Save for those under constant medication, many of us rarely glimpse through our medicine cabinets, much less take the time to weed out the unnecessary and retain the essentials. This task that sounds too tedious for a Sunday morning can easily contribute towards a ton of unhealthy practices:
Leftover medication from past prescriptions, medicines that mom left behind after her visit, paracetamol stashed around for emergencies, bottles of kids’ cough medicine – the things that can accumulate in your medicine cabinet can be endless unless checked and done away with regularly.
Possibly the worst outcome of hoarding medication is popping them in without proper diagnosis and without a physician’s guidance. The result? Antibiotic-resistance and misuse of prescription painkillers. There’s also a worst-case scenario: you could be damaging organs like your liver and kidneys.
Inadequate storage conditions
When you visit the pharmacy, you notice your chemist bringing medication out of a refrigerator. Once home, you notice the instructions on the box are basic and don’t suggest the same. You put the medicine in along with the rest in your medicine cabinet. It’s been a year, the expiration date on the medicine says it’s good for another few months, and you don’t think twice before using the medicine.
Here’s what’s wrong with the picture: you have no idea about the composition, and how the ingredients work with each other under different storage conditions. Nor do you have any idea how the drug was stored or transported before it got to the chemist. The risks are aplenty here.
Unrestricted access to medicines
Medicines are usually stored in accessible spaces around the house, which allows access to those who could possibly abuse their use. It could be your teenager who wants to play that game despite a sprain, or your maid who wants cold medicine for someone at home. Storing medicines responsibly can prevent risks that you just don’t foresee.
There’s an upside to it when you constantly keep track of what’s in your medicine cabinet: you can replenish your stock of essential medicines and vitamins, and maintain fresh first-aid material, allowing you to stay prepared for contingencies without any of the risks.