Tuesday, December 9, 2008

When was the last time you cleared your medicine cabinet?

Whether you keep your medications in the bathroom (where you really shouldn't), in the kitchen, or in a cupboard elsewhere, when's the last time you cleaned it out?

What do I mean by clearing it out? All medications have expiry dates. Of course, if the expiry date is May 29, it doesn't mean that the medication will self-destruct on May 30, but the expiry dates are an important rule of thumb. If your medication has expired (prescription drugs, over-the-counter, even vitamins), don't use them.

Old prescriptions are another big cupboard clutterer. How many of you keep old prescriptions in case you'll need them one day? You should never save antibiotics. Ever. There are many types of antibiotics and different bacteria require different antibiotics. Plus, you need a full course of antibiotics, depending on the medication. If you have some left over, that means you didn't complete the course the first time you needed it. This increases your risk of developing an antibiotic resistant infection. It also means that what you have left won't be enough to treat another infection.

Are you keeping it to tide you over until you do see a doctor? {insert sound of loud buzzer} DON'T! If you take an antibiotic before your doctor has a chance to test you, you can mask the real problem. You could be taking the wrong antibiotic. You could be taking an expired antibiotic. OR, you may not have a bacterial infection at all but it may be a viurs. Something that an antibiotic can't touch.

So, where do you get rid of all these medications? Flush them down the toilet? NO! Please don't. We are already finding mutant fish because of medication that is peed out of us and flushed into the water system. Males with female traits, that sort of thing (from the birth control pill, for example). Put them in the garbage? Nope. Not there either.

The best thing to do is to bring all your expired or unneeded medications, vitamins and supplements to a pharmacy or drugstore. They know how to dispose of it properly.

News for Today:

Mediterranean diet plus nuts may cut heart risks

Rise in autism linked to shift in age at diagnosis

Half-dose flu shot may suffice for healthy young adults: U.S. researchers

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