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What's in your Medicine Cabinet?

March 26, 1999

Dr. Rohrer and familyBy Kate Coleman / Staff Writer

photo: YVETTE MAY / staff photographer




You probably don't think about it until you have a headache or have sliced your finger along with the bagel.

Which items are basic and absolutely essential?

[cont. from lifestyle]

Of course it depends on the age of the person who will be using them, according to Dr. Mark S. Baran, a physician with Robinwood Internal Medicine in Hagerstown. It's also important to be aware of possible drug interactions. Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory properties that acetaminophen doesn't, Baran says. But it could cause a problem with bleeding if you're taking an anti-coagulant such as Coumadin, he says.

Baran also advises reasonable use of over-the-counter medications. Cough medicines are good, but if you're really coughing and having a hard time, it's a good idea to see a physician.

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We asked Baran and two other local health-care professionals - Suzann Rohrer, a certified registered nurse practitioner, and pharmacist Gary Haas - to suggest a few important items.

Dr. Mark S. Baran

Dr. Mark S. Baran, a physician with Robinwood Internal Medicine in Hagerstown, suggested storing already opened medications such as buffered aspirin in a dry place.

Although some products come with a packet of absorbent material in the bottle, it's a good idea to keep them away from moisture, Baran says.

With warm weather approaching, Baran suggests a couple of seasonal medicine cabinet items.

* Calamine lotion and .05 percent hydrocortisone cream are topical medications that can help with summertime hazards such as poison ivy and insect bites.

* Sun block is important for everyone, especially older people who might already have some skin cancer.

* Triple antibiotic ointments - such as Neosporin - are good to have around if you cut yourself.

Clean the wound with water first, Baran advises.

* Ibuprofen is helpful in the event of sports injuries, according to Baran. "It really is a great drug," he says.

* You can't really keep this in your medicine cabinet, but the old high school advice for sport injuries and minor twists - ice, compression and elevation for 24 hours - still is good. Of course, if it is more serious, consult a physician.

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