Cold Season Home Essentials

Well, it’s flu season again.  That means that people are sick with more than just the flu.  It is allergy season and cold season as well and you would be surprised how many people don’t have the essentials… or maybe it just surprises me.  There are a few things I keep in the house, both medicinal and herbal.  First I’ll tell you a few medicines I prefer not to keep in the house:

  1. I do not approve of combination products.  First, people tend to read front of the box, which is mostly advertising.  The real information is found on the back.  Please see my blog on medication safety for additional information on reading the labels.  Combination products also tend to be more expensive and people also tend to use them incorrectly, treat symptoms that aren’t there, and put themselves at risk for overdosing.
  2. I avoid brand name products if I can.  I have never found a difference between brand and generic products other  than the cost.
  3. I never buy Airborne.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect for school teachers, but let me ask you this:  What does a school teacher know about pharmacology?  Not much.  Airborne has a group of herbs in it that can cause drug interactions.  It also contains glycerol, which can stop you from absorbing the zinc and then what is the point?  You can also overdose yourself on the vitamin A it contains.  You would do better to take vitamin C and zinc, save yourself some money, and just get down to the point.

Here are some medications I like to keep on the house:

  1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol):  It isn’t my favorite for pain, but it is beautiful for taking down a fever when you can’t stand it anymore.  The big caution is just to watch it if you have liver problems.  I also prefer to smoke my fevers out, but if they get too unbearable: acetaminophen.
  2. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil):  This is my favorite for pain and inflammation.  If you have problems with your kidneys, bleeding disorders, or are prone to ulcers, this may not be the best drug for you.
  3. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl):  This is a great drug for MANY things.  If you itch, if you have an allergic cough, if you can’t sleep, this drug can help quite a bit.  If you have a cold sore or a fever blister you can dab a bit of it on the sore with a q-tip and it will numb it up.  Just be careful if you are elderly because it can put you at a high risk for falling and make you groggier much longer than it will a younger person.
  4. Sodium bicarbonate (Tums):  This item is great for  a sour acidic stomach and is also a good source of calcium.
  5. Simethicone (Gas-X):  This is also great for a sour stomach and for gas.  It is also very safe.
  6. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM):  This is great for a cough, but I find it is best to allow yourself to cough up what you can during the day and then use this medication at night to get some sleep.  Please be careful using it in young children.
  7. Guaifenesin (Mucinex):  I never leave home without this medication.  I am very prone to getting respiratory infections and this drug thins the mucus and allows me to clear the mucus in my lungs and nose.
  8. Saline Nasal Spray (Ocean or a Netipot):  This is the safest way to clear out your nasal passages, for both old and young.  It will also help you keep those nasal passages moist.

That completes my medicine cabinet, but I also keep a stocked tea caddy:

  1. Ginger:  I use this if my throat hurts, if my chest hurts from coughing, and especially if I am nauseated.
  2. Chamomile:  I use this herbal tea to help me sleep, settle my stomach, and settle my nerves.  I also will combine it with valarian root for something stronger to help me sleep.
  3. Peppermint:  This will help settle your stomach, especially if it is acidic.  It is also very soothing if you have a chest cold.
  4. Black tea (of some sort):  The caffeine will help keep your lungs open, but I would not advise using it in the evening (it is caffeine. It will keep you up).
  5. Tea containing hibiscus:  This flower is super high in vitamin C and is great when combined with lemon and honey for that pesky sore throat!

These are 12 things I keep in my home at all times.  They will help treat almost anything and are relatively safe.  What are some of your other favorites to help you feel better?  Please share!

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