Wouldn’t it be great if you could predict when you were going to be ill? It would mean the end of those late night dashes to the after-hours chemist to try to get something to combat a heavy cold or dragging yourself out of bed with a hangover to try to buy painkillers. Most of us have a bathroom cabinet or some sort of cupboard where we can keep first aid and bathroom essentials, and it’s worth being prepared and making sure you’ve got these 10 essential items for the bathroom cabinet.
Every bathroom should have a stock of the two basic pain killing drugs – paracetamol and ibuprofen. These handy things can be used for headaches and other pain, but can also help bring down a temperature if you’re feeling feverish. Don’t waste your money on expensive branded painkillers, the generic supermarket drugs which cost 30p a pack will do the job just as well.
2. Plasters and Skin Closures
There never seems to be a plaster around when you need one, so keep a box with a variety of different shapes and sizes in your bathroom cabinet. It’s also worth investing in some skin closures, which are better known under their brand name of Steri-strips. These can be used to secure deeper cuts and might help avoid a trip to A&E.
3. Rehydration Salts
Vomiting and diarrhoea is one of the most common reasons for missing work and a tummy bug can really knock you for six. Although it’s best to allow the illness to take its course where possible, sipping on rehydration salts can help restore minerals to your body and feel better sooner. Again a generic product will do the job just as well as one of the more expensive branded products.
4. Anti-itch medication and cream
Even if you’re not prone to allergies, an insect bite or brush against some nettles can set off intense itching and discomfort. A tube of hydrocortisone cream will soothe the itching and can also be used to treat small patches of dry skin. It’s also worth getting some antihistamine tablets which can be used for more severe allergic reactions, but look for one which is non-drowsy.
Any family with young children will probably have a thermometer already, but it’s worth investing in a digital thermometer which can help you work out if your skin is just hot to the touch or whether you are actually running a fever. Any local pharmacy will send you an in-ear digital thermometer for less than a fiver.
6. Freeze spray
We’re often told to treat muscle aches or sprains with an ice pack, but it’s not always practical to have a proper ice pack or packet of frozen peas to hand at all times. A can of freeze spray won’t take up much space in the bathroom but can be used to bring instant relief. It goes without saying though that you should check with a doctor if your injury doesn’t get better quickly.
Less than a third of us use mouthwash every day but it’s another of those oral hygiene staples which no bathroom should be without. Using mouthwash helps loosen particles of food in the mouth, kills bacteria and helps you feel much cleaner and fresher.
Even if you’re not prone to indigestion, we’ve all been hit by a sudden bout of stomach acid after a heavy meal. Keep a pack of antacid tablets or liquid in the bathroom cabinet to use when you are struck with indigestion rather than having to make a painful dash to the nearest garage in the middle of the night.
It’s a common misconception that it never gets hot enough here in the UK to require sunscreen, but this is simply not true. We should all be using at least factor 15 sunscreen on sunny days to protect our skin and reduce the risks of skin cancer. Look for the rating stars on the back of the tube and choose one which is at least 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
10. Antiseptic Cream
A basic antiseptic cream such as Savlon or Germolene will help prevent infection from setting in if you have suffered a graze or cut. It can also be used to treat minor burns and stings. A good alternative is an antiseptic which can be diluted such as Dettol which you can use in a similar way.
When you’ve got all the essentials for your bathroom cabinet, be sure to give it a good clean out before you pop the new stuff in; especially when it comes to medicines. See our post on cleaning out your medicine cabinet for more information.
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