Do you take vitamins or preventive cold and flu pills? Do you take something when you get a headache? How many prescriptions do you fill in a year? Do you know the side effects of all the pills you’re taking or which ones have been recalled? Probably not, right? Well don’t feel bad neither did I. It’s just how things are. We take pills not only when we don’t feel well but we even take them to prevent feeling unwell.
Since World Health Day was April 7th the American Recall Center is celebrating good health throughout the whole month of April by focusing their attention on the importance of living healthy and medication safety. I decided to join their efforts in spreading awareness about medication safety by writing about my personal experience with asking doctors questions, staying informed, and doing the necessary research about medications before taking them.
Being allergic to penicillin and having been addicted to narcotic pain relievers I’m more aware of the prescription medication I take. I research the side effects of the medication my family and I are prescribed all the time. I don’t always get straight answers from doctors so I make sure to do my own research, and if possible I’ll get second opinion (But let’s be real we don’t always have time for that). The internet can be a great source of information but it’s important to be able to recognize reputable websites and comparing your information to more than one site. For example http://www.drugs.com/sfx/
My partner and I have both been prescribed narcotics in the past and our health professional didn’t bother to mention to either of us the side effects. Although at the time we weren’t asking questions either. I find it helpful to make a list of questions before going to a doctor’s appointment that way I don’t get distracted by everything the doctor has to say. I’ll even ask the same question in a different way just to make sure we understand each other. Doctors don’t always explain things clearly so if I have a chance I’ll try to do some research before the appointment. That way I have a better idea of what’s going on and what kind of questions to ask.
I've also been staying informed by checking any medication being recalled particularly after having a baby and finding out Children Tylenol had been recalled. I haven’t always been as careful about over the counter medication like Tylenol but since having a child I’ve gotten into the habit of researching even that. That whole situation with Children Tylenol being sued for not recalling it sooner knowing it wasn’t completely safe is pretty scary when you have children. I do whatever I can to not only keep my child safe but my whole family. If something were to happen to one of us it would affect all of us.
You can read more about the ChildrenTylenol recall here.
Be safe. Be aware.