Ask Sofia: How Do I Update My Medicine Cabinet?
“This is a great question, since outdated drugs can be a danger to you and others in your family,” said Dr. Amy Hammers. “Rather than waiting until January for a fresh start, there is no time like the present to clean out and update your medicine cabinet. It will give you a fresh start for the new year and for your overall health and wellness.”
Keep the following in mind when reorganizing your medicine cabinet:
- “When in doubt, throw it out.” If you can’t read an expiration date or don’t remember why you have something, then it is probably time to toss it out. Review expiration dates once a year to ensure that you aren’t keeping vitamins and medicine well past their intended shelf life.
- Dispose of medications properly. On that same note, make sure your disposal habits are healthy as well. Throwing unused medication in the garbage or flushing them down the toilet are both hard on the environment. Local pharmacies and community sites offer safer options for disposing of expired or unused medication. You can also visit http://disposemymeds.org/ and http://www.sharpsinc.com/pharmaceutical-waste for more options.
- Practice safe storage habits. Did you know that most medicines do not belong in the bathroom? Drugs are sensitive to heat and light, so a dark, cool shelf in the kitchen is generally preferable to that well-used bathroom medicine cabinet. Ensure that medications are out of the reach of children. You can store first-aid supplies, toothpaste and mouthwash, and other items that aren’t impacted by heat or moisture here.
- Organize and replenish. Organize items by type – vitamins, painkillers, prescription medicines and so on – so you are never confused by bottles that look alike. And if you have three bottles of the same Vitamin D, for example, consolidate. Finally, restock essentials such as throat lozenges, probiotics, multivitamins and dental floss as needed.