Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. Today I’m going to talk about building your own Home Medical Kit. It’s my firm belief that every person should have their own Home Medical Kit, not just a First Aid Kit, but actually some medicines that may save you a trip to the doctor’s office, or more importantly the emergency room!
So, let’s dive in.
First Aid Kit vs Home Medical Kit
A home medical kit is different from a First Aid Kit (which by the way, everyone should have at home). When you think about First Aid Kit’s, you think about bandages and things that you might need in a minor emergency. A Home Medical Kit includes prescription medicines that, in my opinion, everyone should keep at home, take with you on a trip (especially international travel, or have to help someone else in need.
Note: These are things you should get your physician/provider to prescribe you in case of emergency. I believe it is your firm right as a patient to request that your doctor/provider give you certain prescriptions (suggested below) that you can get filled and have on hand for those times that you can’t get to a doctor.
Building Your Home Medical Kit
A lot of what determines the medications you need in your Home Medical Kit depends on what your medical condition is. For example, if you have a heart condition you have to have nitroglycerin and aspirin (325mg) around that you would chew up as soon as you start having what could be a cardiac event. Note: This is always useful for saving lives. Other things you should consider including are:
- ANTIBIOTICS – I think you should have an antibiotic (or more than one) on hand. Something like a Z-Pak is the simplest one you can have, which can be very useful! Having this on hand can help you get an early start on a sinus infection or bronchitis. Doxycycline is another one you can consider having on hand.
Note: Always call your doctor’s office to tell them the situation before you start any antibiotic.
- ZOFRAN – I think most households should have Zofran, which is a nausea and vomiting drug. It’s very safe and can save you a trip to the ER, in the case you get food poisoning or a stomach virus.
- IMODIUM – Of course you should have Imodium. It’s OTC for diarrhea.
- IBUPROFEN – You should have some ibuprofen around the house for pain.
- PREDNISONE DOSE PACK – You should probably have a prednisone dose pack. This can come in handy for a lot of severe cases of asthma, and even a severe back strain. It’s the ultimate anti-inflammatory. Even for severe sun burns and poison ivy we will sometimes prescribe prednisone. Other viral illnesses as well.
Note: Never use a Prednisone Dose Pack without your doctor’s permission, especially if you’re a diabetic.
- BENADRYL – I think you should have medicines for allergies like Benadryl, which could make you drowsy, but very helpful for a more serious allergic reaction.
- ZYRTEC, CLARITIN, ALLEGRA – Of course, you should also have something like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra around. Maybe even a decongestant.
- ANTACIDS – I love Pepcid Complete to have around. Maybe Pepto Bismol, which has multiple uses (works great for traveler’s diarrhea, for example).
- ACTIVATED CHARCOAL – I love Activated Charcoal. This can reverse food poisoning and is helpful in viral gastroenteritis. These tablets can also help you avoid alcohol toxicity. There’s a lot of uses for activated charcoal. I certainly have them in my house.
- ANXIETY MEDICATION – For those people that are on prescription medication for anxiety, if you travel, don’t forget to take these with you.
- MELATONIN – You might want to think about Melatonin, especially if you’re jet lagged and traveling quite a bit.
- DRAMAMINE – Dramamine is great for motion sickness and dizziness.
- ANTIVIRAL – You may even want to have some antivirals like Tamiflu.
- EPIPEN – You should probably think about getting an Epipen. Even if you don’t have a life threatening allergy (i.e., shellfish, bee stings, etc.) you’re more likely to save a life with an Epipen than just about anything else. You don’t have to buy an expensive Epipen. You can buy a vial of epinephrine and a small insulin needle and it’s the same thing (it costs “dollars” instead of “hundreds of dollars”).
Note: It’s important to learn how to use an Epipen in case of emergency.
- NARCAN – Narcan can reverse an opiate drug overdose and can save a life.
- HYDROCORTISONE CREAM – Things for rashes. You should always keep some hydrocortisone cream around, and an antibacterial cream that’s very comprehensive (even covers staph infections) called Bactroban Ointment. This is nice to have around.
- REGULAR PERSONAL MEDICINES – Also have your regular medicines around. Keep them in stock.
- VITAMINS – Your vitamins are very important!
- GLUCOSE TABLETS – Maybe even some glucose tablets. Having two Type 1 diabetics in my family, I always keep glucose tablets around in case of hypoglycemia. Always think about hypoglycemia in diabetics. Diabetes is so common and you need to be able to handle those types of emergencies for anybody, not just yourself.
- PROBIOTICS – Probiotics, especially when you’re traveling, are very helpful (i.e., DigestShield).
- HAND CLEANER
- OXYGEN SENSOR
- VICKS VAPOR RUB – Another one I really like for many reasons is Vicks Vapor Rub. There are so many uses for this. Not only to put on your chest to loosen it up when you have a chest cold, but also it really helps for preventing and treating mosquito bites. It also works for muscle soreness.
In my opinion…
I think you should have a comprehensive Home Medical Kit, one that includes some prescription medications to have on hand in the case of an emergency at home and/or while traveling. Of course, keep ALL MEDICATIONS out of reach of children and teach responsibility! Remember these medications are for responsible adults, NOT CHILDREN.
I know that a lot of doctors may not agree with you having these medicines on hand (even though it is for emergencies), but I believe it’s important. I also believe you should let your doctor’s office know when you are in an emergency situation, so you can be further advised. Note: Remember that the overuse of antibiotics can lead to problems.
Having a Home Medical Kit could save you a trip to the emergency room, or even save your life (in the case where you can’t get a hold of your doctor).
Note: Of course, in a true emergency always dial 911 first.
Till next week.