Measure Twice, Dose Once
What do you think of when you think of a spoonful? Chances are it’s different than what other people may picture in their minds. After all, spoons come in all shapes and sizes. So when a medication says a dose is “two teaspoons” how do you know that’s what you are actually giving?
A new study published today in the journal “Pediatrics” shows that 40 percent of parents make serious errors in judgment when it comes to the proper amount of medication for their children. It also found parents were twice as likely to make a mistake when doses were listed in teaspoons or tablespoons rather than milliliters. According to Carolyn Sanchez, M.D., a pediatrician at the University of Utah South Jordan Health Center, when it comes to medications, put the spoons down. “Parents should always measure medications with the provided medication cup or syringe,” she says, “Some medications are very dose sensitive and a small change in dose can cause serious problems.” The Pediatrics study shows that most of the time the dosage mistake is not small at all – around twenty percent higher or lower than the prescribed amount on average.
What should a parent do if they suspect a dosing mistake? Get help immediately. “If you give a medication and realize you have given too much, call poison control. They will tell you the signs and symptoms to watch for,” says Sanchez, “Poison control will review in what time period these symptoms may occur. They will advise you to seek medical attention right away if necessary.” You can reach poison control at 1-800-222-1222.
Of course, preventing medication mistakes is always the best option. “When filling a new prescription or buying a new over the counter medication, always review the proper dosage and proper measurement with the pharmacist,” says Sanchez, “Do not take multiple medications at the same time without first checking with your doctor or local pharmacist to verify that they are safe to take together.”
A little precision will make sure medications help, and don’t end up hurting instead.
About the author:
Libby Mitchell is the Social Media Coordinator for University of Utah Health Care. Follow her on Twitter @UUHCLibbycomments powered by Disqus