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Must-Have Items for Every Parents’ Medicine Cabinet

Many parents know the frustration of having a sick or injured child and not knowing what treatment to give to alleviate the child’s symptoms. Adding to their frustration is a frightening array of choices filling the shelves at any drugstore or grocery store.

According to Marcus DeGraw, MD, a board certified pediatrician at St. John Children’s Center – Macomb Township, each family should have a well-stocked first-aid supply that doesn’t include unnecessary supplies. He suggests the following supplies and medications for families with children.

Must-have medical supplies for children:

  • Sterile gauze, medical tape and bandages of all sizes for common cuts and scrapes.
  • Alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide and basic soap for basic cleaning of cuts and wounds.
  • Sharp scissors to cut dressings for wounds.
  • Tweezers to remove slivers or foreign objects from skin.
  • Instant cold packs for bumps and bruises and sprained ankles.
  • Thermometer for fevers (preferably one that can be used orally and is digital).
  • Plastic gloves for attending to wounds with blood.
  • Warms blankets and a flashlight with batteries.
  • Emergency contact numbers and the number for poison control (800) 222-1222.
  • Physician’s phone number and directions to nearest emergency room.

Must-have medicines for children

  • Pain relievers – acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). Ibuprofen should only be used if child is more than six months old.
  • Skin creams including one percent hydrocortisone for itchy rashes and antibiotic ointments for cuts and scrapes.
  • Rehydration fluids for illnesses with vomiting or diarrhea (Pedialyte).
  • Extra prescription medicines (especially if your child has a chronic disease like asthma).
  • Cold medicines – most children need only a decongestant and a cough suppressant.
  • Benadryl – use for allergic reactions or nasal allergies, but only for children one year and older, unless directed by a doctor.
  • Teething gel for infants – use in small amounts.

Items to avoid giving children:

  • Laxatives – not to be used in children unless directed by a physician.
  • Anti-diarrhea medicines – ask a doctor first.
  • Syrup of Ipecac – once universally recommended for accidental poisonings, now avoid and call Poison Control instead.

Dr. DeGraw is one of the pediatricians at St. John Children’s Center, which is attached to St. John Medical Center – Macomb Township, and medical director of Pediatric Subspecialty Services at St. John Hospital and Medical Center. The address is 17900 23 Mile Rd., Suite 304 in Macomb Township. Phone is 586-898-9010. More information is available at www.stjohn.org/StJohnHospital/Specialties/Pediatrics/

In addition to general pediatrics, the St. John Children’s Center has specialists in the areas of infectious disease, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatric surgery, gastroenterology, neurology, nephrology, behavioral medicine, and pediatric hematology/oncology.

The Medical Office Building and St. John Medical Center – Macomb Township create a healthcare campus for northern Macomb County residents. The Center has a 24-hour emergency department, after-hours urgent care, outpatient surgery center, diagnostic imaging, outpatient lab, and the Eastside Endoscopy Center.


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