The Well-Stocked Home Pharmacy

Essential medicines

It’s a great idea to put all your medical stuff into a kit of some sort, even if it never leaves your house. The worst place to store medicine supplies is in the bathroom, where most people keep them. It is moist and warm there, while what medical stuff wants is dry and cool. You also want to be able to grab supplies quickly and take them where they are needed. We put ours into plastic cases the size of shoe boxes, There’s one for bandages and first aid, and another for medicines. The lids seal tight, prolonging the shelf life of the contents. When there is a first-aid injury, we get the kit and have everything together on site.

In addition to first-aid supplies here are some medicines you might consider stocking:

  • You should have an antibiotic ointment like Polysporin or a triple antibiotic.
  • Diarrhea serves a useful function to remove bad things from the body, but sometimes you may need Imodium to control excessive and severe diarrhea. Take this on your travels.
  • I like to have some hydrocortisone at home for itchy rashes and eczema.
  • Afrin nasal spray for a decongestant. Because it is targeted to the nasal area, the medicine is more potent than oral decongestants so you get more bang for the side-effect buck. Don’t use it for more than 3 days, though.
  • It’s a good idea to have an anti-fungal like Lotrimin or clotrimazole for athlete’s foot or infection of the skin.
  • Another good thing to stock is Benadryl for allergies and allergic reactions.
  • If you are traveling in exotic places (for you) ask your doctor to prescribe the antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin) to take with you in case of emergency.
  • The other thing we take in our traveling medical kit is probiotics and vitamin D. Since probiotic products vary enormously, current studies suggest that the two aspects the matters most are higher numbers of colony forming units and containing more than one strain. For probiotics, aim for products with 5 billion colony forming units.
-- Alan Greene, MD 04/21/13