Top mistakes which make “LIFE-SAVING” medicines “LIFE-KILLING”

Our ancestors were known for living without medicines but we have trapped ourselves and our future generations with medicines.I wanted to write down this article when I learnt few habits with respect to handling medicines from my husband. He used to carry a small first aid kit with him wherever he travels.The warnings he had given me all through and the outcomes of all my personal experiences are here for you to read and realise how small mistakes in handling/taking life-saving medicines can kill our lives.

  • SELF-MEDICATION-All of you can guess this item under this topic.But have we really stopped this worst habit of self medicating?. The answer honestly should be NO.Doctors/Medical Practitioners examine a patient,enquire thoroughly on medical history and then provide a prescription which is relevant to that scenario. But we try to have medicines by ourselves based on our “so-called” knowledge/word of mouth or use any over-the-counter.There will be no danger unless things happen right.But what would be the result when some side effects affect your organs unknowingly?We neither know nor can make a guess on it. Atleast adults would be able to scream on adverse effects,if any.What would infants/babies/toddlers do?They would have no clue on what had happened.Always approach a doctor when you are ill and take only the medicines prescribed by him/her.
  • Trying to use the “LAW OF DIRECT PROPORTIONS” in dosage-I have heard from many people that they take a tablet X twice the dosage than prescribed if the illness is uncontrollable.This mostly happens with pain killers. If taking one gives you good result it doesn’t necessarily imply that taking two will give you better results. People do this in the reverse manner too.I feel better than yesterday today so let me reduce my dosage. An absolute error is this. A doctor prescribes a dosage/course of medicines after having evaluating the patient and knowing the drugs. Increase the level of tolerance in you rather than increasing a drug dosage.Any illness will have its own course of action in your body and in the similar fashion every drug will have its own reacting time.
  • REUSING A PRESCRIPTION-Most of us try to self-medicate from our earlier prescriptions.We try to buy the medicines which had been prescribed by the doctor few months ago for the same illness instead of visiting the doctor again.Of-course every hospital has a long queue and many eat your entire day before you get an appointment.But is your well-being not more important?You might suffer from the same simple fever which you had suffered 6 months ago.But using the same medicines without doctor advice is definitely not advisable.
  • LETHARGIC PURCHASE AT PHARMACY-How many of us read the label in the medicine,check for expiry date,check for match of drugs as prescribed by doctor at the moment we purchase from the pharmacy?We don’t do at all.We assume that the medicines we take home are the ones which the prescription reads.NEVER ASSUME.HAVE AN EYE.Have you ever been keen on noticing that the name of medicine & expiry date is not cut in the medicine strip provided?The answer is again a NO atleast from 50% of us. This lethargy ends up in many confusions. Say for example,doctor has prescribed you a medicine X for giddiness during travel and you have this medicine X with other “n” number of other medicines.In case of emergency how would it be possible for you or someone who is accompanying you to identify this medicine X if the name is cut?The emergency condition will still worsen.Always keep in mind to carefully read all instructions/labels in the medicine,verify the name across the doctor’s prescription and also check for expiry date right at the counter before you pay the bill and receive a bill only if it covers all information.
  • HOARDING DRUGS-In every house there will be strip of paracetamol.Hope none of you will deny this. I agree that fever is quite common and we need the medicine handy. But please make it a point to consult your family doctor 3 months once on emergency/preliminary drugs for the family and then have it handy.I say this because drugs keep changing and so are the medical conditions.We are no experts at it. You would have noticed many messages floating around saying few very commonly used drugs were banned .How dangerous it would be when we hoard such a “banned” medicine and try to provide our sickly kith and kin?Keep a note of the expiry date and kindly throw away expired drugs right away. Because when a real emergency occurs not all of us will have that presence of mind to verify the name,expiry date and stuffs. My husband always revives the contents of his first aid kit and places the then prescription and bill in the box. He makes it a point to discard the expired medicines immediately.
  • NOT CARING ABOUT SHELF LIFE-We have been used with the term “EXPIRY DATE” w.r.t medicines.There is something called shelf life too.When I had visited my son’s pediatrician she enlightened me on this.There are few types of syrups/drops/tonic/pills which comes with an instruction like “Use it within 5 days from day of opening the bottle/Don’t use beyond 24 hours of suspending the medicine”. Be careful to note such specific instructions and discard the medicines then and there.
  • SHARING PRESCRIPTIONS-Sharing always comes out of caring but that would not be the case with medicines. Sharing might turn fatal.We would come across this statement very often “Medicine Z gave me a quick relief,why don’t take a try?”. Wanna take a try and stay at bed permanently? Please don’t share your medications with anyone else. Remember you are unique and so is the person at the receiving end. Medical conditions,physiology,drug reactions are not going to be the same even if the symptoms and complications sound similar.
  • TAKING OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICINES/ALTERNATE MEDICINES-We have the habit of trusting the pharmacists/workers in the pharmacy than our doctors. A medical emergency occurs and the next immediate move of 90% of the population would be to reach a near-by medical shop and ask for a medicine by murmuring tits and bits of the actual scenario. Even if the pharmacy people refuse to offer any medication without prescription we would be ready to make all possible dramas to get the medicine or atleast the name of the medicine. This is equally harmful as self-medication.Many OTC drugs have proved to be fatal and that is the reason behind making it compulsory to provide prescription at the time of purchase.(Some pharmacies crack us down by demanding prescription for certain items they sell which is never prescribed by  any doctor like health drink mix,inhalers etc).The next common thing which happens is accepting /using a drug X instead of drug Y(prescribed) just because it was not easily available. Always have the habit of asking the doctor if the medicines prescribed would be easily available across the city.If the answer is going to be no,take it as your right to know the alternative medicine from medical practitioner at the same juncture.
  • SHOWCASING YOUR PHYSICAL STRENGTH ON PILLS-Do you find the topic funny? How many of try to break the unbreakable tablets before swallowing it?Many powder the tablets and consume. A few have the habit of scrapping a top layer since it gives a bitter taste. Many others discard few parts of a capsule. All these might seem as jokes. But they might turn into serious health issues at times. Know the right way to consume a medicine and do it right.
  • WRONG COMBINATION OF FOOD-Always make it a habit to know from your doctor what food have to be avoided when you are on a medication. Few foods might react adversely with certain combination of drugs or a lot of foods might not let drugs to react right.Hence know them right and incorporate them into your food accordingly.It is mandatory to avoid alcohol,tobacco and nicotine products since it might have an adverse effect.

To sum up,keep your doctor as the first point of contact and reliance when it comes to treating sickness and medicines.Speak to your doctor very clearly on the following

  1. What are the medicines prescribed along with the dosage?
  2. What are the possible side effects and immediate remedies?
  3. Medical allergies,if any
  4. What type of food to avoid?
  5. Availability of the medicine in pharmacies across the city and alternate medicines
  6. When to increase/decrease the dosage?
  7. Symptoms/Necessity to stop usage of medicine,if any

Wishing you a healthy and happy life 🙂

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