Time To Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

By Nancy Truscott, Parish Nurse

Posted on June 21, 2013

Our medicine cabinets say a lot about us. We are loathe to part with creams, lotions, potions, ointments, and a variety of medications. We paid good money for them over the years and we think someone might need them again. If that's the case then it is time to review the contents and get organized.

Consider this:
•    Heat and humidity in the bathroom tend to hasten the deterioration of medications that are not in foil packaging.
•    Keep these items out of reach of children.
•    Make a list of items and put it on the inside door of the cabinet, noting their expiry date and the date to refill the prescription.
•    How many refills are on the prescription bottle? If there are no refills on your medication, perhaps it is time to consider a reassessment with your physician.  
•    List the medications you have, prescribed for whom, and for what use, noting the expiry date. Include ALL your over-the-counter medication. Now you can stay current with what you have with your handy new list. Your family members can refer to the list and know what is available and for what use.
•    Leave the medications in their original containers.
•    Put aside those items that have expired or are not necessary and consult your local pharmacist about disposal. Don’t flush them down the toilet (the medication, not the pharmacist). Leave them out of reach of children until you properly dispose of them.
•    Medication purchased at your pharmacy come with lengthy descriptive narratives. Store them together where you can easily retrieve them for reference.  
•    Buy items that you may need and are in short supply, e.g. medication for diarrhea, nausea, antacids, laxatives, antihistamines, suntan lotion, cough medicine, throat lozenges and bug repellent.
•    Write in large print somewhere on the label what it is, especially for your family fumbling in the night for the anti-nausea pills.
•    Don’t share prescription medication.
•    While you are at it, make a list of your personal medications and keep a copy in your wallet. Your family will appreciate that if you end up in the emergency department. They ask for your health card and your list of medications on arrival.