I don’t say, “Have a happy holiday.”
Instead, I say, “Have a happy and safe holiday.”
Why the difference? In my role, watching over medical safety for consumer products at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., I think about the safety of patients and consumers every day, all day. As we enter the holiday season, I’d like to pass on a few medicine safety tips that can help keep you, your family and loved ones safe.
1. Read and follow the label every time you take or administer any medicine. The label on OTC medicines contains more than just directions. It includes other important information that could matter to your health. If you have questions, contact a healthcare professional.
2. Know the active ingredient. Check every label and take ONLY ONE medicine that contains the same kind of active ingredient at a time. Did you know that the same active ingredients are found in hundreds of commonly used OTC and prescription medicines? It’s cough/cold season, and many people are reaching for OTC medicines to ease their symptoms. If you take more than one medicine with the same kind of active ingredient at the same time, it can increase your chance of experiencing harmful side effects.
3. Keep all medicines out of kids’ reach—up, away and out of sight. Young children are at higher risk of getting into medicines shortly after their use. After using a medicine or dosing a child, immediately put the medicine up, away and out of sight. During the holidays, be especially mindful that visitors commonly have medicines with them. Always ask visitors to keep their medicines out of sight and securely stored. Be extra aware when visiting others’ homes where medicines may be more accessible.
4. When dosing liquid medicines, use the device that comes with the product. Don’t use household spoons, as they can lead to under-dosing or over-dosing.
5. Have the poison center number at hand. Most global poison centers offer free, confidential medical advice, 24/7. You can reach U.S. poison centers by calling 1-800-222-1222. Either pre-program the number into your phone or text “POISON” to 797979 to easily add as a contact. (How about doing it right now?)
Finally, there is a great website with easy-to-understand information about the safe use of OTC medicines. Check it out: GET RELIEF RESPONSIBLY®. And, if you’d like to learn more about medical safety at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., visit us here.
The gift of safety is one everyone on your list will appreciate. I hope you will join me in passing on these potentially life-saving tips and wishing others a “Happy and safe holiday season.” As for the happy part, I leave that to you!