6 top medicine safety reminders for your home
(BPT) - With families spending more time than ever working, playing and studying at home, it’s a good time to review best safety practices when it comes to using and storing medicines. This is especially true during the cold and flu season — while the nation is also in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — when many families may have more over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in the home than usual.
It’s smart to keep your family safe from harm with these helpful easy-to-follow steps.
1. Read and follow Drug Facts labels. Don't take more than the recommended amount of medications, as dosage directions are created specifically to keep you and your family safe.
2. Don’t combine medications. Some medicines may duplicate active ingredients you're already taking. For example, cold medicines may also contain pain relievers and/or fever reducers, so if you’re already taking a pain reliever, adding a cold medicine could mean doubling your intake of an active ingredient, which could be harmful. Double check medication labels for the active ingredients and only take one at a time. When in doubt, contact your healthcare professional for advice.
3. Store medications up, away and out of sight from the reach of children. Make sure to buy only child-resistant containers, but remember — “child-resistant” does not mean “childproof.” Keeping them out of reach is also crucial for safety. Put them up and away, out of sight and out of reach, after every use.
4. Store other items safely. Any potentially toxic substances your kids could get into should also be kept well out of reach, including, but not limited to: hand sanitizer, vitamins, diaper rash cream and eye drops.
5. Keep medications in a cool, dry place. The bathroom medicine cabinet is actually not ideal for storing medicines, as heat and humidity can affect them.
6. Consult your healthcare professional if you or a family member feels ill. You can get advice on what kinds of OTC medicines (if any) are appropriate for the symptoms you or your family member are experiencing, and specific dosage recommendations.
If someone has a fever
It can be upsetting when someone has a fever, especially your child. A fever is actually the body’s natural defense against bacterial or viral infections. A person’s normal body temperature is approximately 98.6 degrees F, but it may fluctuate depending on different factors.
If you or a family member has an elevated temperature, it may signal the presence of a bacterial or viral infection. A fever is also one of the common symptoms of COVID-19, amongst many other conditions. If you are concerned about a fever, it’s best to contact your healthcare professional.
Your healthcare professional may recommend an OTC pain reliever/fever reducer to help you feel better, no matter what the cause. Common OTC pain relievers that can reduce fever and achiness include acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil or Motrin IB). These medications are safe and effective when used as directed. Always read Drug Facts labels carefully and follow their directions for dosage and timing.
For a fever, it also helps to:
A body temperature at or above 104 degrees F requires immediate care, so contact your healthcare professional right away, or call an urgent care or emergency provider if your regular healthcare professional is unavailable.
Be prepared for an emergency
Make sure you and any caregivers (including older children or babysitters) know how to contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for free, confidential, expert medical and safety advice, 24/7. Program the number into phones and post it visibly at home.
To learn more about medicine safety, visit GetReliefResponsibly.com/covid-19-medicine-safety.
(BPT) - Every year in the U.S., there are more colds than people. Annually, nearly 320 million Americans catch 1 billion colds, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Seven in 10 people will turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to help them feel better — and many of these medicines may contain acetaminophen.
In fact, acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used drug ingredients to reduce pain and fever, found in more than 600 OTC and prescription (Rx) medicines. When used as directed, it is safe and effective. However, taking more than the maximum daily dose (4,000 milligrams) is an overdose, and can lead to liver damage.
“Family members play an important role as caregivers when administering medicines safely,” says Mark Gibbons, director of programs and operations at Caregiver Action Network, a member of the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC). “It’s important to double check all medicine labels to be sure you’re not accidentally doubling up on acetaminophen.”
Each year, acetaminophen overdose causes about 26,000 hospitalizations. It’s important to know the dose that is right for you and your loved ones. With the arrival of cold and flu season, the AAC’s Know Your Dose campaign offers some helpful tips for preventing illness and safe medicine guidelines if you do get sick.
You can do a lot to protect yourself and your family from getting sick, including:
* Get vaccinated for the flu. It’s the best way to minimize the chance you'll get the flu and spread it to others. Even if you got a flu shot last year, you need to get one this year, too. Each year’s shot is different, specifically designed to prevent the strain of flu expected to be most prevalent this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend anyone 6 months and older get vaccinated.
* Be diligent about washing your hands regularly. Each time you wash, scrub for at least 20 seconds — about how long it would take to run through two renditions of “Happy Birthday.”
* Avoid actions that spread germs, like touching your face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth. If you do get sick, stay home from school or work to avoid spreading germs to others.
* Maintain good health habits, including getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food. All these actions help build your immune system.
Know your dose
If you or a family member does fall ill, you may decide to treat symptoms with medicine, which might contain acetaminophen. To ensure you’re using acetaminophen safely, follow these steps:
* Always read the label on any medicine you take. Be sure you understand and follow the dosing instructions.
* Know if your medicine contains acetaminophen. It’s important to know which of the medicines you’re taking contain acetaminophen so you can ensure you’re not taking too much.
* Take only one medicine that contains acetaminophen at a time. Taking more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen could put you at risk for exceeding the maximum daily dose.
If you have questions about an OTC or prescription medicine that you’re taking, talk to a healthcare provider.
To learn more, visit KnowYourDose.org and follow @KnowYourDose on Twitter.
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