It's easy to mind the label when you're just popping an aspirin for a sprained ankle. If you're taking an entire regimen of pills, however, or if you're frequently put on intravenous fluids, it can be harder to keep track of safe and accurate dosages. Here are just a few reasons why you should be keeping an eye on the bottle or bag.
This is the most obvious reason to pay attention to your medication. Accidental overdoses are a problem in both home- and hospital-based healthcare, and bad reactions to IV drugs account for 60 percent of life-threatening complications among hospital patients. The good news is that it's entirely possible to sidestep this statistic. Just remain vigilant about your dosages, and don't take for granted that your nurses are paying attention like you are. Double-check their work. Speak up if something is wrong.
Tracking and recording your dosages can reveal important information about your medical condition. For example, if a drug starts increasing your white cell count after three days of using it, that might say something about the progression of your cancer. If you start to experience side effects after a certain amount of insulin, you'll need to lower the milligrams to manage your diabetes.
Increasing Comfort and Convenience
There are numerous drawbacks to constantly worrying about your dosages. Fortunately, there are ways to simplify the process. Things like smart IV pumps can deliver both primary and secondary IV fluids on a set schedule, so you won't have to fuss with tubes when it's time to make the switch. They can also be auto-programmed for things like dosage documentation, so you won't need to concern yourself with tracking the relevant data.
There's always a risk of dependency when you take something like prescription pain medication, so you'll need to be cautious with both your dosages and your dosage times. Don't take more pills than you need, and wait until the proper amount of time has passed before you pop open the bottle again. If the label says that you're only meant to take them every six hours, don't cheat and take them at five-and-a-half hours. Little indulgences can turn into serious addictions.
These are just a few reasons to pay attention to your dosages. Whether you're taking over-the-counter medication for a cold or receiving intravenous fluids for a serious medical condition, your dosages should always be carefully monitored and recorded. Your health is too important to leave it to chance.
By Rachelle Wilber
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