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Officials: Seniors Face Higher Poisoning Risk
Written by Andrew Forgotch
Last updated on January 25, 2013 @ 7:49PM
Created on January 25, 2013 @ 6:25PM
 
Since we were young we're told to stay away from dangerous materials, but it seems like we're losing that message as we get older.
 
Officials at the West Virginia Poison Center said they're seeing more and more senior patients. As folks get older they tend to take a lot more medications on a regular basis. When taking more medications it's harder to keep the pills straight.
 
According to officials at the center they're treating about 50 seniors a month who have mixed up their medication.
 
If you take an extra dose of something,take something at the wrong time, or make a mistake with stronger medications can have serious consequences.
 
Officials passed along a number of tips to 5 News.
 
The tips include:
  • Keep an up-to-date list of all medications taken and what they are being taken for. This list should include prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, AND herbal supplements.  All of these products count.
  • Share this up-to-date medication list at every doctor, dentist, or pharmacy visit.  This will help ensure that there are no drug interactions.
  • If given a new prescription, always ask if this replaces a medication or should be taken in addition to current medications.
  • Ask the pharmacist if there are any food interactions with the medication. Some foods, like grapefruit or grapefruit juice, can make some medications less likely to work or more likely to cause harmful drug reactions.
  • Keep all original medication containers even if a pill minder or other pill storage device is used.  The original container includes specific dosing instructions, drug name, and drug description which are important pieces of information to be able to refer back to.
  • Always read the medication label prior to taking the medication to avoid mistaking medications or taking too much of a medication.  If pill storage boxes are used, a typed instruction chart can be placed next to where the box is stored.
  • Never take more medication than what is prescribed.  Call your physician for recommendations if you believe that the medication is not working well enough for you.
  • Track medications using a check-off list or medication journal. This helps prevent taking extra doses by accident.
  • Dispose of all medications that are no longer needed, such as expired medications and prescriptions that have been discontinued.
  • Never take someone else's medication. In addition to being illegal, it can result in serious harm, including death.

The number for the West Virginia Poison Center is 1-800-222-1222.

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