Spring is upon us, the taxes are done (mine aren’t) and I’m standing in the front yard looking at the atrocity that is my field of dandelions and weed-filled flowerbeds. The outside is important, but so are the things on the inside of your house.
We’re in spring cleaning mode ’round these parts. We’ve spent countless hours over the last month going through all of the kids drawers and closets and rotating out clothes that are too small or, quite honestly, look like we couldn’t fit another stain on them. We’re moving the stuff that doesn’t fit and neglected toys down into the basement, where upon arrival, they either meet their fate in one of two piles; a ‘too be sorted and stored in a bin for eventual future use’ or ‘YARD SALE’.
It feels good to purge yourself of clutter and unnecessary garbage and simplify your life. But for us, it doesn’t just apply to our closets and the play room – we also take a look at the two or three places that we keep our over-the-counter medicines.
As parents, studies reveal that we’re pretty friggin’ responsible about administering OTC’s to our kids. According to a Harris Poll released in September 2015…
98% of adults look closely at the age restrictions on the OTC medicines they give the children in their household.
and before we push everyone out of the way to fill the streets with dance and song, there’s more good news…
96% check the label to make sure the medicine is appropriate for the children’s age in their household.
This is ALL worth celebrating, however, when the study asked about what those same adults do with those medicines after they’ve matured and surpassed their expiration date…
More than 3 in 5 adults (62%) have never sought information about how to properly dispose of unwanted or expired OTC medicines. Although it is most common for adults to have sought out information about proper OTC disposal from a healthcare professional, only 20% have done so.
I’ll admit, I never really considered whether or not there was a proper way to get rid of our medicines once they reached the reached the end of their shelf-life. In the past, I’ve flushed them down the toilet – which evidently, isn’t good at all. With environmental safety and preservation becoming more of a concern, if we take a chemical and flush it down a toilet or sink drain, although the chemical becomes diluted, it still winds up somewhere–likely right back in your drinking water. If we consider the number of people who do this, the concentration will climb and will undoubtedly have some impact on our ecosystem, including contributing to higher levels of compromised tap water.
But keeping expired or unwanted medications around the house because you don’t know what to do with them isn’t a good approach either. You need to find these old medications and dispose of them as soon as possible to reduce any risk of accidental use by the family.
We decided to donate less than an hour of our time and rummage through two of our medicine bins, stored in cabinets with childproof locks, as well as my wife’s purse, where at any given moment you might be able to stick your hand in and pull out a pair of socks, half-eaten Snickers bar, action figure holding a tampon or bottle of ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Even though we tend to do this every season, I was surprised to find a few things that didn’t make the cut.
If you’re already taking the time this spring to clean out your medicine cabinets, please take the extra five or ten minutes to bag these bad boys up, so we can avoid an unfortunate accident and preserve our local water supplies! If you have questions, or want to learn more about safe use and/or disposal of over-the-counter medicine, please check out the KYOTC’s site here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored KYOTC post in partnership with the CHPA Educational Foundation, however it’s an important message and while the facts may be theirs, the delivery is all mine.