As cold and flu season begins to rear its ugly head (along with rising cases of COVID), it’s time to make sure you’re supplied to handle any at-home health hurdles. The following tips can help you make sure you’re stocked up on essential medications, storing them properly, and managing them efficiently.

Start by Taking Inventory of Your Current Supply

Don’t just run to the grocery store and start clearing out shelves. (No one likes a hoarder.) Start by taking stock of what you already have on hand. Look at the expiration dates. You’ll want to toss anything that’s expired. (Yes, really.)

Expiration dates are there for a reason. Sometimes they have been placed on a medicine because that’s when it starts to lose its effectiveness. Other times they are placed on a medicine because that’s when it begins to react to your body in a way other than intended — which can have serious, negative side effects.

Take all expired medications to your local pharmacy. In most instances, your local pharmacy will be able to safely dispose of them. At the very least, they’ll be able to direct you to a location where you can.

Make a List of Everything You Need

The first things to go on your list are obviously anything you need to re-stock. During cold and flu season, this typically includes:

  • Cough drops
  • Cough syrup
  • Decongestant

However, you might also want to think beyond standard medications and get some items that you may, or may not, want to store in the bathroom. These could include:

  • Tissue paper
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Herbal tea
  • Gatorade (or another electrolyte-loaded drink)

Keep All Your Medicine Stored Safely

Compare pills to M&Ms. Notice the similarity in size (and sometimes color)? It’s no surprise that small children and pets are known to think they’ve discovered a treat when they wander into the medicine cabinet.

This is why you want to make sure your medicines are always securely stored, up and out of reach from the curious littles you love.