Sweaters, mufflers, hot coffee and cold days, these are some of the words associated with the much beloved winter season. Unfortunately, headache, sore muscles, fever, cough and sore throats are also words that are universally associated with the cold season. It isn’t uncommon to catch a cold when the temperature drops. Medically, a cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. Being prepared for illness during the winter is important. Unfortunately, there is no cure for a common cold, but one can always be equipped to treat the symptoms to feel better. Read on for some tips on what to stock in your medicine cabinet and what to discard.

Organize your medicine cabinet
First things first!! Do a quick check of your medicine cabinet and figure out what drugs and instruments you already possess. Carefully go through the labels of all meds discarding the pills and syrups that have expired as they can be potentially life threatening. Don’t just discard them, but make sure they are disposed off in a safe manner.

Make a list
The next important thing is to make a list of all essentials you feel are vital for your family to battle the upcoming cold. You need to be organized when it comes to creating the essential medicine cabinet. Head to your trusted pharmacist to stock up!

Essentials
A user-friendly thermometer is a must in every medicine cabinet.
You can keep Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as these meds help lower fever and relieve muscle aches.
Cough syrup is also a good option to keep on standby.
Other must-haves include day and night combination cold remedies, antihistamine and decongestant pills, and sore throat spray. Remember, over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines are not recommended for children under the age of six. So make sure to consult a physician before giving your child OTC cold medicine or any other alternative medicines, which can have serious side effects.
Also, always keep throat lozenges, dosing syringes and spoons handy in your medicine cabinet. Vitamin C, zinc supplements, and Echinacea are popular home remedies used to treat the common cold. Although not well proven to help, these are safe for most people.

Storage
Keep a designated area in the house to store these medicines. A deep bathroom cabinet or linen closet can work well. Most people store their medicines in the bathroom but a humid environment of many bathrooms is not always best hoarding space for drugs. You can also use an additional small bin for thermometers and extra liquid dosing cups. The important thing is to make sure they are kept away from the reach of small children. Store them at a height or use locks to prevent accidental indigestion.

Stock up the fridge
A stocked medicine cabinet is not the only thing to combat the common cold. Besides all the necessary medicines make sure your refrigerator is also stocked with plenty of liquids. Flu patients need calories and electrolytes so have Pedialyte, watered-down Gatorade or fruit juices in good supply. Water can be used to supplement other liquids but it should never be the main fluid as it doesn’t have salt, sugar or potassium.

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