Medicines can help your child feel better and get well when they are sick. But, if you don’t follow the dosage and storage instructions, they can be harmful to your child’s health.
Medicines are supposed to make your child feel better when they are sick, but they can also have the opposite effect if you don’t follow the directions for usage carefully.
“Some side effects are mild like an upset stomach while others can be more serious like liver damage,” says Mogologolo Phasha, chairman of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association. “When you follow the directions on the medicine label, or from your pharmacist, you get the best results.”
Administer medicine to your child properly
- Follow the directions on the medicine label carefully.
- If you don’t understand the directions, ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain them to you.
- Keep a list of all the medicines, vitamins, minerals, and herbs you use. Share this information with your pharmacist and doctor.
- Always ensure your child completes a course of medication. It takes a certain length of time of exposure to a specific antibiotic or antiviral drug in order to kill the bacteria or virus. If the medication is not taken for the correct length of time, some of the bacteria or viruses can survive, multiply and cause the infection to recur – meaning your child is back where they started. Inadequate treatment can also promote the development of resistance to the drug by the bacterium or virus and the antibiotic or antiviral drug may not work at all.
- Your child’s script is for your child alone. It seems simple enough – you’re sick, your child has some extra/leftover prescription medication that is just going to waste, so why not take it yourself? This should never be done.
Storing medicine safely
In addition to the proper use of medicine, storing it correctly – and safely – is also important.
- There are many factors that can damage your child’s medication, including heat, air, light, and moisture. Exposing medicines to the wrong conditions can render them ineffective, or even harmful if ingested. It’s important to remember that where you store your child’s medicines can affect their potency and safety.
- Every medication has its own recommended storage condition: from room temperature to refrigeration, to freezing. Check with your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions.
- The majority of medications can be stored at room temperature, in a cool dry place. Examples include a drawer in your bedroom, a cupboard, a storage box, or a shelf. It’s best to avoid the bathroom medicine cabinet because the heat and moisture from your shower, bath, and basin can damage your medicine.
- The kitchen is also not a good place to store medicine, since heat from the stove, sink, and kettle can cause damage.
- Always remember to store your medication out of sight and out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental swallowing.