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What Should You Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet?

Here is my recommended list of supplies and medications that every family with children should keep on hand at all times. Use as necessary and directed, but remember that patience and TLC are all that is needed for the majority of childhood self-limited illnesses. Apply liberally!

  • A working thermometer with fresh batteries. Use a digital rectal thermometer in children under 6 months of age.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the age-appropriate form. Do not give to an infant under 2 months of age without speaking to a physician.
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) in the age-appropriate form. Do not give to an infant under 6 months of age without speaking to a physician.
  • An antihistamine such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for allergic reactions, hives, itching, etc.
  • Neosporin or other triple antibiotic OTC cream
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream (anti-inflammatory for skin lesions such as bug bites, itchy rashes, mild eczema)
  • Salt water/saline nose drops and a suction bulb for infants (can be used to loosen nasal congestion to make it easier for infants with colds to breathe)
  • A cool mist vaporizer for coughs, croup, congestion.
  • An antifungal cream (Lotrimin, Monistat, etc. to be used for athlete’s foot, ringworm or yeast diaper rashes in infants—these look like red diaper rashes with pimples around the periphery of the rash)
  • A cold medicine for runny, stuffy noses, and a cough medicine. Click here for my recommendations about common over-the-counter cough and cold medications.
  • Pedialyte or other electrolyte replacement solution for vomiting and/or diarrhea. This is not actually a medicine, but something you give instead of regular food/drink for a child who has a gastrointestinal illness.
  • An ice pack and ace wrap for older children who may experience ankle sprains or other injuries.
  • A medicine teaspoon/dropper with accurate measurements. You should not use a kitchen teaspoon to dispense medicines.
  • A variety of sizes of gauze pads and bandages to care for wounds.
  • Betadine or Epsom salts for soaking and cleaning wounds.

article reprinted courtesy of Dr. Susan J. Kressly

What Should You Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet?
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