It’s important to keep some basic self-care items in your dorm, house, or apartment. You don’t need to have a fully stocked first aid kit or even an actual cabinet. In fact, your “medicine cabinet” can be a shoe box or a small plastic bin.

What You Should Have

  • Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to reduce inflammation, pain, and fever
  • Band-aids and bandages of assorted sizes for minor cuts
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hot/cold pack
  • Hydrocortisone cream for itchy bites and rashes
  • Pepto-Bismol® and/or Mylanta® for an upset stomach
  • Imodium® for diarrhea
  • Over-the-counter decongestants and cough medicine
  • A thermometer
  • Tweezers for splinters
  • Cotton swabs and cotton balls
  • Condoms

Keep in mind:

Over the counter medicine is still medicine. It’s important to:

  • Read the labels
  • Follow all directions for dosage
  • Check the expiration dates occasionally
  • Keep your medicine chest in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight
  • Inform your healthcare provider about any over-the-counter medications you are taking, including vitamins and supplements

A Word About Multi-Symtpom Cold Medications:

If you are taking cold medication that includes acetaminophen (Tylenol), do not take additional acetaminophen. If you need additional pain relief or fever suppression, take a product that contains ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) instead. Similarly, if you are taking a cold medication that contains ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) do not take additional ibuprofen.