Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children (Discharge Care) Care Guide
- Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children
- Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children Aftercare Instructions
- Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children Discharge Care
- Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children Inpatient Care
- En Espanol
Nonprescription medicine is also called over-the-counter (OTC) medicine. OTC medicines include pain and fever medicine such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. They also include decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and antihistamines such as diphenhydramine. An overdose is when your child has taken more medicine than is safe to take. OTC medicine is generally safe for your child when it is taken correctly. An OTC medicine overdose may be unintentional (happen by mistake) or intentional (done on purpose). Not knowing a child's weight and not reading the medicine label are two examples of what can cause an overdose. An overdose may also happen if a child is given too much medicine or given medicine too often.
An OTC medicine overdose may be mild, or it may be a life-threatening emergency. Signs and symptoms of a mild medication overdose may include flushed (red) skin, nausea (feeling sick), and vomiting (throwing up). If the overdose is severe (very bad), your child may have seizures (convulsions) or he may be unconscious. Unconscious means your child looks like he is sleeping but he cannot be woken up. Treatment may include making your child vomit (throw up) or other methods to absorb the medicine or empty his stomach. If the overdose is severe (very bad), treatment may include medicines, breathing assistance, or surgery. Learn how to prevent an OTC medicine overdose by carefully reading your child's medicine labels and knowing your child's weight. Treating an OTC medicine overdose will help remove the medicine from your child's system and may prevent damage to your child's brain and body organs.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
Keep a current list of your child's medicines:
Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
Give your child's medicine as directed:
Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.
Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.
Do not hide medicine in your child's food or drink:
Your child may not like the taste of medicine and may try to spit it out. Do not try and hide medicine in food or drink unless your child's caregiver tells you to. Food and drink may cause medicine to not work like it should. If you hide it in food or drink, you may not be able to tell if your child swallowed his entire dose. Your child's medicine may come in different forms such as liquid, chewable tablets, or pills. If your child cannot swallow pills or does not like the taste of the liquid medicine, ask your child's caregiver about trying a different form.
Do not share medicine:
Do not let anyone else take your child's medicine. Do not let your child take someone else's medicine.
Give your child the correct amount of medicine at the correct times:
- Give your child the amount of medicine that his caregiver says you should.
- Write down how much medicine your child takes and the times when he takes it. Keeping a record will help prevent another person giving your child a dose by mistake.
- Stay on the schedule that your child's caregiver gave you. If you did not get this information from your child's caregiver, ask for it. Ask your child's caregiver what to do if your child misses a dose or a dose is not given on time.
- Use the spoon, cup, syringe, or dropper that comes with your child's medicine. Do not use kitchen teaspoons or tablespoons to measure your child's medicine because they are not correct.
Know your child's weight:
The amount of medicine your child should get is based on his weight. It is important that you know your child's weight to give him the correct dose.
Learn about your child's medicine:
Your child's caregiver may give you a handout about the medicine he is taking. This handout may help you understand how the medicine works and what the correct dose is. The handout may tell you how to give the medicine to your child and what side effects he might have. It may help you understand the medicine better.
Read the labels on your child's medicine carefully:
- Carefully check the medicine label before giving the medicine to your child. If the medicine package holds more than one tablet, check to make sure you are giving the correct number of tablets to your child.
- Check the medicine label carefully to see what age child it should be given to. Giving an infant the child dose of medicine may be dangerous because the medicine needs to be weaker for babies.
- Make sure the medicine package has not been opened before you use it. Watch your child take the medicine to make sure he is getting the correct amount.
- Read the label on your child's medicine in bright light so you can see the information clearly.
- Check the medicine label for the active ingredients. The active ingredients will show what medicine is in the bottle, such as acetaminophen. Make sure you are not giving your child more than one medicine with acetaminophen in the active ingredients.
Store your child's medicine correctly:
Ask caregivers how to store your child's medicine correctly. For example, medicine may be stored in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry cabinet that is locked.
Other ways you can help prevent an overdose:
- Do not give cough and cold medicine to children under four years old.
For more information:
Contact the following:
- 24-Hour Nationwide Poison Control Hotline
National Capital Poison Center
3201 New Mexico Avenue, Suite 310
Washington , DC 20016
Phone: 1- 800 - 222-1222
Web Address: http://www.poison.org
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta , GA 30333
Phone: 1- 800 - 232-4636
Web Address: http://www.cdc.gov
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child is flushed (red) and is more tired than usual.
- Your child is sick to his stomach and throwing up.
- Your child has swallowed medicine that may be harmful, but he does not have any signs or symptoms.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's medicine or how to give it.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your child has taken too much medicine, even if you do not know how much he took.
- Your child was given too much medicine.
- Your child has pain in his belly, little or no urine, or a hard time having a bowel movement (BM).
- Your child is confused or sees or hears things that are not there.
- Your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having seizures.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.