A well-stocked medicine cabinet can be a life-saver when it comes to helping a grumpy child suffering a runny nose or sore throat. We’ve rounded up a list of tips and advice to help you ensure your medicine cabinet is tot safe.
Most moms and dads keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet to deal with the ailments that affect their children early in life. If chosen cautiously and correctly, and if you adhere to the correct dosage instructions for the intended age group, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can be used quite safely. But, giving children the wrong type of medicines or expired medications can result in dangerous or potentially life-threatening side-effects.
Pharmacist Tasneem Mukadam-Waja explains why you shouldn’t use a medicine past its expiry date:
- The effectiveness of the medicine is unpredictable and, therefore, it’s unsuitable to use.
- Bacterial growth may have taken place.
- The degradation of active ingredients due to exposure to temperature, light, humidity, and microbes will cause the medicines to become ineffective or toxic products.
- Parents should pay particular attention to eye drops. The general rule is that eye drops are considered expired and non-useful one month after opening the container. This is to prevent dangerous microbial contamination of the eye.
- Monitor the expiry dates of all liquid medications. Dangerous physical changes in the colour, smell and consistency can occur when the medication has expired.
- Topical creams should also be checked regularly. The components in topical treatments like creams may separate when the expiry date has passed. This can lead to a non-homogenous cream and an inconsistent spread of the active ingredients, resulting in poor management of skin conditions.
Stock over-the-counter meds
It’s always useful to have your medicine cabinet stocked with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and products to treat minor illnesses and injuries at home. Pharmacist Dilon Rathnasamy suggests the following tips for the responsible use of medication:
- Never share medication between children.
- Keep all medication out of children’s reach, even if the container is child-resistant.
- Always finish the course of medicines as prescribed.
- Don’t share eye or ear drops and discard them within 28 days of opening.
- Don’t remove tablets from their original container.
- Always give your child medication as prescribed – taking more does not mean a better or faster effect.
- Don’t give your child multiple medications unless advised by your doctor. This is because your child could have an adverse reaction to certain combinations.