12 Must-Have Items for your Home Medical Cabinet


Nothing is more important than your family’s health. As such, it’s vital to have a well-stocked medical cabinet full of all the supplies you’ll need for the most common conditions, from aches and pains to cuts and scrapes. 

But, while you’ll know to keep your medications out of the reach of children, do you know the medicine cabinet essentials you shouldn’t be without? 

Read on to find out what basic medicine you should keep at home as well as the tools you’ll need for most medical eventualities. 

1. Pain Relievers

From headaches to back pain, period cramps to the common cold, pain relievers have many different uses. It’s likely that you and your family will reach for pain relievers more often than anything else in your medicine cabinet. 

Acetaminophen, also called paracetamol, is the best basic medication to have on hand for reducing pain. It has few interactions, is safe for most people, and has next to no side effects. If you have children, be sure to keep a child-safe paracetamol liquid at home too. 

You may also want to stock aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen if these suit your needs better. But, never give aspirin to children under 12 as it can cause Reye Syndrome, a rare and sometimes fatal brain and liver disorder. 

2. Allergy Medication

Over 19 million Americans have hay fever. Even if no one in your family is a sufferer, it’s useful to have eye drops and a pack of antihistamines as part of your medicine cabinet supplies. Oral antihistamines are also useful for providing relief from multiple insect bites or a mild allergic reaction. 

Although you should be aware that there are non-sedating antihistamines and sedating histamines. Non-sedating antihistamines are best if you have to go to work or school, and especially if you have to drive a vehicle. In contrast, sedating antihistamines provide allergy relief and help you sleep better at night too. 

To stock up on both kinds of antihistamines as well as a range of other medications, you can find discount drugs here. 

3. Indigestion Relief

Some form of indigestion relief is a basic medication that can often come in handy when you’ve eaten too fast or too much.  

And, since the holiday season is right around the corner, it’s a good idea to make sure your medicine cabinet contains either calcium carbonate tablets or liquid heartburn relief. 

4. Anti-Diarrheal

All households, but especially those with young children or elderly people, should have an anti-diarrheal on hand among their medicine cabinet essentials. 

Diarrhea can cause dehydration if it continues for too long. These medications can help to slow down the gut and reduce the risk of this happening by decreasing bowel movements and making stools less watery. 

5. Antiseptic Liquid

No basic medicine cabinet would be complete without some kind of liquid antiseptic to clean and disinfect cuts and scrapes. 

Hydrogen peroxide is a good option as it stings less than alcohol, while isopropyl alcohol is good for cleaning minor wounds. 

6. Decongestant

It’s useful to have a decongestant among your medicine cabinet supplies. These come in nose sprays, pills, liquids, and drops and are effective at relieving the nasal congestion that can come with colds and allergic reactions. 

7. Thermometer

A standard digital thermometer is one of the medicine cabinet essentials you shouldn’t be without. These are the most accurate option for checking if a family member has a fever so that you can treat them accordingly. 

8. Bandages

A range of bandages in all shapes and sizes is essential for even the most basic medicine cabinet. Be sure to include self-adhesive bandages, medical tape, gauze pads, and other types of dressings for covering up cuts and abrasions. 

9. Antibacterial Cream and Ointment 

Antibacterial creams and ointments can relieve the pain of skin abrasions, minor scrapes, and insect bites. They also help speed up the healing process and can prevent minor skin infections. 

It’s useful to have both an antibacterial cream and an ointment in your medicine cabinet supplies for different eventualities. Creams are thicker and more effective but they’re also water-soluble.

In contrast, ointments are oil-based and more water-resistant than creams. This means they’re better for outdoor use and injuries that often come into contact with water, such as a cut on your hand. 

10. Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion is one of the best medicine cabinet essentials for rashes, burns, and insect bites. It’s especially good for calming itching and can dry up weeping rashes in no time. 

11. Activated Charcoal

If you have children, activated charcoal is a must for your medication checklist. This is the best product for inducing vomiting and clearing out stomach contents should your child ingest a harmful substance by accident. 

In this event, it’s always best to seek professional help first. But if for some reason help is unavailable, activated charcoal is a good solution in the meantime. And, although activated charcoal does have side effects, such as black stools, black tongue, and diarrhea, you can administer it in an emergency without fear of harming the patient. 

12. Syringes

Syringes are good for administering liquid medications to young children. You can be more accurate with measurements and it’s also easier to shoot the liquid into their mouths than it is to give it to them on a spoon. Make sure to have several different-sized syringes on hand. 

Must-Haves for Your Home Medical Cabinet

With all of these medicine cabinet supplies, you’ll have everything you’ll need for most medical eventualities in one place. 

But make sure to keep your medical cabinet away from the bathroom. The humidity can have a negative impact on medications, and can even cause them to become inactive. 

For more lifestyle tips and family advice, be sure to check out our other blog posts!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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