A medicine cabinet is a must have in every home. Most homes have them in their bathrooms and are installed to help in case of an emergency. The medicine cabinet too deserves to have some good cleaning but some people don't really don't know how to go about this. So in this post, we will be dropping tips on how best to clean your medicine cabinet.
What Stays and What Goes?
There are certain drugs that have a longer shelf life and has expiration dates running into years. There are others that have a short timeframe. Usually we buy these medicines when we are in dire need of them and oftentimes never really exhaust them. We all know what happens to such category of drugs; the medicine cabinet becomes home for them. If these drugs are lucky, they may get picked up again soonest. These types of drugs should be taken away before they become harmful.
Let the Expiration Date Be Your Guide
This is self explanatory enough but one cannot help but wonder why some people don't take this seriously. I still don't understand why anyone would want to keep an expired drug in their cabinet. Some may argue that some drugs like pain relievers still stay potent after expiration. While there's some truth in that, are you really that desperate to take such chances? The manufacturer goes all the way to print these dates on containers to help guide their customers. They don't just put it up because they got bored and had nothing to do. They do care about the health of their customers, unless of course, you would want us to believe they care more about your health than you do.
Store the Solids, Adiós Liquids!
If you are still wondering what should stay or go, you need to know about what potency is all about. The effectiveness of a drug is directly related to its potency. So medicines that have their active ingredients in suspension form or what you may know as liquids tend to lose their potency more quickly than solids. Just to be safe, when you get a prescription for liquids, as soon as you are done with the dosage, kindly dispose of it. If the expiration date shows a longer duration before expiration, then you may probably be able to keep it for a while. We are not saying that solids have longevity; we are saying that in comparison with liquids, their potency lasts longer.
Store Medicines Appropriately
If you are very observant, you would have seen "store in a cool, dry and dark place" inscription on some medicine containers. For these kind of drugs, they remain potent as long as they are kept well. As earlier stated, most medicine cabinets are installed in the bathrooms. Bathrooms are known to have high or fluctuating humidity. Obviously this doesn't fit into the instructed environment. So for drugs like these, do not store them up in the medicine cabinet (if located in the bathroom). There are other drugs that do not have a problem with humidity and can retain there potency, irrespective of the environment.
Where Did the Drug Come From?
Reading this question may come across as being too careful but you would soon realize why it's important. If you have taken your prescription to purchase drugs at a pharmacy, you would agree that most of these drugs get repackaged by the pharmacy. The hard truth is that some pharmacies alter the expiration date as originally specified by the manufacturer. Next time you go buy a drug, make sure you ask for the original expiration date if they give you a repackaged drug. This way, you will be sure how long it can safely sit in your medicine cabinet. So now you're staring at your medicine cabinet and come across one of these repackaged drugs and don't know what to do with; just toss it away. Better safe than sorry!
Make It a Routine
So we have agreed that some drugs don't deserve to stay long in our medicine cabinets but how often do you need to check this? Unless you are heavily dependent on drugs, you can do this once or twice a year. This way, most of the drugs stored up would be close to their expiration dates. Take note of those that would expire soon and be sure to toss them out in due time.