CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Every medicine cabinet should be stocked with staples such as bandages and fever thermometers and ice packs should always be handy in the home. But there are some other items that you should have around and you may be surprised to learn that they can be used for your health.
Jamie Kopf, Senior Associate Editor for Consumer Reports, told us what they are and how they can help.
10 health items every home needs
Why: It's 6:30 a.m. and you're out of toothpaste. Wet your toothbrush and press some baking soda into it.
Price: About $3 for a 1-pound box.
Why: It could be a lifesaver in the event of a heart attack. If you think you're having a heart attack, call 911 and unlock your door. Then chew four 81-milligram (low-dose) tablets or one 325-mg tablet while you wait for help.
Price: About $3 for 36 low-dose tablets or $2 for 100 325-mg tablets.
Cigarette rolling paper
Why: Those little sheets can help stop the bleeding from shaving cuts, and they're tidier than tissues or gauze.
Price: About $1 per pack of 100 sheets.
Distilled white vinegar
Why: A dab of undiluted vinegar can take the itch out of bug bites. It also makes a great nontoxic cleaner when mixed with water or baking soda.
Price: $3 to $6 a gallon.
Why: Measuring your waist circumference (the area just above your hip bones) every few months is a great way to keep tabs on your weight and your risk for heart disease. Men and women with waists measuring more than 40 inches and 35 inches, respectively, are at a higher risk for heart problems.
Price: About $4.
Why: It's a must-have to prevent foodborne illness from undercooked meat. Steaks and roasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F; ground meat and egg dishes, 160°F; and poultry, 165°F.
Price: $6 and up.
Why: Rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution can help relieve congestion from allergies. One caveat: The pots have been linked to a rare, deadly brain infection caused by contaminated tap water. So use yours only with a saline rinse, distilled water, or tap water that's been boiled and cooled. Rinse the pot with the same type of water after use and dry it thoroughly.
Price: About $15 for a starter kit.
Plain petroleum jelly
Why: Dab it on minor cuts instead of an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin. It forms a barrier against infection without the risk of allergic reactions associated with topical antibiotics such as bacitracin zinc, neomycin sulfate, and polymyxin B.
Price: About $4.
100 percent pure shea butter
Why: It's a great natural remedy for rashes and dry skin, and it's less likely to irritate sensitive skin than moisturizers that have multiple ingredients. Check the ingredient list and make sure it doesn't contain fragrance or any items other than shea butter.
Price: $10 to $40.
Why: It can relieve discomfort from hem orrhoids (and in fact is the active ingredient in drugstore remedies such as Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads). For the price of 40 Tucks pads, you can buy a big bottle of witch hazel, which can also be used to relieve stinging and swelling from bug bites.
Price: About $5 for a 16-ounce bottle.