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This means cotton wool, sterile gauze, plasters, bandages, adhesive plaster, surgical sutures and a rubber band. There should also be some saline and antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds. Surgical spirit will be useful for disinfecting material and cleaning healthy skin.
Useful accessories include scissors, tweezers and a thermometer. If you have a baby at home, you might also store spare dummies and teats as well as a useful ointment for nappy rash.
Ideally you should keep medicines for minor ailments only. The kit may contain: analgesics, fever reducers, products for insect bites, anti-inflammatories and ointments for burns; plus any medications prescribed for chronic diseases suffered by family members.
The kitchen and the bathroom are areas of the house with the greatest changes in temperature and humidity, so they are not the best places to keep your medicine cabinet. The best place is somewhere cool, dry and dark, to avoid altering the characteristics and properties of the medicines concerned.
The cabinet should also be out of the reach of children; but do not keep it locked – it must be easy to open when needed.
Make sure that anyone who needs the medicine cabinet knows exactly where it is kept.
The cabinet is not a store for leftover medicines.
All of the contents should be stored in their original box and should be kept tidy. It will only be useful if you know what you are looking for and can find it easily.
Medications must be clearly identified, therefore it is important to keep them in their box with the leaflet.
Emergency medical and other useful phone numbers, such as health centre, doctor or ambulance directory, National Toxicology Centre should also be written on the outside of the cabinet.
Bear in mind the recommended storage conditions for each medicinal product, particularly those to be kept at a certain temperature and in the fridge, as well as those that are only effective for a limited time once the container is opened or the preparation is reconstituted, as in the case of some eye drops or syrups. Generally, medicines should always be kept out of direct sunlight.