Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Nonprescription Medication Overdose In Children (Inpatient 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.
You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
High doses of OTC medicine may be very harmful to your child. Large amounts of acetaminophen may cause liver damage and liver failure. An overdose of cough and cold medicine may cause seizures and other life-threatening side effects. An overdose of NSAIDs may cause bleeding in the stomach. Alcohol is used in many OTC medicines. If your child has an overdose of OTC medicine, he may also have an alcohol overdose. Alcohol overdose may increase the chance of liver damage and stomach bleeding. Ask your child's caregiver for more information on the risks of an OTC medicine overdose.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
Intake and output:
Caregivers may need to know how much liquid your child is getting and urinating. Your child may need to urinate into a container in bed or in the toilet. A caregiver will measure the amount of urine. If your child wears diapers, a caregiver may need to weigh them. Do not throw away diapers or flush urine down the toilet before asking a caregiver.
An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein. Caregivers use the IV to give your child medicine or liquids.
Your child may need oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. Oxygen will help your child breathe easier. Your child may get oxygen through small tubes placed in his nostrils, or through a mask. He may instead be placed in an oxygen tent. Never take off your child's oxygen tubes or mask or remove him from the tent without asking his caregiver first.
Caregivers will check your child's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask you or your child about his pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your child's current health.
A nasogastric tube is also known as a NG tube. It is a tube that runs from your child's nose to his stomach. The tube may be attached to suction (vacuum) to remove the medicine from your child's stomach. Your child may also be given medicine through this tube, such as activated charcoal. Ask your child's caregiver for more information on the NG tube.
- Blood gases: These tests are also called arterial blood gases (ABGs). Blood is taken from an artery usually in your child's wrist. ABGs may be done if your child has trouble breathing or other problems caused by his illness.
- Blood tests: Your child may need blood taken for tests. Tests may be needed to measure how your child's kidneys and liver are doing. Tests to measure your child's electrolytes (body salts) or blood sugar may also be needed. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV. Blood tests can give caregivers more information about your child's health condition. Your child may need to have blood drawn more than once. Ask your child's caregiver for more information on tests he may need.
- 12 Lead EKG: This test helps caregivers see your child's heart activity. It helps caregivers look for changes or problems in different areas of the heart. Sticky pads are placed on your child's chest, arms, and legs. Each pad has a wire that is hooked to a machine or TV-like screen. This machine shows a tracing of your child's heartbeat. This test takes about five to ten minutes. Your child must lie very still during the test.
Treatment options for a mild nonprescription medication overdose:
Your child may need one or more of the following treatments for a mild overdose:
- Activated charcoal: Activated charcoal is a medicine that may be in the form of a powder or liquid. Caregivers may give activated charcoal to your child if he has swallowed too much medicine. Activated charcoal helps soak up the medicine that is still in your child's stomach. Your child may vomit when given activated charcoal.
- Emetics: Emetics are medicines that cause your child to throw up. Throwing up may help remove the medicine from your child's stomach, so less is taken in by his body.
- Gastric lavage: Gastric lavage is sometimes called having your stomach pumped. The caregivers clean out your child's stomach to get rid of as much medicine as they can.
- N-acetylcysteine: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antidote. It stops the effect of some types of medicine in your child's body. NAC may prevent some of the problems caused by your child's overdose. It can be given as medicine that your child swallows or through an IV.
Treatment options for a severe or life-threatening nonprescription medication overdose:
Your child may need one or more of the following treatments for a severe or life-threatening overdose:
- Anticonvulsants: This medicine is given to stop seizures that may be caused by a medicine overdose.
- Sedatives: If your child is upset or agitated (easily angered), sedatives are medicines that may help keep him calm and relaxed.
- Vasopressors: A medicine overdose may cause your child's blood pressure to go lower than it should. Vasopressors are medicines that help constrict (make smaller) the blood vessels and increase your child's blood pressure.
- Ventilator: A ventilator is a machine that helps your child breathe if he cannot breathe well on his own. He may have an endotracheal (ET) tube in his mouth or nose. A tube called a trach may go into an incision (cut) in the front of his neck. The ET tube or trach is attached to the ventilator. Ask your child's caregiver for more information on ventilators.
- Liver transplant: If your child's liver is badly damaged by a medicine overdose, he may need a liver transplant. This is surgery to replace your child's damaged liver with a healthy donor liver. Ask your child's caregiver for more information on liver transplants.
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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.