If you wish you had a doctor's opinion on what you should keep in your medicine cabinet, you're in luck! Our pal, Dr. Ian Smith, is opening up his cabinet to us so we can stock ours like a pro.
1. Saline Wash
"Any wound that you have that could get infected, you want to try to wash it out," Dr. Ian says.
And there are two things he says are key about saline wash — saline wash has salinity that is "equal to your body" (meaning, your body's salt content) and saline spray specifically gives you that force to clean out your wound.
Dr. Ian also mentions that some saline washes also have some antiseptic properties to help prevent infections.
2. Lots and Lots of Bandages
Dr. Ian shares the four (yes, four!) different types of bandages he keeps at home, perfect for both kids and adults!
First on the list? Liquid bandages, which Dr. Ian recommends for smaller children or areas where other types of bandages won't stay on. (Rach says she uses them for small nicks or burns in the kitchen.)
Next, flexible fabric bandages.
"Areas where you're bending your joint a lot, you want to make sure that the band-aid is very flexible," the doctor says. So, look for cloth bandages over plastic.
Third? Very large bandages — big enough for the adhesive to not stick on the wound, especially when it comes to burns.
"One of the major issues with burns is you don't want it to get infected," Dr. Ian says. "That's what you're trying to prevent."
And lastly, silicone scar treatment bandages. Dr. Ian says they hold skin together very tightly, so it helps reduce the size or level of your scar.
"It's almost like replacing a suture or a stitch," he explains.
3. Docosanol Ointment
According to Dr. Ian, almost everyone has Herpes Simplex 1.
"It tends to be inactive, but it stays in a dormant phase," he explains. "What happens is, when your immune system is compromised or you're feeling fatigued or stressed, the herpes virus actually blossoms and you get what's called a cold sore or a fever blister. It's all from Herpes Simplex Virus 1. It's very contagious."
Dr. Ian says since it's a virus, you can't typically kill it — but you can prevent it from growing in size and keep it from infecting healthier tissue. That's where the docosanol ointment comes in.
"This will block the virus from expanding," the doctor explains. "So it reduces the symptoms — the burning, the itches, the swelling."
The key? The minute you feel a tingling sensation or a little pain, act. "Apply it right away, about five times a day," Dr. Ian advises, "and it will block the progression of it."
4. Ibuprofen + Aspirin
Ibuprofen and aspirin are both NSAIDs, the doc explains — a.k.a. non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
"The way these things work is they prevent the production of something called prostaglandin, which actually causes pain and fever," the doc says.
Now, Dr. Ian believes that even though ibuprofen and aspirin are from the same family, people respond to them differently because of physiology and genetics. Personally, this doc likes to use aspirin for fevers and ibuprofen for pain relief, even though they are from the same family and behave in the same way.
CAUTION: Always check with your pediatrician before giving aspirin to children. Aspirin has been linked to Reyes Syndrome in children, a rare but serious condition that can cause swelling of the liver and brain.