Friday, October 18, 2013

Over-The-Counter Medications for Home Self-Care

Any home health cabinet or closet should contact certain Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications that are readily available. OTC medicines do not require a physician prescription. There are hundreds of these to choose from and your pharmacist can help you decide which one would be best for the symptoms that you have. Keep some OTC products at home in case you need them. Others should be purchased only after your symptoms develop. Those that you should have readily at home are:

  • Anti-Diarrheal Preparations

  • Antihistamines

  • Decongestants

  • Cough Syrups (expectorants and suppressants)

  • Ibuprofen

  • Aspirin

  • Acetaminophen

  • Syrup of Ipecac

Before you take any anti-Diarrhea medicine, wait six hours. Many times, your body needs to clean itself out from an infection or poison. Give it time before you take any medication for Diarrhea, and only use medicines if you have cramping or discomfort. There are two types of anti-diarrheal medicines - those to thicken the fecal matter and those to slow your intestinal spasms. The ones that 'thicken' absorb both the good and bad bacteria - the good is needed in digestion, so long-term use of these is ill-advised. Good ingredients in 'thickening' products are kaolin, attapulgite or pectin. The minute you become constipated, stop these OTC meds. Most anti-spasm meds for Diarrhea contain loperamide. When you have Diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids and drinks with electrolytes. A good home-made electrolyte solution contains: 1 quart of water, 翻 teaspoon of baking soda, 翻 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Aspirin and acetaminophen both relieve pain and fever, as well as minor itching, swelling and inflammation. However, be careful with aspirin, as it can become a poison and overdose in children. Do not use aspirin for children younger than 15 years of age.

Aspirin can irritate the stomach lining and sometimes cause stomach bleeding. Acetaminophen does not seem to have the same ill effects in children as aspirin, but it does nothing for swelling or inflammation. Ibuprofen is another fever and pain reliever, which is an anti-inflammatory commonly used for menstrual cramps. Discard aspirin after one year and acetaminophen after two. Antihistamines were originally developed to treat allergy symptoms. One of the drawbacks is that they can make you sleepy. Try to find the ones that don't make you drowsy. Decongestants make breathing through your nose easier. Using these before during a cold can prevent ear infections. Syrup of Ipecac is useful to induce vomiting if poisonous substances are ingested. However, do not induce vomiting if dishwasher detergent, gasoline, kerosene, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, oil-based paint, furniture polish or a cleaning solution have been ingested. Check the label for instructions on what to do with these products or call 911. You should induce vomiting with laundry soap, dishwashing liquid, plant food, aspirin, medications, ink, fingernail polish remover or rat poison.

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