The Family Medicine Cabinet
- Bandages in various sizes, gauze, and adhesive tape are needed to cover the “ouchies” and keep germs out.
- A hot water bottle/heat pack and an ice pack/cold pack help soothe tummy aches, reduce swelling, and cool feverish children.
- A medicine dropper, oral syringe, or calibrated spoon or cup used to dispense medications. A kitchen teaspoon is not always accurate, so stick with something created specifically for use in medicating.
- Rubbing alcohol is used to clean thermometers, tweezers, and scissors.
- Petroleum jelly is useful for lubricating a thermometer (if your pediatrician advises taking a temp rectally), healing chapped skin or lips, or putting a thin layer on a child’s nose that is sore from tissues (be sure not to get the jelly inside the child’s nose).
- Saline-based nasal drops keep tissues moist and ease congestion by softening mucous so it can drain or be suctioned easily with a bulb syringe. The drops are available over the counter.
- A thermometer is a must-have for checking a child’s temperature. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital most often recommends using a digital or chemical-dot thermometer and taking the child’s axillary temperature (under the arm) or oral temperature for children able to hold the thermometer under the tongue with closed lips and not bite the thermometer.
- Tweezers are good for removing splinters or ticks.
Toss Potential Hazards
Following are a few items commonly found in the family’s medical supplies that are not recommended by doctors:
- Syrup of Ipecac: This substance which induces vomiting was commonly recommended to parents to keep in case of emergencies when poison was ingested. In November 2003, the AAP issued a policy statement claiming there is no evidence that syrup of ipecac is efficacious. Parents should no longer use the syrup for home treatment and should dispose of any syrup they have.
- Aspirin: Do not give aspirin to children without a doctor’s approval because it has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare yet potentially fatal childhood disease. Check with your doctor for a suitable substitute for treating a child’s pain or reducing a fever.
- Mercury Thermometer: The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to avoid the old-fashioned mercury thermometers—they are dangerous and can cause toxicity if broken. If you have a mercury thermometer, do NOT throw it in the trash; it must be disposed of properly in a household hazardous waste collection. If you have questions, contact your state environmental protection department or the health department.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN