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Spring Cleaning Should Include Cleaning out your Medicine Cabinet

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“People can easily lose track of what they have,” says Craig McKnight, Vice President of MediNurse Private Duty and Corporate Health Divisions. “It is critical to pay attention to your medicines because of potential potency problems with expired pills and creams.”

MediNurse provides these pointers:medicine_cabinent_spring_cleaning
  • Check the expiration dates: Almost everything in your medicine cabinet, including over-the-counter medications, and sunscreen and has an expiration date and should be thrown out and replaced when they become outdated. It is not recommended to keep any medication for more than one year. The medication could become less potent or more potent depending upon the drug. This could create a harmful situation.
  • Throw out unused and expired medications. Holding onto unused medication increases the chance of you or a loved one unintentionally grabbing a bottle and taking the wrong medication.
  • Do not use pills if they appear discolored or powdery.
  • Do not use capsules that are cracked, leaking or sticking together.
  • Do not use liquids that have become cloudy, filmy or hardened.
  • Do  not use any creams that have cracked.
  • Consider alternate storage places for your medicines.  The medicine cabinet in your bathroom is one of the worst places to store medications! The temperature and humidity are typically higher than other rooms in your house, creating a hostile environment that can make medicines less potent. Medicines are best stored in cool, dry places out of direct sunlight, and always out of the reach of children. A kitchen cabinet may be a good alternative, as long as it’s not near the sink, or using a dresser drawer in the bedroom. Sealing pill bottles in a zip-lock bag will help keep moisture away.
Disposing Medicines

Traditional advice has been to dispose of unused drugs by flushing down the toilet or putting in the trash. Neither is a good idea. It is best to check with your local pharmacy to find out if they will take back unused or expired prescriptions. Another option, better than putting in the sewer system, is crushing the pills, dissolving them in water, then mixing in something to absorb the ingredients such as coffee grounds, flour, cat litter or sawdust, and placing the mixture in a sealed plastic bag before disposing in the trash.  Liquids and creams can also be mixed with coffee grounds, flour, cat litter or sawdust, and then sealed in plastic bags for disposal in the trash.
Last modified on Friday, 11 March 2011 09:27
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