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Dispose of Old Unused Medications to Ensure Healthy Living

Apr 15, 2008
Spring is a great time to clean out your medicine chest and make certain your medications are still in good condition or whether they are expired or contaminated. We need to ensure your old medications are disposed of properly to continue healthy living, wellness and keep the environment safe.

The expiry date on any medication is the date after which the medication or product cannot be 100% guaranteed to be 100% effective. Always be certain to check the expiry date upon purchase your medications. Most bottles and tubes of creams have the expiry date imprinted on the end of the tubes near the crimp.

Be certain to eliminate any partially used liquids, creams or even bottles of pills, as they may have passed their expiry dates. They have already been opened; therefore, they are considered contaminated. Heat, light, humidity and contact with the medication are all able to speed up the deterioration of the product.

Expiry dates are useful in determining if the drug has deteriorated to an inactive state, or whether, in fact, they may contain harmful substances. As an example, Acetysalicylic acid or ASA breaks down and smells like vinegar in time past their expiry date. So you have a warning that they no longer have 100% their strength.

Antibiotics are one of the most abused drugs with regard to expiry dates and/or use by someone other than the person the prescription is prescribed for. NEVER, under any circumstances take someone else's antiobiotic medication. If by some chance there are some left over, it is especially important you take them back to the pharmacy. Taking expired antibiotics and/or someone else's pills may contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Remove everything from your medicine cabinet and throughout your home once every spring. This includes non-prescription products, herbal products and vitamins. Check for the expiry dates. Only keep products that you are currently using. Dispose of any expired, old, unused, and unrecognizable medication by taking them to your pharmacist to make certain these older medications will be safely disposed of. It is also possible to take your outdated medications to a hazardous waste management. Provincial outlets are usually advertised in local newspapers with dates they are open to take your disposals.

We are now becoming more aware of the dangers of tossing drugs into the garbage or flushing them down the toilet, as these drugs can lead to ground water contamination. By cleaning out your medicine cabinet in spring, you are more likely to make it an "annual affair" and this will ensure your part in "healthy living" by not contaminating our grounds and waters.
About the Author
Carole-Anne Stanway has been a creative healthy recipe cook for many years. She loves to teach new healthy living techniques as well. Learn how you too can make, create and bake using basic organic foods with powerful antioxidants in a variety of healthy recipes for healthy living at .healthyrecipes
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