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Medication safety at home

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Medication is a medicine or kind of chemical compound administered for diagnosis, cure, treatment, or relief of a symptom or prevention of disease.

Medication can help you feel better and recover from illness. However, medications can be harmful if you don’t take them as prescribed. By closely adhering to the directions on the medicine label or those provided by your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse, you can reduce your risk of experiencing adverse medication effects.

When used correctly, medicines can lead to,

Better life quality

Healthier life

Longer life

Now let’s talk about how to use medicines safely at home,

When you feel bad, don’t try to be your doctor

When you’re sick, the best course of action is to see your doctor. But if you buy over-the-counter medicine, make sure you carefully read the directions and labels. Remember that some people may react negatively to certain medications, such as antibiotics like penicillin.

There are two main types of medicines,

Prescription medicines – Prescription drugs are those that you can only obtain with a doctor’s prescription or order. These medications are purchased from a pharmacy.

If your name appears on the prescription, then using these medications is safe. It can be very dangerous to take someone else’s prescription medication.

There are instances when you can select between brand-name and generic medications. While generic and name-brand medications function similarly, generic drugs are typically less expensive.

Over-the-counter medicines – Medications that are available without a prescription at a pharmacy are known as over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Examples of over-the-counter medications are:

  • medications for the flu and cold
  • aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are examples of painkillers
  • medications for allergies
  • Sleep aids
  • Fluoride toothpaste for teeth

Meet and talk with your healthcare provider

1. Before you visit, make a list of questions you need to ask a doctor.

Examples: The question you might have regarding a sickness, its signs and symptoms, or treatments.

The need to keep taking existing medications.

Therapies without drugs.

Over-the-counter arrangements.

Lab work and follow-up appointments are required.

2. After the doctor’s visit, follow your doctor’s instructions,

Medication Do’s

  1. Keep your medication somewhere dry and cool.
  2. Always store medications in the original packaging or container they came in.
  3. After using your medication, replace the cap to prevent contaminating the contents.
  4. To safely store your medications, use a sturdy medicine box.
  5. If you keep medications in your refrigerator, make sure the temperature is appropriate.

You must keep the medication in the refrigerator if the packaging’s instructions state to “keep refrigerated” or “store at 2 – 8°C.”

The pharmacy’s refrigerators are outfitted with gadgets that show the temperature inside the appliance right now. However, the majority of home refrigerators don’t show the current temperature. Consequently, it is advised to take the following actions when storing medications in a home refrigerator:

  • Medication should be kept apart from other items in the refrigerator and in the center of the shelves.
  • To prevent the formation of ice crystals that could harm the medications, keep them away from the freezer section and the air vents.
  • Medication should not be kept by the refrigerator door since it will expose it to inconsistent temperatures every time it is opened.
  • Please make sure that children cannot easily access medications.

The following are a few instances of pharmacy-purchased medications that must be refrigerated at home:

Insulin injection

Erythropoietin injection

Eye drops

Ear drops

6. Only the measuring tools included with the medication should be used when using liquid medication.

    Liquid medication such as solution, suspension, and syrup. These products are mostly used for children. Make sure you are aware of the precise dosage and volume of liquid required for each dosage. For over-the-counter products, especially for small children, use the child’s weight rather than their age to calculate the dosage.
    Typically, liquid dosages are expressed in milliliters, teaspoons, or tablespoons.

    7. Make use of the appropriate drug schedule.

    8. Avoid using topical medications near hand cream or toothpaste.

    9. Ensure that you always carry a current medication list with you, either in your wallet or next to your phone.

    10. Make sure your neighbor, always carries a current medication list with your family member, or friend is aware of where you keep your list and medications.

    11. Verify that you understand how to take the medication. For example, make a note of whether you should swallow, chew, place under your tongue, apply externally, inhale, or insert as a suppository. It’s critical to administer the medication as directed.

    12. Carefully read the instructions and label on the medication. To prevent unfavorable outcomes, pay attention to the dosage, ingredients, indications, warnings, and side effects. For instance, mixing certain medications with alcohol can make them toxic.

    13. You should stop taking medication right away and see your doctor if you experience any side effects, such as a rash, headache, stomachache, or other reactions.

    14. Children should always be watched while taking medication, but soft gel capsules should be used with particular caution. When giving medication to children, parents, and other caregivers should always follow the directions on the packaging.

    15.Unless prescribed by a physician, women who are pregnant or nursing should not use or take medications, as some medications may enter the placenta or breast milk and have negative effects on the developing fetus or newborn.

    16. If you suspect that any serious side affects you are experiencing are related to your medication, get medical help as soon as possible.

    17. It is recommended to swallow the majority of oral medications, including tablets, whole with water. Unless specifically instructed by a doctor or after consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist, tablets should not be crushed or broken before consumption.

    18. Make use of child-proof bottles.

    19. Recognize the color, shape, and size of your medications.

    20. Don’t take an extra dose of your medication the next time if you miss one dose. Poisoning may ensue from an overdose of this.

    Medication Don’ts,

    1. Never take someone else’s medication. Similar symptoms do not always indicate the same illness. Using someone else’s prescription or medication left over from an earlier illness carries a high risk of harm.
    2. Make use of expired prescription drugs.
    3. Always consult your doctor before discontinuing a medication.

    Especially, to cure the illness, if you’re taking antibiotics, you have to finish the course of treatment. If you discontinue the medication before the full course of treatment, for instance, after your symptoms have subsided, bacteria in your body might grow resistant to the antibiotics.

    4. You should never mix medications in one bottle.

    5. Unless your doctor specifically instructs you otherwise, don’t adjust your medication schedule.

    Sources:

    https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk/eps/do/en/consumer/news_informations/knowledge_on_medicines/handling_medicines_safety.html
    https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/healthy-living/safety/use-medicines-safely
    https://www.safemedication.com/how-to-use-medication/liquid-medications
    https://www.unilab.com.ph/articles/how-to-properly-store-your-medicines-at-home

    http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/storing-medications-refrigerator-keep/

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