Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Proper Storage of Medication

Author: Emma Martin

Most people don’t put too much thought into how their medications are stored. Whether they’re in the medicine cabinet, a drawer, or out on the counter for easy access, it doesn’t seem to make any real difference. But in fact, there is a proper way to store medication, especially if you live in a household with others. In most cases, it’s not the temperature or other environmental factors you have to worry about (as you would with food items, for example), but rather other people (or animals) that might accidentally (or purposefully) get into your stockpile of prescriptions. For this reason, you should be aware of how to properly store any harmful medications that others could get their hands on.

If you have children or pets, you likely have some sort of cabinet to keep your medication in (a standard medicine cabinet is generally out of reach for the smaller inhabitants of your home). However, it’s not a bad idea to keep prescriptions (or even potentially harmful OTC meds) in a locked cabinet. Kids are curious, as are some pets, and they display alarming ingenuity in getting into places where they think you might have something interesting. Have you ever fibbed and told a child that their medication was candy in order to get them to take it? You may not have thought this little white lie dangerous at the time, but when your child overdoses on your medication, you’ll regret not having kept it under lock and key. And if you think childproof caps will keep your kids out, just think about how easily those plastic containers could break if dropped on a hard surface or sat upon.

But it’s not just children who are in danger from unsupervised medications. Pets also have a knack for getting into cupboards. Many dogs and cats are smart enough to figure out how to pry open cabinet doors to get at what’s inside. And high shelves are no deterrent for cats. Again, a locked cabinet is the safest option. You might also need to worry about others in your household who could be tempted to sample your drugs (teens or other adults). Nobody wants to believe they have an addict in their home, but why not simply avoid temptation by making sure no one else has access?

Aside from all this lock and key business, proper storage of medication might also pertain to the environment it’s stored in. Some medications (generally liquids) could require refrigeration, so make sure you read the label before storing them. As for pills, they generally only require storage in a place that is not too hot or humid. For this reason, the bathroom may not be the best place to store medications (especially if you don’t have good ventilation or a fan). Over the stove is probably not ideal, either.

When it comes to proper storage of medicine, there are not a lot of rules to follow. You simply want to ensure that they remain free of mold, especially if they may be sitting for quite a while, and you’ll want to keep them out of the hands of anyone that could be harmed by them. However, this includes you. When storing medications for extended periods of time, be sure to check the expiration dates regularly to ensure that out-of-date items are properly disposed of.

About the author:

Emma Martin writes for Spee-Dee where you can find auger filler and a rotary filling machine to meet your packaging needs and increase speed and efficiency in your business.

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