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Summertime Stash: What to Stock in Your Medicine Cabinet

Medicine On Shelves
The summer means pool days, beach vacations, and exploring the great outdoors. But along with the adventures and excitement come bugbites, beestings, sunburns, and maybe even poison ivy. Before the summer gets into full swing, you need to stock your medicine cabinet with everything you'll need for the season.
Keeping all the prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications that you need on hand is a preventative step that can save you time and headaches (both literally and figuratively). What should your summer stash include? Take a look at the must-need healthcare items that you may want to keep on hand.
Fight Allergies
Allergies are a common medical condition. Over 50 million people in the U.S. have allergy issues annually, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). If you're one of the millions with allergies, or you have a household member who suffers from this condition, having the right medications at home can stop a runny nose, dry up watery eyes, and soothe a constant cough.
Only a doctor can provide a definitive allergy diagnosis. If you've been diagnosed with summer allergies (such as allergies to pollen), antihistamines, decongestants, and nose sprays are all OTC medications that can reduce your symptoms.
Some allergy sufferers, especially those with severe allergies, may require a doctor's prescription. Common allergy prescription medications include corticosteroids, mast cell stabilizers, and (in the event of anaphylactic shock) epinephrine pens.
Stop the Itch
Seasonal allergies aren't the only summertime discomfort maker. Insect bites and reactions to plants, such as poison ivy, can send your body into a full-blown reaction. Letting the itch go and constantly scratching your skin isn't advisable. Overdoing it and scratching one area of your body repeatedly can cause breaks in the skin, leading to an infection risk.
Over-the-counter treatments for bugbite-related itches include topical creams, such as hydrocortisone cream. This type of medication will also alleviate irritation from poison ivy and other reaction-inducing plants. If the symptoms persist or spread over a larger area of your body, the doctor may prescribe oral steroids or antihistamines.
Soothe the Burn
Preventing sunburn is the first line of defense. Repeated burns can lead to cancer-causing damage that everyone should at the very least attempt to avoid. Keep a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 in your medicine cabinet.
Always apply your sunscreen before going outside (15 minutes before sun exposure is ideal). Repeat application every two hours, and reapply after sweating, swimming, or drying your body off with a towel.
If you forget your sunscreen or don't apply/reapply it correctly, you have sunburn treatment options. Keep in mind, these treatments won't stop or reverse sun damage. But they will soothe the burn and make you temporarily feel better.
A soothing bath treatment, such as an oatmeal bath mix, from your pharmacy can help to ease the sting of a sunburn. You can also rub aloe vera gel, hydrocortisone cream, or a benzocaine-containing numbing product into your skin. If the burn is serious enough to blister, cause a fever, or cause severe discomfort, visit your doctor. A medical professional may be able to prescribe a stronger treatment option.
Heal Injuries
Spending time outdoors often means scrapes, bumps, and bruises. Whether you trip over a rock while hiking or your child falls off their bike, you need to stock your medicine cabinet with basic first-aid items.
If the injury is extensive, you have bleeding that doesn't stop, or you have a deep wound, go to the emergency room immediately. You may need stitches, x-rays (or other imaging tests), or even antibiotics.
First-aid items to help heal minor injuries include alcohol wipes, bandages, gauze, paper tape, and antibiotic cream.
Do you need to fill a prescription that treats seasonal allergies, skin irritations, or an injury-related infection? Contact Trans Alliance Med & Drugs for more information.