Even when diagnosed and prescribed correctly, certain common medications have the potential to be incredibly dangerous if used in the wrong ways. An estimated 98,000 Americans die annually due to preventable medical errors. Seven thousand of those deaths are caused by medication errors. Populations, particularly at risk, include the elderly, who often take more medication and may struggle with proper precautions, and children who take the medication on accident. Here are a few simple tips to keep your home safe and avoid preventable dangers caused by medication errors.
Location, location, location
Where you keep your medicine matters when it comes to protecting those in your home. Even when medication is kept on a high shelf, it’s still possible for small children to climb and reach medications they’re not supposed to. Keep your storage area well organized, and ensure that anything that needs to be behind a locked door is safely locked away.
Double- and triple-check
When administering or taking medications, always check the label more than once. What you might first read as 25mg could easily be .25mg, a difference that could be potentially incredibly dangerous. If you’re worried about misreading your medication label, ask your nurse or pharmacist to put a zero in front of any decimal point to ensure proper dosage.
Make sure that when you are prescribed any medication for any reason, you ask exactly what it is you’re taking and what its intended purpose is. While this may seem like common sense, it’s easy to forget; you trust your doctor, and you’re confident that they’re prescribing the best medication for you. However, knowing exactly how a drug is supposed to work and in what way can be essential for identifying if something is wrong when you take it, or what the best course of action is if someone who shouldn’t be taking your medication does so accidentally.
- Keep track of your medications’ storage
- Look at the label carefully
- Ask your doctor for more information on medications you’re prescribed
It can be essential to protecting your health and the health of anyone in your home.