Home Nurse Pharmacy
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“Home Nurse Pharmacy,” Ensign, Dec. 1975, 69

Home Nurse Pharmacy

Although we generally consider as medicines only those items that have been ordered by a physician’s prescription, other substances that are found in many homes can also be considered as medicines. These medicines should be available at any time so that the home nurse can respond immediately to the needs of an ill or injured family member. Often someone will need relief of symptoms at night or at other times when it is inconvenient to make a trip to the drug store.

A home nurse with the following items available will be better equipped to care for ill members of the family:

  • Aspirin, including children’s aspirin*

  • Nasal decongestant (drops or spray)*

  • Cough medicine*

  • Sore throat lozenges

  • Antibiotic ointment for infected skin areas*

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Calamine lotion

  • Burn ointment or analgesic spray

  • Antihistamine tablets or capsules*

  • Sunburn protective cream or lotion

As with prescription medicines, all these items should be discarded when they become discolored or when there is any change in appearance or smell. All medicines should be kept in a locked cabinet if there are children in the family; parents should also attach a label indicating the appropriate antidote on bottles containing poison.

In addition to medications, the family should have a supply of other items that are often needed on an immediate basis:

  • Thermometers (oral and rectal)

  • Medicinal alcohol (70%)

  • Antibacterial soap (to cleanse cuts and abrasions)

  • Absorbent cotton and cotton swabs

  • Adhesive bandages

  • Adhesive tape (1/2-inch or 1-inch wide)

  • Sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

  • Tongue blades

  • Small first-aid book

These items should be kept together in a convenient location known to all members of the family. A family can handle illness or injury in a calm, unhurried manner if the proper supplies and medicines are readily available. Of course, if the problem is serious, a physician should be consulted. Suzanne Dandoy, M.D., M.P.H., Acting Director, Community Health, Arizona State Health Department

  • To be given to children only after consultation with the family physician.