Not Every Scenario Requires A Trip To The Doctor
Inevitably, people will experience minor injuries or illnesses like a case of allergies or a knee scrape. These scenarios don’t necessarily require a trip to the doctor or hospital unless the reaction is severe for allergies or a person’s injury won’t stop bleeding. But to avoid going to the emergency room or a doctor, people should have a few essential over-the-counter (OTC) medications on hand to manage unexpected health issues at home.
Diphenhydramine for allergic reactions
This medication is an antihistamine that is ideal for treating allergic reactions. In particular, the medication can help to stave off a case of hives caused by exposure to an allergic stimulus such as food or, in some cases, excessive sweating or exercise.
Acetaminophen for aches, pains, headaches, and fever
This effective OTC medicine is great to have on hand for everything from headaches to managing joint discomfort and muscle aches. Still, people should follow the recommended dosage guidelines to prevent adverse reactions such as liver failure. Note that ibuprofen and naproxen, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are alternatives to consider only if acetaminophen is not effective. However, people with heart or kidney disease should avoid NSAIDs.
Hydrocortisone cream for skin irritations
For people suffering from skin irritations, hydrocortisone cream is a great option to keep in the house. The cream can be applied topically to everything from eczema and psoriasis to allergic-based rashes such as poison ivy. However, hydrocortisone cream should not be applied to open wounds or fungus infections as the treatment can make conditions worse.
Bacitracin ointment for cuts and scrapes
While hydrocortisone cream isn’t recommended for open cuts and bruises, bacitracin is the ideal solution. The ointment can help to prevent infection from occurring and can aid in accelerating the healing process. In the rare case that a cut or wound doesn’t improve after use, people should go to a doctor as the wound may be infected with a resistant bacteria.
Bismuth salicylate for upset tummies
Whether a person is struggling with the occasional upset stomach or stomach flu, bismuth salicylate is a great way to ease associated symptoms such as abdominal cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. Available in liquid, gel, and tab form, the OTC medication is a trusted choice and should be in the medicine cabinet.
Use OTC medications responsibly
Being able to manage minor injuries or discomforts can help to eliminate potentially costly trips to the hospital or doctor for a scenario that could have been managed at home. While having OTC medications on hand can be useful, people should also use the medications responsibly. Check for expiration dates and toss items past the date listed. Expired medication can be ineffective or create unexpected side effects. And for individuals taking prescription medications, consider speaking with a physician to confirm that an OTC medication won’t cause adverse reactions.