Let’s get started on the list of April Safety Observances: April 1st through April 7th is Medication Safety Week. The next week, April 7th through April 11th is National Work Zone Awareness Week. In addition, the monthly observances are Alcohol Awareness Month, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Injury Prevention Month. Rounding out April observances for safety is Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28th. So, we are going to have a lot to think about this month. Hopefully, these monthly reminders will help us all stay safe. Because we are already into Medication Safety Week, let’s focus on that issue. Here are good ideas that would work well for anyone who takes several prescription medications:
- Be sure to keep all prescriptions filled — It is important to have all current medication on hand and to dispose of old prescriptions and medicines every other month to avoid taking anything that’s close to or past its expiration date.
- Make a list of medications — Compile a comprehensive list and have complete understanding of what each medication does. If you are unsure about a medication, ask the physician who prescribed it for more information. This list should be available to each physician the patient visits. Find out what time of day to take each medication; some work well in the mornings, and others work better before bedtime.
- Use a pillbox to help remember when each medication should be taken — To reduce “pill burden,” organize medications in a simple pillbox with separate compartments for each day of the week. A schedule should also be available in print form to double check the accuracy of the pillbox.
- Do not take medication that is not prescribed — Medications that are not prescribed by a medical professional can have unintended side effects on one’s health and other prescriptions. Also, it is vital to continue to take all medication for the duration prescribed, even if the condition improves. (Do not take someone else’ prescription drug.)
- It is not safe to mix alcohol and prescription medications — This combination can be especially dangerous when taking medicine for sleep, pain, anxiety, or depression.
Below are some good ideas for monitoring the meds you are given:
1. Store medicine in a dry and cool place.
2. Always make sure to read medicine labels carefully. Be sure to notice what side effects may occur taking that particular medication. Note any additional instructions on your prescriptions and ensure that they’re followed as directed. Some medicines are supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, others should be taken with food.
3. Always consult with a doctor before taking supplements. Some of these supplements are made from natural ingredients; however, they still may be hazardous for certain types of people (such as those who are pregnant and individuals with liver or kidney problems).
4. Keep all medications out of the reach of children. Children may become victims of accidental overdose of prescription medicines, due to the fact that they either found something in a purse, on an open counter, or an unsecured medicine storage cabinet. Don’t take chances.
Last, but not least, driving under the influence of certain medications (prescription or over-the-counter) can be very risky. It is a fact that it is as dangerous as drinking while driving, or texting while driving. Regardless of whether the driver is a teenager or senior citizen, persons should not get behind the wheel if they are not completely alert. Also, if you work with machinery, don’t take any type of medication that causes you to become drowsy.
Let’s not abuse medications, only take them for the intended purpose. With your physician’s approval, exercise and proper diet, monitoring blood pressure, and other methods can possibly lower the need for medicines.