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It would be hard to find a household without medications somewhere in the home. In addition to prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements can be thought of in this category as well.

Most of us haven’t put any thought into how we store medications but it can make a real difference in the effectiveness let alone the safety of your family.

Watch Your Environment with Your Medicine

Not only is the medicine cabinet too tempting for snooping, as portrayed in this classic Southwest Airlines commercial, the bathroom and the kitchen are the worst places to store medications. They can lose potency in the heat and humidity which can be common in these rooms. Additionally, the steam from showers and cooking can cause pills to stick together.

Variations in temperature and light are two more factors that impact the effectiveness of medication. Find a place with minimal light and constant temperatures as a storage spot. Of course, it has to be convenient to ensure you will can easily take them as prescribed or when needed.

Medicine Safety

My sister enjoyed an entire bottle of children’s aspirin as a young girl and had to endure a trip to the emergency room with an unpleasant treatment. This was before the advent of child-proof caps. Don’t rely on them though.

Store medications out of the reach of pets and small children. When you take your children to someone else’s home, make sure their medications are not accessible. Some pets will eat anything they find and have no idea if it is dangerous to them so think of four-legged critters as well as humans.

If you’re kids are older, it doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. Teens do use prescription medications of family members to get high. Talk to your older children about the dangers of medicines not prescribed to them and consider a locked storage area.

Check Your Expiration Dates on Your Medicine

Medications don’t stop working once the expiration date has passed. This is the date that the manufacturer ceases to guarantee full potency and safety of the medication.

Medical experts state that most medications are safe to take years after the expiration with between 5-50% loss of potency. But there are exceptions and you should check with a pharmacist or other medical professional to be sure about a particular medication.

I get rid of medications with a expiration date of more than a year in the past. This helps keep the storage area in order and ensures I’m getting the full benefit of the treatment.

Thoughts on Storing Your Medicine

Medications serve an important role in family health and comfort. Get the most out of your medicines, for safety, good health and your budget, by taking simple steps to store them properly.

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

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7 comments comments closed

  1. If I had to add anything to this list, it would be the following – make sure you label correctly, and keep them organized! Too many times I reach for some medicine only to find its gone or misplaced.

    • Dan, good tips. I have this problem with over the counter medications because they could be in any one of the three bathrooms.

  2. Locked storage is a must for any controlled substance. Other family members or guests in the house can easily use these or sell them. Also don’t let others know that you are taking these meds since break-ins can and do happen for the sole purpose of stealing drugs.

    • Optionsdude, it is sad to think about friends and family stealing your drugs but it happens all too often. Thanks for the advice.