Medical items every home should have

Pure shea butter Keep it around to help soothe skin irritation and dry skin (and even frizzy hair in a pinch) says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a toxicologist and director of consumer safety at Consumer Reports. Make sure it’s 100 percent shea butter by looking at the ingredient list.

Pure shea butter

Keep it around to help soothe skin irritation and dry skin (and even frizzy hair in a pinch) says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a toxicologist and director of consumer safety at Consumer Reports. Make sure it’s 100 percent shea butter by looking at the ingredient list. (It shouldn’t contain anything other than shea butter.) Rangan says shea butter won’t burn when you apply it to really dry skin like other lotions do.

Coconut oil

The fat in coconut oil makes it another great body lotion, according to Robynne Chutkan, M.D., founder of the Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Md. Apply it to damp skin to help seal in moisture. However it’s better on your body than in it! If you cook with coconut oil, take it easy- 1 tablespoon contains 12 grams of saturated fat.

Baking soda

You’ve just discovered that someone squeezed every last drop out of your toothpaste tube and now you’ve got nothing left to brush your teeth. Check the cabinet for baking soda, which makes good toothpaste because it’s a mild abrasive and will whiten teeth like mild bleach, says Matthew Messina, D.D.S., a dentist in Cleveland and a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

Plain petroleum jelly

Grab this home remedy for minor cuts and scrapes instead of triple antibiotic ointment, says Jessica Krant, M.D., a medical advisers and founder of Art of Dermatology in New York. She prefers a product like Vaseline because it protects against infection without the common risk of allergic reaction you get with over-the-counter ointments like bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin

Meat thermometer

You should always cook with a meat thermometer to reduce the risk for food borne illnesses, says Linda Greene, a food scientist. She uses the Polder THM-360 Meat Thermometer. The Department of Agriculture recommends cooking steaks and roasts to 145° F; ground meats (beef, lamb, pork, and veal) and egg dishes to 160° F; and all poultry to 165° F.

Measuring tape

Hate getting on the scale? Measuring your waist circumference every few months is a great way to keep track of your weight, says Tracy Stevens, M.D., a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo. Check the distance around your natural waist, which is just above your hip bones.

Chewable baby aspirin

In most cases, chewing on baby aspirin can be a lifesaver if you think you’re having a heart attack, says Phillip Blanc, M.D., a senior resident emergency room physician at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. “Aspirin is a blood thinner,” he explains, so it slows blood-clot formation.

 

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