When doing your spring cleaning this year, don’t forget one of the most important corners of the house — your medicine cabinet.
Expiration dates should appear on all over-the-counter medicines — but you might need a magnifying glass to read it! If your pharmacy dispensed medicine does not have an expiry date on the label, ask your pharmacist and they should be able to provide you with one.
While many natural and alternative treatments may not be affected by expiration dates, even common drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin will eventually start to deteriorate.
All commercial medications have a point at which they will start to break down, whether it’s loosing their potency or turning harmful. Some will start to change color, or give off a vinegary odor (as aspirin does), while some will not show any change at all.
Which is why it’s so important to check your expiration dates.
Where you store your medicine is also important. Because of the humidity given off from showers, the bathroom is one of the worse places to store it! The fridge is also probably unnecessary — if your medication needs to be refrigerated it will say so on the label.
In the hall closet, your bedroom or kitchen are all better choices for medicine storage than the bathroom. Just be sure they are in a dark, dry place — and of course out of reach of children and pets.
And while some will have you believe that expiration dates are simply a marketing ploy, some drugs may actually become lethal after their expiration date — it’s best to err on the side of caution.
So when you’re doing your annual spring cleaning, take a look through your medicine cabinet and discard any expired medicine.
But be sure to discard it safely — to avoid contaminating the local ground and water supplies, any expired medication should be taken to your pharmacy for safe disposal.