Friend or Foe: The Medicine Cabinet Needs You

Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinet is not just another “National Day” it’s a very important task that needs to get done!

Let’s be serious it seems like every time you turn around its another holiday, birthday, and some random National “_________” day! I have a few that I personally love like Mother’s Day, teacher’s day, and I even loved national secretary day one year when I was working for this amazing event planning company, they did this entire big party and celebration I was truly taken away. Well now, there are all these different days that I am really thinking who even thought about this? “National clean out your cabinet day” Like really? Yes, really and just in case you’re wondering its the third Friday in April, but we will just let the date go and focus on the task!

I do see the importance of it – Because I’m sure we all mean to clean out our medicine cabinets. However, I highly doubt it is on the top of your “mom to-do list”. You don’t realize how bad it is until your two-year-old is screaming and has a high fever at 3:00 am in the morning and you are trying to find some ibuprofen that’s not expired. I would say to myself “If someone had a hidden camera on me while I am going through this cabinet, I would legitimately look medically insane.” It’s like you knew it before and you bought some new ones and all, but you just never threw out the old ones. I know I can’t be the only one. Also, we may have cleaned out the front part of the “medicine cabinet” but how far have you dug into it? According to www.health.gov disposing of medications “can protect patients from life-threatening complications, like a heart attack or stroke”

I wanted to share with you that it really is imperative that our medicine cabinets get cleaned out and maintained at least once a year. Our attempt as supermoms is to try and do it quarterly but guess what sometimes life kicks in and we don’t get around to it! Let’s dive in and see how we can keep our medicine cabinets organized and safe. There are a few really important things that need to be addressed to ensure the safety and well-being of your family.

Mother with her illnes daughter in a bedroom

 

Mommy Medicine Clean-out Checklist

Check all expiration dates – Medications & Sunscreens

Check for recalls – You can just even check from your phone in the www.fda.gov

Take all medications out of the cabinet and even if some are close to the expiration date and just have a little bit left in it just dump it. (some may say its wasting, but it helps with space and possible errors in the future)

Keep all narcotics or opioid extremely high, on the shelf because believe it or not people go through other medicine cabinets and take them if they have a  drug/addiction problem. According to Joyce Yu, PharmD, ORISE Fellow and Clydette Powell, MD , MPH, FAAP, Director, Division of Health Care Quality, ODPHP  “Crush and pour pills and capsules into a sealable bag. Fill the bag with unappetizing and unappealing materials — for example, kitty litter, coffee grounds, or dirt. This can discourage people who may be looking for drugs in the trash”

Set a reminder on your phone every six months to clean out, when in doubt dump it out!

It’s okay to buy on sale, you all know I am all about the sale but just limit yourself and don’t overbuy medications/vitamins when they go on sale unless you are going to donate them.

Use a sharpie or tear off all personal information on disposing of prescription drugs.

Even vitamins and supplements need to be disposed of medications. Also, refer to a health care professional if you are in doubt. I say this because I have heard family members try and give me advice about storing and keeping medicine. I go back to my theory in this case. “When in doubt, throw it out”.

If you forget some of these things you can definitely count on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day as a reminder, for example, every year the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts an action plan to help people dispose of these medications.

Notice I didn’t say this is a fast task, you are not going to believe it took me over 2 hours this month to get started and I waited until the last minute. I encourage you to get started – it’s okay, start tomorrow or next week, just get a head start so it’s not too much the next time you get around to it!

I hope I was able to convince you to clean out your medicine cabinet, there was no way I could really make this sound exciting its just one of those other mom jobs added to our list! Good luck!!!

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