When it comes to reading things carefully, I am not a natural to begin with. Since I’ve had kids? I’m damn near hopeless. After all, what’s more distracting than kids? Nothing. When my kids are around I can barely think straight. Hours after cleaning up from breakfast, I’ve found boxes of cereal in my fridge and containers of milk in my pantry – testaments to how much my kids have ruined my mind.
OK, so there’s one thing more distracting than kids, and that’s sick kids. A child whose burning up with fever or vomiting? THE WORST. Holding a screaming toddler in one arm while trying to read the Drug Facts label on your bottle of Acetaminophen, after a sleepless night with the sick child, is no easy task.
Despite my general state of distraction, one thing I’m now always careful to read is the labels on medications. Ever since that time I had a UTI and my doctor called in a prescription for Pyridium. (That’s the stuff that makes it not hurt to go, and it turns your pee a garish orange color.) Anyway, as I was about to gratefully swallow my first dose I happened to take a second glance at the prescription label. The pharmacy had given me a prescription for progesterone instead! That’s a hormone that I did not need. Holy shit! I almost took the wrong medication based on a pharmacy error! Ever since then, I always carefully check my prescription labels and you should too because clearly pharmacists are also sometimes distracted.
It’s not just prescription medications that one has to be careful with. Even over the counter medications can be dangerous if used incorrectly. And considering the distracted state that parents usually find ourselves in, we should take a few moments to ensure we are administering the correct medication, at the correct dosage, and not creating any adverse interactions with other medications or supplements. It’s easy to overlook those supplements!
I make sure to read the Drug Facts label every time I administer any medication to my kids. I look for usage, active ingredients, and dosage information. No need to use a cold medication with added decongestants simply to reduce a fever, and one has to be careful not to double dose if using a combination medication (like a cold medicine) in addition to a fever reducer.
I usually discuss with my kids what I’m looking for when I read the Drug Facts labels. I want to impress upon them that while medicine can be helpful, it does not cure illnesses and it can be dangerous if used incorrectly. I never dispense medications to my kids unnecessarily or for the wrong reasons.
Drug Facts labels can be confusing to understand. For more information about how to properly read and understand Drug Facts, check out this helpful interactive guide from Know Your OTCs: http://www.knowyourotcs.org/how-to-read.
If you are ever concerned that a child has gotten into an OTC medication accidentally, call poison control immediately: 1-800-222-1222
Now that the kids are heading back to school, the germs will be heading home. It’s a good time of year to check your medicine cabinet and make sure you’re well stocked with the essentials. Fevers, tummy aches, mysterious rashes, coughs, and colds are all right around the corner. Don’t forget about lice! (Yikes!)
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by KnowYourOTCs educational program which has provided me compensation to write about the safe and appropriate use of OTCs. All content, views, and opinions are my own.