_____1. Clean out the medicine cabinet.
If possible, relocate the contents to another area of the house. The heat and humidity of the typical bathroom are not good for medications.
_____2. Throw away any prescription medications more than a year old.
Medicines lose their potency and may even be harmful if they are expired.
_____3. Make a list of all medications, including over-the-counter and herbal medicines.
Include the name of the medicine, the strength (mg, units, etc), the prescribing doctor's name, and the way that it is taken (twice daily, at night, with meals, etc.)
_____4. Make a copy of the medication list. Place the list in a clear jar with a lid, and place the jar in the back left corner of the top shelf of the refrigerator.
In the event of an emergency, loved ones and EMS will not have to dig through a pile of paperwork to find the medication list.
_____5. Program an "I.C.E." number in your cell phone.
I.C.E. stands for In Case of Emergency. Program the number of the person that you would like to be notified if you are unconscious or unable to speak. Many EMS, fire, and police departments now look for this number in an emergency.
_____6. Check your thermometer. Does the digital display work?
If you do not have a digital thermometer, get one. They are easy to use, will not shatter, and do not contain mercury.
_____7. Throw away any sunscreen left over from last summer.
Sunscreen ingredients do not have a long shelf life. Using a sunscreen that has been open for a year could result in an unexpected sunburn, and increases the risk of developing a cancer related to sun exposure.
_____8. Replace the batteries in the emergency flashlight in the medicine cabinet.
An emergency flashlight in a known location is important to prevent falls and/or injuries in case of a power outage.
_____9. Replace the batteries in ALL of the smoke detectors in the house.
This should be done twice yearly. Replacing the smoke detector batteries on New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July makes it easy to remember.
____10. Have a happy, healthy, and safe new year!