Keeping Medicine Safer at Home
Keep track of all medicine in your home, especially if you have children or teens. This goes for both medicine that your dentist or physician has prescribed for you and the medicine you buy over the counter such as aspirin. Children and teens might not follow directions well when they take medicine, so watch them to make sure they use and store it correctly. People can get very ill and in some cases death may occur.
The cause of a drug overdose is either by accidental overuse or by intentional misuse. Accidental overdoses result from either a young child or an adult with impaired mental abilities swallowing a medication left within their grasp. An adult (especially elderly persons or people taking many medications) can mistakenly ingest the incorrect medication or take the wrong dose of a medication. Purposeful overdoses are for a desired effect, either to get high or to harm oneself. Young children may swallow drugs by accident because of their curiosity about medication they may find. Children younger than 5 years (especially 6 months to 3 years) tend to place everything they find into their mouths. Drug overdoses in this age group are generally caused when someone accidentally leaves a medication within the child’s reach. Toddlers, when they find medications may think it is candy, and often share them with other children. Therefore, if you suspect an overdose in one child while other children are around, those other children may have taken the medication too. More than 60,000 children go to the hospital every year because they took medicine when no one was supervising them. Adolescents and adults are more likely to overdose on one or more drugs in order to harm themselves. Attempting to harm oneself may represent a suicide attempt. People who purposefully overdose on medications frequently suffer from underlying mental health conditions. These conditions may or may not have been diagnosed before.
Don’t mix medicines. If you are already taking medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist before adding another. Same medicines have same active ingredient. The active ingredient is what makes medicine work. You can over dose if you take more than one medicine with the same active ingredient.
The following tips may help keep medicine safer at home.
Make a habit of putting your medicine away after use.
Never leave medicine in a purse or overnight bag that is placed where a child can gain access to it.
Purchase medications with child-resistant packaging.
Store medications in an area that is inaccessible to children, out of their sight and reach.
If you have children in the home, the storage area where medicine is kept should be locked or have
child-safety devices on the door so children cannot gain access to the medications. If there are
child-safety devices, you need to be aware that children may learn how to open those devices.
Supervision is key to safety.
Listen to the click to make sure the safety cap is locked.
Never tell children that medicine is candy to get them to take it.
Be prepared in case of an emergency. Put the poison control number in your speed dial.
Do not keep medicine on hand “just in case” you might need it later. Get rid of medicine
you have finished using. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to dispose of your medicine
you don’t longer need the proper way.
Always know how much medicine should be in each bottle.
Do not share medicine. Do not take anything a doctor prescribed to someone else and don’t
let anyone take yours.
For any more information on how to keep medication safe that you buy over the counter or that Dr. Lee has prescribed please contact our office.