Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Essential items for you to keep in your medicine cabinet

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
When Hurricane Sandy hit last month, people were stocking up on many things for their house. One of the things that is important to keep well stocked is a medicine cabinet. However, that may not have been at the top of most people's list. Despite that fact, it is a good idea to regularly review your medicine cabinet to make sure you have what you need for an unexpected minor medical problem. Even though we have a 24 hour pharmacy in Seaford, you really do not want to go out in the middle of the night for medicine. There is one non medication item that should be part of every medicine cabinet. That is a thermometer. When someone is sick, it is important to be able to tell if a fever is present for several reasons. The most important reason is to be able to make the individual more comfortable by lowering the fever. In addition, if the fever goes on for several days, the history of it is important when you see the doctor. You will need to know how many days of fever there were. You will also need to know how high the temperature was. You will need to know if it responded to fever lowering medication and if it was up all day or only part of the day. All of this will help in the diagnosis. You cannot tell this without a thermometer. A related item to have is Tylenol or Motrin. These both help lower fever. Tylenol lasts for about four hours and does not upset your stomach. Motrin lasts for about 6 hours but might cause stomach upset. Each individual is different so which one you use is personal preference. Dosing of each can take another entire article so it is best for simple fever to just follow the directions on the bottle. In addition to fever, Tylenol and Motrin can help treat pain. We have many minor injuries. We also have many minor aches and pains. The time to take pain medication is when they occur. Motrin helps with inflammation while Tylenol does not so it is often better to take Motrin for injuries. You cannot do that if you do not have any in the house. I usually keep both Tylenol and Motrin in the house. Allergy medication is useful because you sometimes do not know when you are going to have an allergic reaction. Benadryl is a good medication to have available. It works for the itching associated with allergic reactions. It works for hives if you get them. For more serious allergic reactions, it is a useful drug to take when heading to the ER because it is the drug that will be used after they give you a shot to address the reaction. The only downside to Benadryl is the fact that it will make you sleepy when you take it. For the stuffy nose associated with a common cold, there are many over the counter preparations. There are two problems with those. The first is that they usually contain medicines that you do not need. The second is that oral medications are not necessarily the best route to take medicine. If you have a stuffy nose, the best medication to use is Afrin. It can be used twice daily for three days. It works very well. However, you need to be sure to limit its use to 3 days. If you go longer than that, your nasal passages can develop a dependence on it. Since stuffy noses tend to only be a problem for 3 days anyway, this should not be an issue. For minor injuries the approach is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). In order to provide compression an ace bandage is good. For that reason, an ace wrap is a good thing to have in the medicine cabinet. For cuts and scrapes, it is good to have band aids available. They are sometimes useful to help apply pressure and control bleeding. For abrasions where the outer layer of skin is lost and nerve endings are exposed, they can provide protection for the sensitive skin. They can also provide a covering for blisters. All of these items are relatively inexpensive and used frequently. Stocking up on these supplies and making sure that the medications do not expire can save some after hours annoyances.

Alzheimer's training is available Home Instead Senior Care, a provider of home care services for seniors, has announced new survey results revealing that Americans fear developing Alzheimer's disease more than any other major life-threatening disease, including cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes. The Marist Institute for Public Opinion survey of more than 1,200 Americans was designed to gain perspective on the most pressing concerns associated with Alzheimer's, including diagnosis and the difficulties of caring for a loved one with the disease. "The survey confirmed what I frequently hear from family caregivers - people feel unprepared to care for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's," said Robert Ware, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving New Castle County South, Kent and Sussex Counties. "The need for support and education for these families is critical." Additional survey highlights include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63 percent of respondents) have had a personal experience with someone with Alzheimer's and/or a serious memory loss problem. 61 percent of Americans feel unprepared to care for a loved one diagnosed with the disease.
A solution for caregivers In response to the realities and concerns associated with Alzheimer's and in support of Alzheimer's Awareness Month, the local Home Instead Senior Care office is offering free, in-person Alzheimer's CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and EducationSM training sessions to area family caregivers. For a schedule of training programs, visit "The Home Instead Alzheimer's CARE program will provide free counsel, support and instruction to area family caregivers, The Alzheimer's CARE program is a first-of-its-kind Alzheimer's training addressing the current and future health needs by offering family members a fresh approach to Alzheimer's care.

