expiration dates

Expiration dates around your home

All food has expiration dates on the label to let you know it’s best to be used by a certain time. You might not be aware that a lot of other things around your home have expiration dates too. Cosmetics, medical supplies and medications are among the things that should not be used after they expire.

I spoke to a nurse recently who told me that she visited her father over the holidays. While she was there, she was looking through his medicine cabinet and found some antibiotics that were older than she was! She asked her father why he had kept them for so long and he said it was Cipro, and he wanted to keep it in case of an Anthrax attack. She disposed of the antibiotic.

Medications definitely have an expiration date. They might not do anything bad to you, but most lose their effectiveness after their expiration date. Thirty year old antibiotics will probably not help you at all.

Pain relievers and other over the counter medications have expiration dates on the bottle somewhere. Check your own and those of your elderly parents to make sure they are not taking expired medications.

Medical supplies like syringes, alcohol prep pads and even some dressings like gauze, have expiration dates. It’s not so much that they will lose their effectiveness, although alcohol pads can dry out, but it is the fact that the packaging does not last forever. Once the packaging is damaged, what is inside is no longer sterile and can lead to infections if you use the product.

Cosmetics also expire. Using expired cosmetics can lead to skin rashes, eye infections and other problems. While they do not usually have expiration dates on them, they do have batch numbers that can be researched to figure out the age. The Cosmetic Calculator will help you figure out the approximate age of your cosmetics and perfumes.

Antiperspirants, antidandruff shampoos, toothpaste and sunscreen are over the counter medications without a dosage limitation. Those medications have no expiration date on the label. But it important to understand that they are only good for about three years. Anything that goes on your eyes should only be used for 3-6 months. After that, using them makes you more susceptible to a microbial infection.

If cosmetics are stored improperly, like being in extreme heat in your car in the summer, should probably be disposed of whether expired or not. If they are dried out, left open or exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time they should be tossed as well.

Always read the directions for storage. Some cosmetics, medications and medical supplies have temperature requirements or should be kept out of direct sunlight. Even if they are expensive cosmetics, you have to follow directions to avoid damaging your eyes or skin.

Any time you feel like organizing is too much for you, I’m here. Contact me to talk about going through cosmetics and medications or any other organizing tasks around your home or office.

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