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Post Category: General

What do I need to have in my medicine cabinet?

About once every six months, when the notion takes me, I pull everything out of my medicines press to check what I have left and to remove any out of date products.  I do this, because even though I spend way to long standing behind a Pharmacy counter every week, I have been caught out with a sick child at home and not a drop of Calpol or Nurofen in sight on more than one occasion!

There is nothing worse than when a child has a high fever, and you are in a frantic panic to find the medicines needed to treat it! Second on my list of parenting nightmares is a bad wound, and having no antiseptic or dressings to dress it with.  Even a light graze or scratch can cause high hysteria in my house and the expectation from the little ones that their mammy or daddy can fix anything is enough to make me be organised and make sure I have enough plasters, dressings, antiseptic and surgical tape to hand. It doesn’t matter if you’re a surgeon or a librarian – to your child you’re the best “fixer of sore knees” that ever walked this planet – so let’s step up and get this right!

Ok maybe this is not my house… 😉

I have a press in my house which probably would expose me as a Pharmacist if anyone came investigating! I have one shelf dedicated to dressings and wound care, one shelf with Adult medicines and another with Children’s medicines.  I store each section in a storage box so that it is easy to take it down and look right in to grab the product you need without having to try to move everything to see what is at the back of the press!  I would advise this press is a high one which is out of reach of children. In an ideal world the press would have a lock but so long as it is out of reach from the most adventurous of explorers it’s fine! If you know someone handy they can simply fit a lock to your press. The press also needs to be cool and dry – so not in direct sunlight, and away from any stoves, sinks or hot appliances.

Out of date or unwanted medicines should be returned to any community pharmacy.  This is the only safe way to dispose of unused or unwanted medication.  You don’t have to return it to the pharmacy you bought it in – any pharmacy will take returns for you.

I always keep a basic stock of essential items on my shelves – I’ll go through the kids stuff here!  You don’t want to have too much or have presses  bulging with unnecessary items but at the same time you want to be ready for the common problems that crop up when kids are around!

Children’s Medicines

  • Calpol or other paracetamol containing product such as Paralink suppositories depending on the age of your child.  I keep the six plus Calpol Fastmelts for my two girls for when we are travelling or during the day.  I keep the Calpol six plus Suspension for at night if I need to give them medicine when they have a fever but are sleepy and can’t be bothered with taking the fastmelts for me!  I keep the regular Calpol which is suitable from 3 months plus for my youngest.  Always remember to look at the bottle and remind yourself who you are giving medicine to – it may sound daft but in the middle of the night with a few sick children in the house mistakes could easily be made.
  • Nurofen or other Ibuprofen containing product.  There are times when I choose Nurofen over Calpol or end up having to give it in addition – you can read more about that by clicking here!
  • Rehydration Salts – Most people know Dioralyte but my favourite by far for children (purely cos they will drink it!!) is ORS rehydration salts.  These come in yummy flavours and by following the recommended dosage for your age child you can help to prevent them from becoming dehydrated during time of illness!  I also recommend keeping ice pops in the freezer to help keep a child with a sore mouth or throat hydrated, but in all honestly I always seem to have eaten them all by the time the need arises….
  • Antihistamine – I always have a bottle of Zirtek solution in my house.  This is useful for when your child has an itchy rash, nettle sting, bite or wasp sting.  It’s also useful in our house as we all suffer from hay fever and dust allergies! The Joys!
  • Ivora Fine Comb – I like to have one of these to hand for those times a letter comes home from the school or creche saying that head lice are about! It’s no harm to comb to detect regularly during term time but it’s hard to find the time.  If someone starts scratching start combing!
  • Saline Nasal spray such as Sterimar  – The baby one for children under three and the regular for those over three years of age. This is great for hay fever or colds and congestion and is a great place to start if someone gets the sniffles!


First Aid

Keeping dressings, antiseptics and plasters in a clearly marked  bag or box which even a stranger would recognise as a first aid kit is crucially important!  It need’s to be quick to grab and not shoved at the back of the press.  When you are using it you will typically be also holding a distressed child who may be wriggling like an octopus so I cant stress enough how important it is to have it readily accessible!

