain reliever because at true anti-inflammatory doses, it can cause side effects, which is why it's not on my list. Though aspirin can prevent heart attacks, if you are at high risk (diabetes, high blood pressure) you should be on a baby aspirin every day, and this would be part of your regular meds and not something in the back of the cabinet.
Decongestant- I would ditch the Robitussin and Vaporub from the Post's list. These do absolutely nothing. Neti pots are OK for allergies, but unless you are a regular user, no need to keep one around. If you get a cold or congestion, or even a cough which is usually caused by post nasal drip and congestion, decongestants work great. If you can, get the pseudoephredrine that's behind the counter.
Dextromethorphan. Robitussin or guaifenessin doesn't do much, but dextromethorphan which is the DM in Robitussin DM works great on coughs. Delsym is DM strait up and tastes good too!
Antacids- Tums are OK, but now that Prilosec is OTC, I would have some of these on hand. That frozen pizza you are stuck eating during a snowstorm could cause bad heartburn.
Laxatives- constipation can be quite uncomfortable. Though increased fluids and high fiber foods might help, it's always good to have a laxative on hand. My preference is Miralax.
Hydrocortisone cream 1%-eczema is common in the winter, and lots of things can irritate the skin, which a cortisone cream will fix.


Unknown said...

Thanks for your list Dr Mintz. I do disagree with your comment regarding use of a decongestants instead of a neti pot, as use of a neti pot is a much better alternative and has NO side affects

first aid training said...

Nice share,Thanks for the post.Specially for including terminology and the use of medicine products.Great list to have a useful medicine cabinet in case of emergency.