Medicine is extremely beneficial, but can also be dangerous. Although it can heal and control health issues, too much medicine can be harmful. More and more people are accidentally overdosing on prescribed medication. Understanding what an overdose is and how to prevent it is an important part of staying safe and protecting your health. Here’s what happens if you take too much medicine.
What Is An Overdose?
It’s important to understand what constitutes an overdose so you can avoid it. Simply put, an accidental overdose happens when you take too much of a prescribed medication so that it causes harm to your health beyond the listed possible side effects. Almost all medicine contains possible side effects. These side effects don’t always affect people the same way.
For instance, some medications can become addictive, more so for certain people. Understanding the dangers of certain medications is key to avoiding an overdose. If you notice that your medications are becoming less effective, your body may be building a tolerance. Rather than increasing your dosage, consult your healthcare professionals about your concerns.
Taking medicine by mistake, taking too much medicine, or taking the wrong medication are all common causes of an accidental overdose. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening!
Preventing Accidental Overdoses
There are several steps you can take to avoid taking too much medicine. Consider the following.
Clearly Label All Medications
Avoid taking too much medicine, or the wrong medicine by clearly labeling all medications kept in your household, even if you no longer take them. Most individuals have little knowledge about medicine and all those little pills start to look alike. Improper labeling or storage can easily result in taking one medication instead of another, resulting in a possible overdose.
Set A Schedule And Stick To It
Medicine is helpful, but can also only be taken so often. Taking doses too close to each other can be just as harmful as taking a large dose. Set reminders on your phone or sticky notes to help remember when your last dose was as well as when your next dose should be.
Keep Medicine Locked Up
Sometimes, children get into medicine cabinets looking for “candy”. Children are more likely to be affected by medications as their bodies are smaller. Whether you have children in the house or not, consider locking all of your medication in a high cabinet to prevent accidental overdose in children.
Consult Your Physician
Never increase your dosage or change medications without first consulting your healthcare professional. Doing so could lead to unforeseen side effects that could potentially be fatal. If your medicine is becoming less effective or causing issues, tell your physician immediately.
What To Do If You Take Too Much Medicine
If you accidentally take too much medicine, don’t panic. Depending on what medicine you took too much of, the steps you need to take may differ. However, here are a few steps you should consider upon realizing you took too much medicine.
Don’t hesitate to call emergency services, especially if you begin to feel drowsy. If a loved one took too much medicine and is unresponsive, don’t assume they are simply asleep. Call 911 immediately and get medical attention.
Call Poison Control
If you are unsure whether you or a loved one is in danger due to an overdose, or you don’t see any immediate side effects, call poison control.
Go To The Hospital
If you accidentally take too much medicine, you should go to the hospital for a full exam. Inform the staff which medications you took, and if possible, bring them along. Even expired medication can result in health issues, so be sure to provide as much information about what you took as possible.