Thursday, November 1, 2012

Organizing First Aid Supplies, Medicines and Supplements

Dear friends,

Falling off the shelves and scattered around the house - that's the best way to describe the status of my health supplies this morning.  Something had to be done, especially since I had just replenished some of our medicines. (Why yes, I did find Claritin non-drowsy children's allergy chewables for $4.50 a box on the clearance shelf at Walmart -- a day after spending $11 on the exact same thing at Walgreens.  We go through the stuff pretty fast, so I bought two more boxes.)

My first step: gather up everything
and bring it to the dining room table.

I sorted it all out into the bins I already had labeled
for different types of supplies.

In my main medicine bin,
I keep respiratory meds (for allergies and colds) on the left,
digestion and stomach meds in the middle,
and pain meds on the right.
This makes it easier to find what I need.
I labeled the edges of the boxes and the tops of lids.
I also clearly wrote the expiration dates.
I got rid of a lot of items that were past due.
I divvied up the adhesive bandages by size and shape,
and put them in labeled boxes and zip bags.
A pouch with a real zipper holds antibiotic ointment,
disinfectant wipe packets, small scissors, and other supplies
like medical tape and steri-strips.

Here is everything ready to be put back in the cupboards.
Front left: stuff to go back into the bathroom.
Middle left: supplements to be sorted into daily bags.
Back left: ear and eye care, plus thermometer supplies.
Front: first aid bin.
Middle right: medicines in bin.
Back right: herbs and vitamins bin.

Most of our medicines and first aid supplies
are stored in the kitchen on a top cupboard shelf.

The box with herbs, adult vitamins and other supplements
is behind the medicine box.
After I took this picture, I put the kids' vitamins 
in front of the first aid box for easy access.

Extras and items that I need handy at nighttime
(like chewable antacid tablets)
are in the bathroom medicine chest.
We always keep chewable aspirin close by.
Taken quickly after symptoms start,
chewable aspirin can greatly reduce the severity
of a heart attack or stroke!
Yes, my husband and I are both at risk for that
due to age and family history!

For quite a while, I hadn't been taking my nutritional supplements
like vitamins, evening primrose oil, and thyroid boosters.
I portioned out daily amounts onto two divided styrofoam plates 
and stored them in baggies labeled for each day of the week.

(While looking at this picture in the blog post,
I just realized that I forgot the little white round ones!)

Later, I bought a nice roomy pill box
and put it on my desk with a water bottle
so I can remember to take them
when I sit down to work on my computer.

So anyway, I'm so glad I organized the first aid box this morning, because we sure needed it after dinner!  I'm relieved I could find what I needed so quickly because...

My little girl rode her scooter in bare feet, and got her big toe stuck between the wheel and the frame.

The first thing I saw, after hearing her piercing screams, was the trail of blood down the hallway.

Big sister Rachel (in nursing school) attempted to calm Mely's little girl hysterics and apply pressure to stop the bleeding, while I held her foot still and muttered under my breath about the virtues of chloroform.  Rachel cleaned off the wound as best she could (under the circumstances), closed it with steri-strips, and wrapped it in gauze.  (I sure do love steri-strips! They are a thin strip of reinforced gauze with adhesive on the back.  You cut off the length you need and stretch it across the wound, pinching it shut a little and securing on each side.  They stay on until the cut is healed, acting like stitches. We've saved lots of trips to the doctor with those.)  Unfortunately, this cut looked a little intense, so we decided "better safe than sorry" and hauled her off to the urgent care clinic. (The CentraCare at Aloma and SR 436 in Winter Park is open until midnight.)  Another big sister, who is great for consolation and amusement, came along to help.  What a godsend they both are.  Big sisters don't fit in my first aid box though!

What did the nurse and doctor do?  Pretty much what Rachel did: cleaned it off as best they could, closed it with steri-strips, and wrapped it in gauze.  They did add betadine with liquid adhesive to the routine, to simultaneously disinfect the wound and glue the steri-strips on more securely.  I gotta get me some of that stuff for my first aid box!  They also gave me the scissors and tweezers they had used, since they discard them after each use.  I needed some good pointy scissors to cut gauze and steri-strips, so I was pretty happy about that.  I'm also happy that Mel'y calmed down and cooperated.  I guess it helped that she didn't need needle-and-thread stitches!  And maybe she'll remember to wear her socks and sneakers the next time she rides her scooter!

Mel'y with her nurse and doctor,
blankie and bear
How do you organize your medicines and first aid supplies?  Share your ideas in a comment!

To your family's health!
Virginia Knowles

P.S. I just bought more stuff at Walmart: Bactine and New Skin for the first aid kit, since Betadine was really expensive.  New Skin is a sort of liquid bandage that you brush on to protect a wound.  It smells like nail polish!  I also stocked up on Loratidine for my own allergies, as well as other OTC meds from Walmart's 88 cents bin.  They also had simple elastic ankle, wrist, and knee braces (2 per package) for the same price.  

P.P.S. In this post, I forgot to mention that in our storage room, I keep a large labeled bin of assorted splints, sturdy reinforced braces (knee, ankle, wrist), slings, a cervical collar, etc.  We've collected these from various sports injuries and car accidents that my kids have been in, and they come in quite handy when someone else needs a little extra support.

P.P.P.S. I found out that a friend is ministering in a migrant worker community with 20+ families, and I thought it would be pretty neat to assemble simple first aid kits: bandages, anti-bacterial wipes, antibiotic ointment and pain reliever packaged in gallon size slider bags.  I'll have to talk to her about that and see if I can enlist some friends to help with the cost!

Other organization posts on my blogs:


  1. I take a lot of prescriptions and supplements every day. I have a basket with a lid that fits all of them, plus my weekly med divider. Once a week fill the divider (morning and evening). I also keep the PRN meds I use frequently in that basket.

    We have a lazy susan on the microwave with the PRN meds the rest of the family uses, and a basket for the girls' daily meds. They each have their own weekly divider.

  2. I keep them in the guest bathroom (big closet) in plastic shoe boxes (lids off) so I can see everything. They are sorted by type. First aid bandages, wraps, etc are in the same closet in a straw basket.

  3. I just pour them all in a glass jar with a lid and go treasure hunting every coffee in hand of course...saw you at a sheltering tree link up...your new follower by GFC..blessings Nicole

  4. This is a very thorough and helpful post!! My medicine cabinet needs replenishing...that is for sure!!

    Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home this week. It is a blessing to see you here almost each week.

  5. I love it! Thank you for sharing some simple, but important organization that we all need help in I'm sure! Thank you for linking up at Simply Helping Him! :) Blessings!


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