Spring is the perfect time to clean up, move out and reorganize things in your home and in your life! Don’’t forget the medicine cabinet. Medicine cabinets can become cluttered quickly so be sure to include yours on your spring-cleaning rounds. Discard expired medications and make sure that you have those important over-the-counter essentials for minor symptoms and ailments.


10 Over-the-Counter Essentials for your Medicine Cabinet


1. Pain and Fever

Some examples include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve and Naprosyn)
  • Over achievers might consider Anbesol, Orajel, and Zilactin for work on toothaches, gum pain, teething pain, cold sores and canker sores. Dental repair kits can be a godsend on a three-day weekend when the dentist is out of the office. Consider purchasing kits like Temparin and Dentemp. They contain dental cement for temporarily replacing a lost crown or cracked filling.


2. Burns and Skin Irritations

Consider having on hand:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Betadine solution
  • Topical Antibiotics: Your choice. They come in both ointments and creams and all are considered equally effective for the prevention and treatment of minor skin infections.
  • Additional options include burn ointment. You’ll thank us when you forget about that still hot cookie sheet in the oven. (Heads up: oven mitts work wonders.)


3. Anti-fungal

Options include:

  • Monistat 7 for yeast infections
  • Derman Antifungal for feet
  • Lamisil
  • Medline
  • Walgreen’s Clotrimazole Antifungal Cream


4. Indigestion and Diarrhea

Here are a few to narrow it down:

  • Stool Softeners: Docusate sodium (Colace) or a mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia.
  • Diarrhea Relief: Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol.
  • Heartburn: Calcium carbonate tablets such as Tums and Rolaids. Other options include Maalox or Mylanta.


5. Itching and Rashes

Don’’t get bit in the butt with no cream for insect bites. Stock your shelves with one or more of these helpful creams:

  • Cortizone 10
  • Aveeno Active Naturals
  • Cortaid
  • Calamine lotion: Can’’t beat this old standard for itches related to plants, grass and that nasty poison ivy.


6. Salt
You might be trying to get rid of unwanted water weight, but in the case of your medicine cabinet, you need salt. Not only does it work in a pinch for sterilization, you can make your own saline with it for homemade nasal drops (1/4 tsp of salt to 8 oz of water). Works great for gargling, too.


7. Cough Relief

Choose between expectorants (makes you cough by loosening mucous), and suppressants (controls or reduces coughing).

  • Guaifenesen (Mucinex). This is a mucous-thinning expectorant.
  • Plain Robitussin. This is a cough expectorant.
  • Fextromethorphan (Delsym). This is a combination medicine; it will suppress your cough and make you want to cough all at once. Do your homework on this one!
  • Guaifenesin (Benylin) This is an expectorant.


8. Decongestants

Just when you thought you got rid of your cough you have guck in your chest. Consider these:

  • Rynatan (Sinarest)
  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Phenylephrine (Dristan Cold Multi-Symptom)


9. Allergies

To help relieve the effects of hay fever and respiratory allergies, always keep an up-to-date allergy medication. For example:

  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Claritin (loratadine) lasts longer (24 hours) and is considered non-sedating
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine hydrochloride)


10. First Aid Kit

In addition to medicines, always keep first aid kit essentials to take care of minor cuts, bumps and bruises. This should include:

  • Bandaids
  • Bandages
  • Gauze Pads
  • Medical Adhesive Tape
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Safety Pins
  • Rubbing Alcohol


There are more that are not on this list. You can also ask your local pharmacist for help and advice on over-the-counter products that are best for your family’’s needs.


Feel free to leave a comment and let us know some products you can’’t live without.  Happy Spring!


Note: This information is for educational awareness purposes. Always consult your doctor for medical counseling. Always follow directions closely on the packets of any over-the-counter products. Never take more than the stated dose. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter options with any other medication. As the directions highlight on all these products: if symptoms persist, see your doctor.


by Andrea Frazer for SimpleRx

andrea frazer

Andrea Frazer is a writer, wife, mom to two Tweens and a rescue dog. Check back for more of her posts and tips on healthy living, healthcare awareness as well as the latest news and ways to benefit from SimpleRx Prescription Discount Program.

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