Is Your Medicine Cabinet Pandemically Prepared? Take A Few Steps Now, And Minimize Risk Later…
When reading this headline, it may seem at first glance like we’re being paranoid, or maybe even a bit…overdramatic… by suggesting that you take stock of what’s in your medicine supplies with COVID in mind.
Hear us out though- we’re not suggesting you run out and buy survival gear for the zombie apocalypse, we’re simply saying that a few extra things can be really helpful later on, and by revisiting your supplies, you’ll be prepared for a lot more than just a little ol’ pandemic.
Step One: Clear Out And Organize
Regardless of the circumstances, chances are we could all stand to clear out the old stuff in our medicine cabinets and restock with essentials. Don’t forget to:
Check Expiration Dates
Generally speaking, things like antibiotic ointments, topical pain relievers, OTC pain relievers, digestive aids, and similar products aren’t necessarily dangerous to use after the expiration dates, it’s just likely their potency has reduced over time and they won’t be as effective.
The same is true with prescription drugs. Most prescription drugs display a dispensing date, but no expiration date. Rule of thumb is within one or two years of the dispensing date is when the medication will begin to lose its potency.
If you’ve got expired liquid antibiotics or other compounded medications, toss them immediately after their expiration dates. These kinds of medications degrade in effectiveness quickly, are tailored and/or mixed to your specifications, making them potentially harmful if taken by anyone else.
Old prescriptions should be disposed of carefully. Click here for a handy reference provided by the EPA on guidelines for how to safely dispose of your prescriptions.
Step Two: Start With The Everyday Essentials
Stock up on supplies like:
- Calamine lotion
- Band-aids and/or gauze pads with surgical tape
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Pepto Bismol/Kaopectate
These are just some suggestions, consult your doctor if you have a specialized medical condition- he or she may recommend extras. For instance, if you have heart problems, your doctor may suggest that you keep plenty of chewable aspirin on hand for emergencies.
Step 3: Things For “The New Normal”
The ubiquitous face mask or covering
Make sure everyone in your household has one, keep a few on hand in case friends or visitors drop by without one, keep a few in your car, one in your bag, wherever is handy when and where you need it.
Just like your reading glasses. If you wear reading glasses, you’ll know what we mean.
Hand sanitizer and/or wipes
There are a couple of reasons to read your labels here:
- It should contain a minimum of 60% alcohol
You may already have these in your medkit at home, but if not, they’re extra insurance when you head out for the grocery store or wherever you need to go. They’ll give you peace of mind at the grocery store keypad or atm. Just be sure not to reuse them before you wash them. There’s not a lot of difference between unwashed hands and unwashed gloves.
This one depends largely upon your health circumstances. For some, monitoring blood oxygen levels is important, but because it’s likely to be caused by something chronic. For others, low blood oxygen is an indicator of breathing issues they may not ordinarily have and may merit a second look, particularly if it’s accompanied by bronchial distress.
Definitely don’t rely on smartphone apps that promise to measure blood oxygen saturation readings, it’s just not possible.
Allergies, The Common Cold, Or COVID-19? Some OF This Stuff Can Help Remove The Rock-Paper-Scissors Guesswork…
Many of us are kept up at night over the hint of an irritated throat we’ve developed, or the achy muscles we’ve had for a couple of days, convinced it’s COVID-19. Sometimes that’s merited, sometimes it’s not.
“There are certain signs and symptoms that tip people off to whether they have Covid-19,” said Dr. Gary LeRoy, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and an associate professor of family medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
Hopefully, you have a thermometer handy, a fever measured as 100.4 degrees or higher is one of the most common symptoms of Covid-19. Taking a fever reducer when you feel feverish before measuring your temperature can be counterproductive, however.
“These medicines artificially lower your temperature,” LeRoy said. Once you know how bad your fever is, then take your medicine.”
Aches and pains in the muscles may or may not be an indication of Covid-19. For some, that may be the only symptom they have or the only symptom they don’t.
At any rate, OTC pain meds like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are good choices for reducing muscle aches, regardless of the cause. Don’t forget to take your temperature before taking either, if you have a fever paired with muscle aches, it’s time to call your doc.
While these medications are recommended to relieve the symptoms of those diagnosed with a cold, allergies, and any number of other things that cause a cough, they’re also recommended to help soothe the coughing that accompanies Covid-19. If you have a cough that won’t leave you alone, and you haven’t been tested yet, go get tested right away.
Diarrhea is now at the forefront of related symptoms to look for when diagnosing Covid-19. If you develop diarrhea in tandem with any of the other common symptoms associated with Covid-19, call your doctor. Whether your diagnosis is positive or negative, your doctor may recommend antidiarrheals in conjunction with serious hydration to keep your body strong enough to fight whatever ails you.
The point is…
Common-sense mandates that if you have one of these symptoms, and it remains persistent, get tested. If you have more than one of these symptoms in tandem, get tested, particularly if they remain persistent. If you have them all: RED FLAG. Go get tested right now. You may not have COVID, but you’re still sick as heck.
A Final Word… Please Take Good Care Of Yourself
Eat well, sleep lots, drink a lot of water, and take measured precautions to avoid contact with the virus by wearing a mask in public places (particularly inside), and stay six feet away from everyone else when you’re out and about.
You know your body best. We can’t emphasize enough the point that you should listen to it. It doesn’t matter how well that cough medicine helps your cough if it doesn’t go away, and if your acetaminophen helps your fever but you never knew how high it was to begin with, you may just be putting a band-aid on a bigger problem.
If you’re exhibiting any symptoms at all and feel that they’re lingering and/or are worse than you’ve experienced before, you owe it to yourself to call your doctor. Your health is worth it.