4 Essential Money-Saving Items You Need in Your Medicine Cupboard
| Photographs By JamieWilson
As a parent, there’s nothing worse than taking your sick child to see a doctor only to be sent home and told to return in a few days if he or she gets worse (which usually happens). We have health insurance, but a visit to the doctor is still money out of the family budget that could be used elsewhere. Two visits for the same illness are especially painful.
As a nurse, I often teach parents of children to keep a small supply of over-the-counter medications to help cut back on calls to the doctor and trips to the ER in the middle of the night. The same goes for adults. If you keep a few staples on hand, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.
Here are four essential medical items that will help you cut back on costs during an illness*:
1. Advil and Tylenol
You can alternate the two medications every hour to help control a high fever. In most cases, a low- to mid-grade fever is actually helpful in fighting off whatever is making you sick, so only treat temperatures above 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a good, old-fashioned glass thermometer unless you want to invest in the latest temperature-taking device. Digital thermometers that cost less than $10 are often unreliable and inaccurate.
2. Boric acid powder
This inexpensive powder can be used to treat a variety of infections without a prescription (and without antibiotics). Boric acid can also be mixed with sterile water to serve as an infection-fighting soak for burns. It will also treat stubborn athlete’s foot and severe acne breakouts.
Benadryl, which can be used to treat allergic reactions, is a must-have for all medicine kits. If someone develops hives or swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat, give the person Benadryl (liquid works fastest) and get him or her to the ER.
It can also be used to safely treat mild insomnia (in kids and adults), relieve pressure from colds and flu, treat seasonal allergies, and dry up ear drainage — which can relieve the pressure of an earache until you can get to the doctor.
4. Saline nasal rinse
Yes, it’s unpleasant to think about rinsing your sinuses, but doctors and allergy specialists often swear by daily sinus rinsing to help control allergy symptoms. It also helps relieve cold symptoms faster and keeps a simple bug from developing into an all-out sinus infection, ear infection, or respiratory infection. There are sinus-rinsing devices available for kids and adults, and the Neti squeeze bottle is easy enough for a child to use, with supervision.
Always use your best judgment to decide when to seek medical care. While it’s okay to treat colds and minor illnesses at home, serious conditions can quickly develop (especially in children and infants). Go with your gut instinct. If you think something isn’t right and are worried, call a doctor. But for many common health problems, treating symptoms at home can help you save a bundle.
*Of course, you should clear all medications and procedures with your doctor or pediatrician.
The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, “Newstex Authoritative Content”) are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an “AS IS” basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.
Licensed content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent any endorsement, expressed or implied, by USAA or any affiliates.