Safety First: Prescription Medications and You

Safety First
Here are a few safety tips to prevent dangerous problems with prescription medications:

Medication Bottles• Never use someone else's prescription medication, even if it's for the same condition.

• If you do not need to finish the prescription, throw the rest away. Also, throw away any old prescriptions, especially if their expiration date has passed.

• Store prescription medications in their original containers as the label contains important information about the drug. The wrong person may mistakenly take medicines that are not clearly marked, which can be dangerous.

• If you need to take your prescription medications during the night, turn a light on. Don't take medications in the dark as you may inadvertently take the wrong ones or the wrong dose.

• Never take any medications from a package that has broken seals, puncture holes, or open or damaged wrappings, as these are signs of tampering.

• Keep important phone numbers on all your phones including your doctor, pharmacy, emergency medical service and poison control.

• Even though many people have medicine cabinets in their bathrooms, this is not the best place to store prescription medications. Heat or moisture may cause the medication to break down. Instead, store them in a cool, dark cabinet. Also, throw away the cotton ball that's comes in the bottle - it may draw moisture into the container.

• Keep all prescription medicines in a locked cabinet, well out of the reach of children. Ask for child-resistant safety caps and make sure they are closed tightly. Never let young children take medications unsupervised.

Medicine Cabinet Check-Up
Have you gone through your medicine cabinet lately? Not sure what you should keep and what you should throw away? Give your medicine cabinet a check-up…

What to Keep
Analgesic (pain reliever)
Antibiotic ointment (reduces risk of infection)
Antacid (relieves upset stomach)
Antihistamine (relieves allergy symptoms)
Syrup of ipecac (induces vomiting)
Decongestant (relieves stuffy nose and other cold symptoms)
Fever reducer (adult and child)
Hydrocortisone (relieves itching and inflammation)
Antiseptic (helps stop infection)
First aid supplies (bandages, disinfectant, gauze pads, adhesive tape)
Supplies (thermometer, tweezer, dosing spoon/marked syringe)

What to Throw Away
Any duplicate medications
Any medications whose expiration date has passed
Any left-over prescription medications
Any medications in damaged containers
Any medications that have no label
Old supplies, devices or any outdated products

Clean your medicine cabinet at least once a year. This will help you remember what you have and allow you to get rid of what you don't need. If you are not sure whether or not to throw a prescription medication away, call your doctor for more information.

Updated on: 09/23/16
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Prescription Medications and You
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Prescription Medications and You

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