The year 2021 is coming to a close. It's time to share the remedies I've found most helpful this year

1.Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) PLUS ibuprofen (Advil®).
Taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen AT THE SAME TIME seems to boost the pain relieving effect of each. I love how adding acetaminophen seems to make ibuprofen more effective. Because my stomach hurts whenever I take more than one tablet of over-the-counter (OTC) ibuprofen, whenever I need something to ease muscle aches, I take that combo, with surprisingly effective results. Although you can buy this combination as Advil Dual Action®, it’s much less expensive to team up an extra-strength Tylenol® (500mg) tablet with one Advil® (200mg) tablet. With effective pain relief for my headache and muscle aches with less stomach upset, what’s not to love?
2.Cerave® for dry skin.
Wearing a mask 8 hours a day at work really makes my skin dry. Cerave® eases my dry and itchy hands and skin with absolutely NO greasiness after applying it. I love how quickly and completely it soaks into my skin, better than any other hand cream or body butter I've tried.
3. Aspercreme® Lidocaine Roll-On for pain.
Aspercreme® doesn’t contain aspirin. Instead, it has something more effective: lidocaine. Unlike patches, you can use lidocaine roll-on anywhere you need relief from minor aches and pains. It can also be used in between applications of other topical pain relievers, like Voltaren® (ketorolac) gel, capsaicin or CBDs (cannabinol).
4.Butterfly bandages to avoid stitches.
This fall I caught my hand between two steel bars. This smashed my thumb and split the skin wide open on both sides of my thumbnail, almost to the bone. Too deep for a skin sealer like New Skin®, I used butterfly bandages to hold the skin edges tightly together. Cutting each bandage in half lengthwise first, I then used twice as many, which held the skin neatly and securely in place. Since the adhesive “wings” don't always stick well, I covered them with ribbon tape, leaving the laceration open to the air. It healed without a scar!
5.Actifed® for both runny and stuffy nose.
I'm allergic to ragweed, which makes my nose congested and runny at the same time. Luckily for me, the older formulation of Actifed® works like a charm. The antihistamine triprolidine found in Actifed® dries up runny nose PLUS relieves itchy eyes and stuffy nose. You will have to buy it from the pharmacist because it contains the decongestant pseudoephedrine. Some pharmacists have never heard of it, so you'll need to ask them to order it for you or find a pharmacy which stocks it.
6.Petroleum jelly or coconut oil to reduce nosebleeds.
Nosebleeds range from annoying to downright scary. People who use oxygen at night are often plagued by frequent bloody nose episodes, especially in dry climates or during fall and winter months. Many of my patients have reported great success in reducing frequent nosebleeds by GENTLY applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or petrolatum (Vaseline®) to the inside of their nose every evening with a Q-tip swab.
If you don't have any petroleum jelly or petrolatum, you can substitute coconut oil on the Q-tip. However, you should avoid petroleum jelly entirely if you use oxygen through tubing with prongs that go into your nose. That’s because petroleum jelly can dissolve the prongs' plastic tubing! Instead of petrolatum, use coconut oil or a saline gel for the nose like Ayr®.
7.Afrin® nasal spray to stop nosebleeds.
Afrin®, or oxymetazoline, relieves nasal congestion by shrinking blood vessels in your nose. This relieves a stuffy nose but is also quite helpful in stopping a nosebleed. If you show up at an Emergency Department with a nosebleed, the first thing many ER doctors will do is to squirt several sprays of Afrin® on a gauze pad, roll it up, then push the soaked roll of gauze right up your nose. The combination of applying direct pressure and shrinking the blood vessels inside your nose with Afrin® can often stop a nosebleed dead in its tracks.
8.New Skin® to seal cuts and hangnails.
When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, I can always tell if I have a cut on my hands because it really STINGS. New Skin® Liquid Bandage is a clear, waterproof liquid with an applicator brush. It protects hangnails, paper cuts, and minor abrasions from the sting of soap and water and alcohol sanitizing gels. New Skin® is better than regular bandages because it's waterproof and contains an anti-infective.  
Dr. Louise Achey, Doctor of Pharmacy, is a 42-year veteran of pharmacology and author of Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate: How Medicines Work and How YOU Can Take Them Safely. Get clear answers to your medication questions at her website and blog ®2021 Louise Achey

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