The Top 10 Things Every Medicine Cabinet Needs
“We are a nation of dry-skinned, itchy, congested insomniacs with gastrointestinal problems, aches and pains, and frequent colds, cuts, and scrapes.” That was one doctor’s summation of the findings of a 2008 Consumer Reports survey of the contents of U.S. medicine cabinets. The survey, based on more than 6,000 responses, revealed that American medicine cabinets are comparatively well stocked.
What’s missing from your medicine cabinet?
Most The numbers in the study also say, American medicine cabinets are well stocked compared to other countries, however there’s likely an OTC item or two that your cabinet could use. Here’s a rundown of other essentials that many homes are lacking:
First Aid Kits - Basic medications are important, but there’s no substitute for the emergency preparedness provided by a good first aid kit. Look for first aid kits that include sterile dressings, a thermometer, trauma shears, disinfectant, and personal protective equipment.
Cotton Swabs - For ear cleaning, makeup removal, and more, cotton swabs are a medicine chest must.
Nausea Medications - Doctors know it as bismuth subsalicylate. You know it as OTC nausea medications such as Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate. Here is a great commercial made by Pepto Bismal
Cold and Flu Medications - These are used more often than people think. And can come in handy in situations that aren't an emergency. But these will help get you feeling better than ever in no time.
Cabinet contents on the continent
Of course the medicine cabinet essentials of this American moment aren’t the same as those of other times and places. Open a medicine cabinet in 1900, and you’d find powdered heroin elixirs and dry skin remedies made from whale blubber. Or cross the Atlantic today, and you’d find that the medicine cabinet is to the national humors (that’s the ancient “humors” of blood, phlegm, and bile, not jokes) what the eyes are to the individual soul.
Belgians, for example, appear to be strangely allergy-immune yet unusually sensitive to burning, judging by the insides of their medicine cabinets. A 2008 survey by InSites Consulting found that, compared to other European countries, “Belgian medicine cabinets contain considerably more creams for burns, anti-diarrhea medicines and vitamins, but less medication to treat fever, coughing, throat ache and a blocked nose. Only 12% of Belgians have anti-allergic drugs at home.” Take note, ye manufacturers of UV-blocking outhouses—business opportunities abound in Belgium.
Across the North Sea in England, another survey revealed the potential perils of a poorly stocked medicine cabinet. According to a Norwich Union survey, more than half of English patients couldn’t tell their temperature because they didn’t have a thermometer. Two-thirds had no antihistamines, more than a third had no sunscreen, a quarter had no antiseptic, and 10% had no aspirin. No word on whether Londoners were asked if they had any rainscreen.