Spring Cleaning? Don’t forget to Check Your Shelf!
Posted Apr 22 2014 10:03pm
Spring has sprung and you know what that means spring cleaning! If you haven’t thrown out your extra clutter yet, then now’s the time. If you sprang at the first chance to dust underneath the bed and wash the windows, then this is your opportunity to take a second sweep. Regardless, there’s one place you should be sure to check: your medicine cabinet.
Over time, the shelves of our home medicine cabinets accumulate with over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription drugs. When the weather is warm, we may forget about our cough and cold medicines. And when we have spring fever, we may forget about the medicine we took for that nasty case of the flu a few months ago. So, why is it important to remember what’s in our medicine cabinets? Because many teens who have reported abusing OTC medicines and/or prescription drugs said they obtained the medications from home.
Medicine abuse poses serious risks to the well being of teenagers. It undermines school performance, threatens personal safety and damages overall health. You can help prevent your teen from drug abuse and misuse by following these medicine safety tips:
Safely store: Keep all medicines in their original containers – Drug Facts labels provide important information about safe storage, use and disposal – and make sure to store them in a secure location, such as a medicine safe.
Check your shelf: Here’s an easy way to monitor and keep track of your medicines: Start a running list of the medications you have and the quantity of each, so you can quickly identify if anything is running too low or has gone missing.
Talk to your teen: Instead of sweeping the dangers of medicine abuse under the rug, talk to your teen about safe and responsible use. Teens who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50 percent less likely to use drugs.
Safely dispose: Medicines that you no longer need or have expired are unsafe to keep at home, not to mention they simply collect dust. Check the Drug Facts label on your medications for safe disposal instructions and take advantage of drug take-back programs in your community. This year’s National Take-Back day is on Saturday, April 26. Find a collection site near you .
In addition to being a school nurse, I work with the Five Moms to help educate parents and students in my community about teen cough medicine abuse. I like to use “teachable moments” – opportunities that come up at any time and provide an “in” for talking to your children – to make an impact.