How to safely manage your medications
By Chaplain Dan Langerock
Sorting through what you have in the way of medications is an important endeavor for keeping you healthy. Here are a few tips for you to consider as you do this vital job:
Sort out medicines that are outdated
Look at the label on the pill bottle and ascertain when it will expire. If it is past the date then dump it. Also, if you are no longer taking this medication, discard it. Expired medicines are dangerous to keep around.
Take all the medicine your doctor prescribes
Some people have a bad habit of only taking medicines until they feel better, then they have more of a chance of recurring symptoms. This is especially true of antibiotics. Taking these in the wrong manner can facilitate mutations of the virus you have already when it is not eradicated as prescribed.
Another reason people save their medicine is to have some when they donít feel well, just in case. This will not help you in this instance, because it takes a certain amount of medicine over a given time period to be a curative.
Be aware of the side-effects of each one
You must not only know the side-effects of each one, but also their interaction with other medicines you are taking, over-the-counter or otherwise. You should also know if certain foods or drinks are disallowed while you are taking said medication.
This type of information can be acquired from your pharmacist. The best way would be to take all the medicines you are taking for him to look over and then write down what he says. Also, as you get more medicine from whatever source, call or revisit the pharmacy.
Advise a professional if you have unusual symptoms
If you are starting a new medicine and have symptoms that you believe are not right, advise your doctor or pharmacist and follow their advice. Unfortunately, we donít always know the effects until after these have been paid for. Just be aware of what is happening in your body so you know when something is not right, to keep from hurting yourself.
Donít share prescriptions with others
You have no idea what affect your prescription will have on this person. It has been prescribed for you alone by your doctor who knows your history and about you in general. Think how you would feel if something happened to this person after you gave them some of your medicine.
What are all your medicines for?
Sometimes labels come off bottles and you will not know what this medicine is for, so discard it unless you are 100% sure.. Just to be safe, take it to your pharmacist and ask what it is. Donít assume, because this can be deadly. While you are at it, look for medicines that have gone bad as you sort. Sometimes heat or other factors can make a medicine ďgo southĒ.
While these pointers are addressed mainly to prescriptions you may have around the house, this can also apply to over-the-counter medications including pills, vitamins, liquids like Pepto-Bismol or Mylanta. Just about every medicine has an expiration date, but it may take a little looking to find it. The point is, to be aware of what you have in your home and that is safe to still be there. You can severely harm yourself by taking medications that are no longer good. It could even be deadly to you. Be careful and be wise in what you keep, and consult a professional when needed.
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