June is National Safety Month!
To kick it off I thought I would share this updated post from last year.
Be Medicine Savvy
Using medicine is like using a double-edged sword. Many of us depend on medicines to keep us alive and functioning. However, we need to always remember that using medicine is serious business and requires attention to details in order to prevent dangerous side effects. (Medicine side effects are symptoms that can occur while taking the medicine.) Even vitamins and supplements can interact with our medicines and cause problems. In order to be medicine savvy, we have to understand certain concepts.
First of all, it is very important that every doctor you see gets a complete list of what you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter medications. Your pharmacist also needs this information. When all your doctors and pharmacists know what you are taking, the chance of dangerous interactions goes down dramatically. Keep a list of everything you take handy in your purse or wallet in case of emergencies. It’s very easy to forget when under the stress of an accident or illness.
Be Your Own Health Expert
Next, grasp the fact that you have the right to understand your health conditions and to work with your doctor to manage them. You are the “expert” on your health. Educate yourself on your health conditions and treatments. Learn how your medicines work. A great resource for your medicines is the Consumer Medication Information Sheets that are given to you at the pharmacy with your prescription.
These sheets contain both the brand name and the generic name, for example, Tylenol is the brand name and acetaminophen is the generic name. They tell you what the medicine does, any reasons why you should not take it, medicines that it may interact with, and side effects that can happen while using this drug. They tell you what symptoms to tell your doctor about, how to take it, and what to do if you miss a dose.
Make it a habit to read these sheets each time you get a refill. Sometimes the warnings are updated and it’s easy to forget important information. If you don’t understand something ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. There are no stupid questions!
Free Medication E-Book
For more in depth information, I have created a brief e-book on taking medications safely that you can access and print out for future reference. Please provide your first name and email address and I will send the link to you for this FREE resource.
Reliable Online Medication and Health Information Resources
The following sites provide reliable medicine and health condition information. While learning about your health condition(s) and medications can feel overwhelming, you can do it. Start with the most basic information and add to it as you are able. Many times your doctor’s office can give you printed information to get you started.
Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet
Finally, see this link to learn how to safely dispose of unneeded or expired medications.