medicine cabinet with assorted bottles and tubes of medication
April 16, 2024

Picture this: It’s late at night and someone in your household suddenly feels terrible. They may have an awful headache, upset stomach, nasty cough, or an itchy bug bite. Do you have what you need to provide relief quickly? Keeping your medicine cabinet well-stocked prepares you for the random ailments life throws at you and your family. So, how should you stock your medicine cabinet? Here’s a list of medicine cabinet essentials we recommend always having on hand.

For Pain Relief and Fever

No one likes being in pain. Whether you or a loved one is experiencing a headache, body aches, a fever, or all three, it’s important to have a way to find relief. Some of the most important medicine cabinet essentials to keep on hand are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin), and naproxen sodium (Aleve). These medicines act as pain relievers, fever reducers, and anti-inflammatories. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a pain reliever and fever reducer, but unlike NSAIDs, it does not have anti-inflammatory properties. This type of medicine is great for pain relief and is especially helpful for individuals with kidney issues.

For Allergies

pink antihistamine pills in blister package

If you or someone in your household suffers from hay fever caused by seasonal or year-round allergies, make sure you keep antihistamines on hand to provide relief from sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy eyes, etc. Popular antihistamines include Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Xyzal, and others. Each of these medications uses a different active ingredient to block histamine and reduce allergy symptoms. Benadryl can be beneficial for more than just hay fever. It can relieve pain and itching from insect bites, poison ivy/oak/sumac, hives, and other minor irritations. Nasal steroid sprays like Flonase, Nasonex, and Nasacort are great for reducing nasal allergies over time.

For Cold and Flu

Thermometers are incredibly important medicine cabinet essentials. If you or a loved one starts to feel ill, it can be very helpful to know if a fever is present and its grade so you can decide if you need to make a trip to the doctor. To treat cold and flu symptoms, there are a variety of over-the-counter medications that work well. A persistent cough can be miserable, so make sure you have cough medicine in your medicine cabinet. To relieve chest congestion, medications with guaifenesin such as Mucinex can be very helpful. Decongestants help relieve a stuffy nose to make it easier to breathe. There are a number of effective cold and flu medications that combine ingredients to treat multiple symptoms, and these are great to keep on hand for when someone catches a cold or the flu.

For Digestive Issues

antacid tablets

Digestive issues often come on quickly with little warning, so it’s important to stay stocked up on these medicine cabinet essentials just in case. For heartburn relief, antacids that contain calcium carbonate like Tums and Rolaids can temporarily neutralize stomach acid and ease irritation. For constipation, there are a variety of options that you can keep on hand, such as laxatives and stool softeners. If you have the opposite problem, you’ll want quick relief from an anti-diarrheal to avoid dehydration. There are also gas relievers you can keep in your medicine cabinet in case you experience uncomfortable trapped gas.

For Rashes, Bug Bites, and Skin Irritations

Certain ointments and creams are medicine cabinet essentials that you should always keep on hand. Itching, burning, or irritation of the skin can start quickly and be very uncomfortable. Calamine lotion is great for relieving itching and irritation of the skin from rashes and bug bites. A topical antihistamine cream can block the histamine that commonly causes itching and irritation in reaction to things like bug bites and allergenic plants. Topical steroids like cortisone also work very well for itching and skin rashes. Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be helpful for acne sufferers, and anti-fungal cream is effective in treating athlete’s foot.

For Wound Care

assorted bandages and wraps for wound care

You should always have supplies on hand for cuts and burns because accidents do happen. Keep boxes of bandages and gauze pads to dress wounds. Butterfly bandages can be beneficial in helping deeper cuts heal with minimal scarring. Medical tape and wraps hold gauze in place. Hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic creams and ointments can decrease chances of a wound getting infected. Keep aloe vera gel on hand to soothe burns and skin irritations, including sunburns. Tweezers may be necessary for removing splinters or thorns from the skin. Ice packs are another essential to have on hand in case of injury. However, you’ll want to keep these in the freezer instead of in your medicine cabinet.

Get Your Medicine Cabinet Essentials at Our Local Nashville Pharmacy

These are some of the basic medicine cabinet essentials that everyone should keep on hand in case of illness or injury. Depending on your health needs and situation, you may need additional items in your medicine cabinet, such as prescription medications, inhalers, emergency contraception, injectable epinephrine, eyeglass repair kits, etc. Make sure you keep an inventory of the expiration dates on all your medications and replace them when they expire.

If you need to add some items to your medicine cabinet stock, visit us at Midtown Express Pharmacy to find the medications and supplies you’re missing! Our knowledgeable pharmacy team will be happy to help you find what you need and answer your questions about over-the-counter medications, medical supplies, and prescription medications.