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Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves for Summer

If your summer includes spending a lot of time outside, you may have to deal with some unwanted ailments such as sunburn, poison ivy, allergies and bug bites. To help you prevent and deal with these summer annoyances, make sure you have the following items in your medicine cabinet.

  • Sunscreen
    • Protect yourself from sunburn by having sunscreen with at least SPF 15 on hand.
  • Hydrocortisone cream
    • Reduce the swelling, itching and redness from bug bites, poison ivy and allergies with hydrocortisone cream.
  • Allergy medicines
    • Allergies don't magically end when summer begins so make sure you have anti-allergy medications in your medicine cabinet.
  • Aloe Vera Gel
    • If/when you get a sunburn this summer, aloe vera gel can help soothe your burnt skin.
  • First Aid Kit
    • It's always a good idea to have a first aid kit at the ready to treat cuts, scrapes and other minor injuries. Here are some first aid kit necessities:
      • Bandages
      • Cold pack
      • Scissors and tweezers
      • Adhesive tape
      • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
      • Gauze pads
      • Aspirin

How to Get Rid of Medicine Safely

While you are adding items to your medicine cabinet, it may be a good time to take a look at what you already have in there. If you do find expired or unwanted medicines, here are some ways you can get rid of them safely from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

1. Medicine Take Back Programs

Talk to your pharmacist and see if they know of any programs in your area that will help you get rid of medicines safely. This is the best way to ensure that there are be no harmful effects from your medicine disposal.

2. Put Them In Your Household Trash

If you cannot find a take back program near you, you can also follow these steps to safely throw away your medicines:

  • Mix your medicine (do NOT crush it) with cat litter or coffee grounds
  • Put the mixture in a sealable plastic bag
  • Place in trash bin

3. Flush Them Down the Toilet

There are some medicines that the FDA recommends you flush down the toilet immediately so that kids or pets don't accidentally take them. To find out if your medicine is on the list visit the FDA's website.

Sources: FDA, National Institutes of Health

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