The widely-publicized milk of magnesia and sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, are two preparations which can safely be kept in the family medicine chest and which are frequently advised by physicians for alkaline purposes.
Most modern women prefer to keep their cosmetics in their own boudoirs, but the man of the house is likely to put his into the family medicine cabinet. They should include, in most instances, a razor, which should be kept in its box and not permitted to lie around loose, also some shaving soap or cream, some face lotion, which may be either witch hazel or a special lotion which he prefers.
The most commonly used general pain reliever is acetylsacylic acid, commonly called aspirin. So far as is known, aspirin is relatively harmless, except for a few people who are especially sensitive to it. Such people cannot take even small doses. One aspirin is as good as another, provided it is up to the standard of the United States Pharmacopoeia.
Among the strongest of medicinal preparations are the narcotics and anesthetics. Narcotics should never be used by anyone without a physician’s prescription and, indeed, no drug that has to be administered with a hypodermic syringe should find a place in the average family medicine chest.
There are some people with diabetes who have been taught by their doctors to inject themselves with insulin. Even these people should keep their syringe outfit separate from the materials in the family medicine chest.
There are all sorts of antiseptics available for use on the skin, in first aid, and also for gargling and for washing various portions of the body. The most widely known skin antiseptic is tincture of iodine. No antiseptic substance is of value when used as a gargle for the destruction of germs in the mouth and throat. If the antiseptic is applied directly on a swab, so that the material is held in direct contact with the localized infection, it may have some definite use.
Among the antiseptics approved by the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry are preparations of hexylresorcinol and preparations of metaphen, also merthiolate, zephiran, cepryl, and neutral solutions of chlorinated soda and hydrogen peroxide. The Council has not approved antiseptics commonly represented as being useful in the relief of all sorts of infections of the throat and also for the prevention of various types of infectious diseases, including colds.
One of the best old-fashioned antiseptic solutions for common use around the home is boric-acid solution. Most people prefer to have packages of crystals of boric acid or of the powder and to make up the solution fresh just before use.