Dangers in Your Medicine Cabinet

Medicine cabinet must-havesFrom combating coughs to closing up cuts, your medicine cabinet should have it all. But are we stocking up on the right stuff? Dr. Travis Stork from "The Doctors" joins Easy Does It host Ereka Vetrini to talk about some medicine cabinet must-haves.

First, says Dr. Stork, your medicine cabinet should not have eye drops and nasal sprays that are designed to treat redness of the eyes and congestion in the nose. "Kids ingesting less than half a teaspoon of these were being admitted to ERs with nausea, vomiting, lethargy, fast heart rates, even coma in some cases." If your child does ingest these, call poison control immediately.

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"Think of your medicine cabinet as minimalist space," explains Dr. Stork. He recommends having necessities for pain, colds, and allergies, as well as emergency or first aid solutions.

According to Dr. Stork, it's important to understand the difference between the various pain medications that are available, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. "They all act a little differently and they all have potential side effects in certain people," he says. "I mean a lot of people don't realize acetaminophen, if people take it the wrong way, is actually the number one cause of acute liver failure in our country. Ibuprofen can cause ulcers in susceptible people, kidney problems in others." While these are safe medicines overall, Dr. Stork explains, "it's always wise to know why you're taking a medicine and what you're using it for. You don't want to take more than the recommended amount."

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In addition, Dr. Stork notes that we all tend to overstock our medicine cabinets with cold remedies. "The problem is a lot of these products combine ingredients. And so if you take two or three different cold remedies, it's easy to overdose," he cautions. Dr. Stork recommends instead treating colds with natural remedies, adding, "I'm a big believer, with colds, of keeping it simple with things like neti pots and saline nasal sprays."

As for handling allergies, Dr. Stork recommends keeping an antihistamine and saline nasal spray in your medicine cabinet. He adds, "If you have someone who's ever had an anaphylactic reaction which is life-threatening, I think you should always have an epinephrine auto injector in your medicine cabinet, in your purse, in your car. These are things that really could make a big difference."

Finally, when it comes to stocking an emergency kit for your home, Dr. Stork recommends buying one rather than putting it together yourself. "You want something with all the necessities," he explains "A lot of these packages have all the little things we've already talked about. A good first aid kit goes a long way."

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