Aches. Pains. Gashes. Sprains. Are you ready for anything? Here are four checklists to help you equip every corner of the house.
To treat a fever or pain from headaches to minor sprains: acetaminophen (like Tylenol); a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin); and aspirin. Avoid giving aspirin to children.
To treat diarrhea: Imodium. Especially for children and the elderly, who can easily become dehydrated (but should not be given to children under 6 without a doctor's approval).
A backup supply of routine medication. Asthmatics should keep extra metered-dose inhalers; people with severe allergic reactions should keep EpiPen (an auto injector that administers epinephrine) and antihistamines.
Check expiration dates on medication twice a year, and replace any old drugs.
Keep the numbers of your family doctors, the local poison control center and emergency room near the phone.
Write a short medical history of each family member and keep it accessible. So in an emergency situation, you will be able to tell medical staff relevant information about allergies, prescription medications and prior conditions or surgeries.
There is no need to stock up on decongestants or cough syrup. Most people buy medication when they're sick; by the next time you fall ill, it may have expired.