A well stocked medicine chest will have the following as a basis:
Aspirin: Aspirin is a powerful anti-inflammatory, blood thinner and pain reliever. It is inexpensive and readily available in most of the world. Aspiring should not be given to children or teenagers – acetaminophen should be substituted for those individuals.
- Ibuprofen (Advil©), acetaminophen (Tylenol©) or naproxen (Aleve©): these are alternative pain relievers. Acetaminophen and naproxen are also anti-inflammatory which controls swelling.
- Cough suppressant: A basic cough syrup of some kind is useful to have on hand to soothe irritated throat and airways.
- Antihistamine: An antihistamine will reduce swelling of nasal passages and ease nasal congestion. It will also work throughout the body to reduce swelling, such as irritations from poison ivy or insect bites.
- Alcohol: This is a general sterilizing liquid that can be used to limit contamination.
- Hydrogen peroxide: This is used to sterilize and kill bacteria on skin or wounds to the skin.
- Antibiotic ointment: Use this on scrapes and cuts to speed healing. Cover with a band aid.
- Adhesive bandages (all sizes): A covered, moist wound will heal quicker and with less chance of scarring. Bandages also keep the wound clean and help prevent infection.
- Eye wash: Boric acid diluted with distilled water can be used as an eye wash. Commercial eye washes are available.
- Electrolyte replacement (Pedialyte© or Gatorade©): If high fever or vomiting has left someone dehydrated, use an electrolyte replacement to help rehydrate their body.
- Thermometer: Used to check for fever. Normal body temperature is considered to be 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).
- Ace bandage: Use this for sprains or breaks to stabilize the area and also to minimize swelling.
- Ice pak: Ice can be used to minimize swelling to injured body parts.
Please remember – these items should be used as temporary treatment for non-life threatening issues. Prolonged high fever, vomiting, bleeding and pain or any other condition should be treated by a health care professional.