I keep the Medicare Home First Aid Kit in the press and I have popped a couple of extra things into to it.  The things I have added include:

  • Opsite Post Op dressings – I tell every mother I meet about these dressings as they are by far the best most wonderful thing for a scratched knee or elbow!  My kids absolutely love them because they are comfortable, breathable and so so flexible that they can continue to play, run and move just like they did before!  They stay in place for a couple of days so you can clean the minor wound, pop this on, and in two days time take it off and everything looks almost new!
  • Medicare Effigerm First Aid Liquid Spray – This is a brilliant cleaning spray which DOES NOT contain alcohol which means it DOES NOT STING! Sorry for the shouting (caplocks) but honestly this is the most gently cleaning spray I’ve come across and my kids don’t cry when it’s applied so its a winner in our house! It can be used on scrapes, rashes, for cleaning newborn belly buttons, scratches, cuts, insect bites and even on acnes and spots! Its dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic! It kills 99.9% of bacterial, fungal and viral germs.
  • Bepantiseptic Cream – This cream is fabulous and my go to product for scratches, scrapes and minor wounds.  It contains a mild anaesthetic as well as antiseptic so it actually soothes the pain as well as keeping the wound clean.
  • Character Plasters – So there are some tiny little knee scrapes that just don’t warrant an Opsite Post Op Dressing, and even though I find fabric plaster stay on much better, there are times when a cool plaster is all that is needed to bring the smiles back!
  • Medicare Instant Cold pack – This is great to have in the press and to put in the car or buggy if going out and about if you have a ‘ninja’ child who likes to do lots of daring adventurous moves and jumps!  It just needs to be squeezed and shaken to become instantly cold to relieve pain and swelling from bumps and bruises as well as strains and sprains!  For the house I tend to have the reusable hot cold pack in the freezer but it’s just not useful if you want to bring it on field trips and days out!

Other than that the Medicare Home First Aid Kit is fab as it contains plasters, dressings, sterile saline solution, crepe bandages, eye pad dressings, burn dressings, triangular bandage, safety pins, paramedic shears, an emergency blanket, a CPR face shield, alcohol cleaning pads, disposable gloves and even a useful first aid guide!

Finally, but possibly of most importance, is a good and reliable thermometer!  For me there is only one thermometer which I strongly recommend and it is the Braun Thermoscan 7 . Here is my full review which explains why I think it’s so great!  In any case you need to have a thermometer that you can trust and which is easy to use in the middle of the night!

Right well I think that’s the basics which will get you through most emergencies! It should certainly but you enough time to fully assess the situation and decide whether or not your child needs medical attention.  There is no point in having stock of cough medicines and head lice treatments etc unless you actually need them as there is a strong likelihood they will go out of date.  Remember that once opened many medicines such as Exputex and eye drops need to be disposed of after four weeks.  Other products like Calpol and Nurofen are ok until the expiry date on the bottle if stored correctly but always remember to read the product information to check!  It’s also a good habit to write the date that you opened a bottle of medicine on the front of the pack so you can make an easy decision on whether or not it needs to be returned to the pharmacy for safe disposal.

Did you know we now sell Over the Counter Pharmacy Medicines Online! Click here to order!




I hope this has been helpful! As always, if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page  or my website contact page  or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.

Author: WonderBaba Blog

My name is Sheena Mitchell and I'm a pharmacist with my own business Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6. From working in the pharmacy I've realised that there are a lot of first time and experienced moms who might benefit from hints and tips from a pharmacist who can balance healthcare advice with real hands on experience from my important work as a mother of three! I hope to bring you regular advice and information and answer questions that you have! Being a mother and pharmacist are my two favorite things and I'm delighted to have this way of bringing my two worlds together! All questions and queries are gratefully received but otherwise sit back, relax, and let the solutions come to you! Check out the WonderBaba Podcast