Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spooning Up the Wrong Dose

Many people still use kitchen spoons to measure a dose of liquid medication. Research shows that when people use kitchen spoons rather than medicine dosing spoons to measure a dose of the medication, we get it wrong.

A study of dosing errors (getting too much or too little of a given medication) reported to poison control centers found that failing to distinguish between teaspoons and tablespoons was a major cause for overdosing of cough and cold medicines and liquid acetaminophen. Although too much cough medicine is typically not a major health worry, many liquid medications contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Acetaminophen overdose is a major health concern and can lead to serious illness, liver failure and even death. And while small dosing errors may not seem like a major concern, excessive doses can add up and make it easy to exceed the recommended daily limit of the medication you are taking.

A medicine’s safety and how well it works is tied to taking the correct amount. You should always use a measuring cap, dosing spoon, measuring dropper or dosing syringe instead of relying on kitchen spoons. Dosing spoons are inexpensive and are found in all pharmacies. The cost of a simple medicine dosing spoon is a small price to pay to make sure that the dose of your liquid medication is correct and safe for you and your family.

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