Where do you store your medications? Are they out of date? Storage and expiration may affect how effective medications are. Storage of prescription drugs and over the counter medications is often focused around a "medicine cabinet." Health experts at WVU's School of Medicine recommend that all medications be kept someplace other than a medicine cabinet. "It tends to be in the bathroom, and the bathroom is a very hot, sort of steamy place, and so I tend to have people take their pills and put them in a more of a cool, dry place such as the top drawer of a bedroom bureau," said Charles Ponte from the WVU School of Pharmacy.
Medications are not the only important items to have on hand. Common items include eye cups, accurate medicine measuring cups, tweezers, bandages of various sizes and steri strips. Pharmacists also recommend having an anti-inflammatory drug like a Motrin. In addition, make sure to keep antibiotic ointment available for minor cuts and scrapes. "This time of year especially, winter time, cough and colds are prevalent so it's important to maybe carry prescription cough medication," said Ponte.
Disposal of medication is as important as storage. The best approach is to mix pills or tablets with used coffee grounds or kitty litter and dispose of them in a closed container. "There are certain types of medications that can and should be flushed down the toilet. And there's about 3 dozen products that are listed as flushable, and most of those tend to be strong pain killers," according to Ponte. He said that's important because you want to keep them away pets and children.
For information on destroying propellant drugs for respiratory diseases pay close attention to labeling directions. For more information on disposal contact your pharmacist or local trash center.