A Well Stocked Medicine Cabinet

Must Haves for every medicine cabinet

As part of National Safety Month, ADC Steiner Ranch Pediatrician Theresa Willis, MD visited with KXAN’s Erin Cargile to discuss the “must haves” for every medicine cabinet.

Throw out expired medications or ointments

Dr. Willis recommends that you first check the expiration dates on your medications, ointments, and creams. If you find the medication or product has expired, check to see how to properly dispose of these materials. The FDA provides information on how to dispose of specific medications here.


Keep bug spray, aloe and sunscreen on hand.  These items will help avoid using some of the other products later.   For parents who worry about using bug sprays on young children, Dr. Willis recommends spraying their clothes or strollers to keep biting insects away.   She says aloe is great for sunburns and even stove top, oven or grill burns.  The cooling and healing effects of aloe work well on these type of topical burns.

For sprains, strains or bruises

Gel beads can be used as a cold or warm compress.  The advantage to using gel beads are that they are flexible and can mold around a wrist or ankle easily.  Not to mention kids like they way the look and feel. Ms. Cargile commented that they may also be used at the base of your neck to cool off during hot summer days.

So you forgot your bug spray, now what?

Bendaryl and cortisone creams have many uses and can treat bug bites, rashes or poison ivy.  Dr. Willis likes the Benadryl spray for bug bites because of the immediate cooling effect on the skin.

Basic first aid for cuts and scrapes

A sterile saline spray is great for cleaning out minor cuts and scrapes and even road rash.   The doctor recommends cleaning the wound before applying your antibacterial ointment and band aid.

Generic or Name-brand – does it matter?

When selecting over the counter (OTC) medications or products, generic options are perfectly acceptable.  The FDA regulates the active ingredients in OTC products which are the same as in your name brand options.

We’ve modified this checklist to include the items in this interview and a few more:  Medicine Cabinet Checklist (PDF)