Medicine safety
Here are a few helpful hints to help you be safety smart about medicines.

Store medicines correctly

Make sure you store your medicines in a cool, dry place well out of reach of children. Check the labels: some medicines need to be stored in a refridgerator, especially if you live in a hot climate.

Do not overdose

Stick to the dosage instructions and always give your child paediatric or infant meds. Giving your child a quarter of the dosage of an adult medication can be very dangerous.

Give prescribed medicine to the right person

Do not give your child medicine that was prescribed for another child.

Never leave medicines lying around the house

They could easily be mistaken as sweets by a child. Mande says that many children are taken to the emergency room after swallowing their mom’s contraceptive pills or pain tablets that were casually left lying about. Also be careful about leaving pills in your handbag as little hands could easily find it there.

Dispose of them properly

Take any unwanted or expired medicine to your pharmacy. They will dispose of it as medical waste. Putting these medications in a plastic bag and throwing them in the bin means that they land up on a landfill, where other people and children may get hold of them and get sick as a result, or where they can leach into the soil and ground water.

Chuck expired medicine

Go through your medicine kit regularly and throw away any old medicines that have expired. They won't be effective at best, and could do harm at worst. Especially check eye drops: they should normally be discarded after 30 days and could cause serious eye infections if used later. (Extra tip: ensure you never touch the eye or eyelashes when administering eye drops to stop infections from spreading.)

Your first aid kit

Mande says that when it comes to first aid kits, the basic ones are perfectly adequate for dealing with household medical needs. You can get these at any pharmacy. She adds, “Don’t put any medication in these kits as it could expire or your child might get hold of it. It’s also a good idea to put extra plasters in your first aid kit, as that’s what most folks run out the quickest.”

Helpful hint: A spoonful of sugar

The old adage is completely right: a spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down. “Putting a bit of sugar in the teaspoon of pain syrup that you give your child helps the medicine work faster,” says Mande.

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