Summer Stock-Up Time

If your family is anything like ours, the summer season is a messy, allergy-filled, scraped-knee, itchy bug-bite, messy one! Thankfully, I’ve got an arsenal of tools we’ll use to survive those summer days and keep our family safe.

My three essential items to keep on hand:

A fully stocked first aid kit. According to the American Red Cross, there are ten essential items to keep on hand in your kit.

  1. Sterile gauze pads and cloth adhesive tape to secure the pads
  2. Latex-free disposable gloves
  3. Tweezers
  4. Thermometer
  5. Triple-antibiotic ointment
  6. Antiseptic wipes
  7. An over-the-counter pain reliever
  8. Topical antihistamine
  9. Face mask to protect you from germs or bodily fluids when giving CPR
  10. First-aid instructions

Fully stocked kits are found in the pharmacy section of most stores and often contain all of these essential items. Don’t forget to pick up an extra kit for your car or as back-up in another location of your home.

As a mother, my list also includes a box of character Band-Aids and an ice pack for the freezer. Almost 90% of the injuries in our house can be healed with those two items and a kiss. For everything else, I have my first aid kit!

Bug Spray. Bug spray is an essential item to tuck away with your first aid supplies. Look on the packaging to check the expiration date to make sure the ingredients are still active and working for another summer of bug deterring. Make sure to store bug spray in a cool, dry place away from heat, sparks and open flames.

Sunblock. We buy what seems like a million bottles of sunscreen every summer and tuck them away in every corner of our house. The Clark family is a very, very pale family, so we’re never without strong SPF, hats and sunglasses.

Sunscreen can typically last for two years, but always check the expiration dates on those bottles to be sure. If the sunscreen separates or doesn’t spread well anymore, it’s time to buy a replacement bottle. When you’re at the beach or pool, keep sunblock covered up in your beach tote and out of direct sunlight.

Medicine Cabinet Basics

This is the perfect time to do a little spring-cleaning in your medicine cabinets. Gather all the medications your family uses from every area of your home. Check the expiration dates on each and toss any that are expired, are half-used prescriptions, medications that your family no longer needs and empty bottles.

Group medications by type (prescription medications, pain, stomach and cold/flu medications) to help make things easier on you when someone is sick. It will be much easier to locate what you need and more apparent when you need to re-stock at the next drugstore sale. I use a clear, three-drawer container for our medicines, with drawers for each type of medication.

Rules of thumb for disposing of medications:

–  Do not flush unused medications down the toilet.
–  Don’t pour unused medications down the drain.
–  Remove and destroy all identifying personal information (prescription labels) from the container.

–  Check for approved state and local collection programs or with your area’s hazardous waste facilities. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused meds to community pharmacy sponsored days when you can return medications that need to be destroyed. Or, talk to your pharmacist. He or she can guide you on how to properly dispose of your unused medications.

If these options don’t work for you, throw medicines into the trash with the labels removed; secure them in a garbage bag and make sure it’s out of reach of children or animals that might get into the trash bin.

Once you’ve cleaned out expired and unnecessary medications, clean out your cabinet by spraying a microfiber cloth with some all-purpose spray and wiping it down well. Dry the interior with a terry towel or air-dry so that labels don’t stick to the interior.

mm
Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.

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