The approach encourages mental engagement to help relatives remain safely at home and in familiar surroundings as long as possible, and family members learn to immerse themselves in the mindsets of their loved ones to help manage various behavioral symptoms. Courses are available in person and online. For more information about the Alzheimer's CARE program or Home Instead Senior Care, call 302-697-6435.

Shores earns oncology certification Michelle Shores, RN, OCN, a nurse at Beebe Medical Center's Tunnell Cancer Center, has earned her Oncology Nursing Certification (OCN), validating her knowledge and skills in working with cancer patients. This accomplishment also reflects her focus on offering quality care to the patients at the Tunnell Cancer Center. Michelle, a native of New Castle, moved to Lewes in 2006 and to a position as a certified nursing assistant at Beebe Medical Center. In 2007, she attended the Beebe School of Nursing, now the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing. In 2008, she did an externship at Tunnell Cancer Center where she fell in love with the cancer patients and their families. She graduated from the nursing school in 2009, and passed her boards to become a registered nurse. She then accepted a position at Tunnell Cancer Center. Since then, Michelle has filled many nursing roles there, working in several areas including Radiation Oncology, the infusion center, and triage. Currently, 44% of the total number of nurses working at Tunnell Cancer Center have earned the Oncology Nurse Certification, or 17 nurses out of 39 total nurses. Of the clinical nurses, more than half have earned the designation.

Hospice plans grief workshop Delaware Hospice will hold a grief workshop, "Coping with the Holidays," on Tuesday, Dec. 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the Millsboro office. Participants will learn strategies to help cope with the universal challenges presented by the holiday season. Discussion will include topics such as anticipations and expectations of family and friends; dealing with the multitude of emotions; the impact of death on the entire family unit; dealing with special occasions; honoring your loved one during the holidays; and giving yourself permission to participate or not to take part in special events. There is no fee for this workshop which is offered as a community service by Delaware Hospice but registration is required. Register by contacting Midge DiNatale, GC-C, at 302-416-0581 or

Go Red for Women 2013 The Southern Delaware Go Red For Women will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Tickets, which are $35 each, include extensive health screenings, $10 gift card from Macy's, guest gift bag and lunch, entertainment that includes fashion show and silent auction. Table sponsorships are $1,000 and exhibitor sponsorships are $1,500. The event begins at 10 a.m. with lunch and the program starting at noon. For more information, visit

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

HIV/AIDS Support Group A new support group for HIV/AIDS will meet every other Wednesday, at 7 p.m., in the Branford Lounge at Epworth UMC at 19285 Holland Glade Rd., Rehoboth Beach. The group is sponsored by Epworth UMC, CAMP Rehoboth, the AIDs Delaware and Delaware HIV Consortium. For more information, contact David at

Tobacco cessation classes Bayhealth's seven week Tobacco Cessation program offers support and guidance to help you quit using all tobacco products. The series of classes began Tuesday, Nov. 6 and is held every Tuesday for seven weeks, ending on Dec. 18. The class will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Rehab Conference Room at Bayhealth Milford Memorial. This series of classes offers strategies to improve your lifestyle through behavior modification, diet, stress reduction, exercise and nicotine replacement therapy. The "quit week" is the fourth week of the program. This program is free to all Delaware residents. Call 1-877-453-7107 to register. You must be at least 18 to register and be able to attend all sessions. For more info, or to register for the next series, call Bayhealth Clinical Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 744-6724.

Parkinson's support group meeting The Nanticoke Parkinson's Education and Support Group will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month, from 10 to 11:30 a.m in the ballroom at the Nanticoke Senior Center. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and stay for lunch and a social time after the meeting.