April is Clean out Your Medicine Cabinet Month

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‘Tidying up’ tips are everywhere, even Netflix! When it comes to cleaning your medicine cabinet, cleaning methods aren’t about what “sparks joy”, it is about what is necessary to keep you safe. Chances are if you open your medicine cabinet you’ll find a few extra prescription bottles you thought to be useful someday or some long expired bottles of aspirin. By following these tips to clean up your medicine cabinet of hazards, you’ll be putting yourself and family out of risk of accidentally taking harmful drugs.

Cleaning Tips

  1. Expiration dates: The easiest place to start is expiration dates. Check expiration dates of everything in your cabinet, including ointments and vitamins. Expired medications can be less effective and perform in the way it is intended.
  2. Non-expiration date expired drugs: Often prescription bottles do not have expiration dates on them. This does not mean they are immune to expiring! Follow the 1-year rule to be safe. Discard any prescription medication that was filled over a year prior.
  3. Be cautious when disposing of medication: It is important to remember that if a medication could be harmful to you, it could be harmful to others. Meaning, when disposing of your medication, you must not throw them away like ordinary trash or flush them down the toilet. Place all medications in a sealed bag before disposing of and add material to the bag that will prevent children or animals from eating the medication such as sand, coffee grounds, baby powder, or sawdust.
  1. Remove labels: Make sure to remove any prescriptions labels for privacy before disposing of the bottle.
  2. Discard any unmarked medication: If you find any loose medications or bottles without labels, it is important to dispose of the medication. It is better to be safe than sorry when taking medication.
  3. Dispose of changed medications: check to make sure that each medication still has the intended color, consistency, and smell. If anything has changed, dispose of the product.
  4. Consider the location of your medicine cabinet: did you find medications or ointments that were discolored or have an odor? It might be due to the humidity of your cabinet. It is best to keep medication in cool, dark places.

Using Medication As Intended

It is important to follow all directions and warning labels of drugs. All drug manufacturers are held accountable for their drug when used as intended. When in doubt, please contact your local pharmacy, police department or the non-emergency line of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Each branch should be able to assist you in how to properly dispose of medications.