Monday, September 6, 2010

What's in YOUR Medicine Cabinet?

Ever wonder what doctors keep inside their medicine cabinets for their families? Well, my friends (and patients) have definitely asked me, so I thought this week I would share with you my answer. Before I launch into the first ingredient, however, let me encourage you to head directly to YOUR cabinet and THROW AWAY EVERYTHING THAT IS EXPIRED! Just like you should check your smoke detectors a couple times per year, you should also take a look in your stash of medical supplies and toss everything that is expired. Yes, I realize that tiny bottles of prescription medications (especially eye drops, for example) can cost a small fortune, but the only thing worse than "wasting" them by not finishing them is depending on them to work later, when their potency is gone. Don't wait till someone is having a bad allergic reaction to discover your benadryl is long expired!

So, what's the first medication on my list? ASPIRIN- yep, good old-fashioned aspirin. Actually, I keep the enteric coated aspirin, because it's easier on the stomach, but you get the picture. Why do we have aspirin in our cabinet? Not for headaches, though it certainly could be used for that malady. We keep it for several reasons:

1. Heaven forbid a grownup in our home (or neighbors') appears to be having a heart attack- the FIRST response is to have them swallow an aspirin.
2. Studies show that an adult aspirin a couple times per week reduces the incidence of colon polyps (and therefore, hopefully colon cancer, which runs in our family.)
3. Before sitting on a plane or going for a long car ride, a single aspirin can help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs (DVTs- deep vein thromboses.)

BOTTOM LINE: Throw away ALL expired medications, and start your family's medicine cabinet supply list with ASPIRIN.

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