How Much Do You Know About Poison Prevention?
Pharmacy Association Offers Healthful Advice During Poison Prevention Week (March 16-22)
Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists
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PHILADELPHIA, March 10, 1997 -- When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? It's time to push up your sleeves and start your spring cleaning. In recognition of Poison Prevention Week, March 16-22, the Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists (PARD), a nonprofit organization representing independent community pharmacies throughout the Delaware Valley, is launching an awareness campaign about poison prevention.
"PARD's goal is to raise awareness in the local communities on the dangers of accidental poisonings and to inform patients on preventative measures," explained Gerald Mazzucca, PARD Executive Director. "We encourage patients to take advantage of the personal consultations community pharmacists provide to discuss their questions and concerns about their medications."
PARD has addressed some common questions patients ask about poison prevention.
Does it really matter if I take medication after it expires?
It is important to clean out your medicine cabinet periodically and throw out medicines, which have either expired or are more than two years old. Once a medication has expired the product begins to breakdown. It becomes a sub-therapeutic dose, weakened in strength, and could cause adverse reactions. Some warning signs that medication has gone bad include: discoloration or residue at the bottom of the bottle; pills that are crumbly or give off a vinegary odor; ointments that have separated.
I have young children, how can I safeguard my home?
This year's theme of Poison Prevention Week is "Children Act Fast ... So Do Poisons." PARD recommends the following: never refer to medication as candy; keep all medications safely out of children's reach; all cabinets, drawers and medicine chests should have child-proof locks; use products with child-resistant packaging, especially medicines and household chemicals and close securely; store medicines and household products in their original containers -- never in cups or soft-drink bottles.
I take a lot of different medications. Am I at risk?
As long as you are under a healthcare provider's guidance, it is okay to be taking multiple medications. However, it is very important to keep your pharmacist informed about additions and deletions to your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to prevent hazardous drug interactions. Some other helpful tips to avoid accidental poisonings include: never mix medications in the same container -- some chemicals react with each other and neutralize the medicines or cause harmful side effects; categorize and label all your medications to prevent confusion; talk to your community pharmacist about developing a medication management schedule; and keep all medications out of the reach of (grand)children.
Are there any good housekeeping rules I can use to prevent accidental poisonings?
Always remember, never administer or take medications prescribed for someone else, even if the symptoms are similar. It is a good idea to get in the habit of always turning on the lights before taking or giving any medications to ensure that you are able to identify medication properly. Keep the Poison Control Center's number next to all the phones and in case of an emergency, immediately call the Poison Control Center at 215-386-2100, or 800-722-7112 outside the 215 area code. It is important to store all medications separately from household products and store all household chemical products away from food. You should keep items in their original containers. Don't forget to take advantage of the one-on-one consultations provided by community pharmacists -- ask questions about your prescriptions to ensure maximum health benefits and that they are taken properly.
To receive free literature on preventing accidental poisonings, call PARD at 215-977-8534.
CONTACT: Romy Saltzburg of Communications Solutions Group, 215-884-6499, for the Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists