Medication storage and dosage advice for parents
According to the Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community report from NHS Digital, 4.4 per cent of all prescriptions dispensed by NHS England in 2016 were for patients aged between birth and 18 years old. Here, Adrian Pittock, marketing director at leading pharmacy consumables supplier Valley Northern, looks at how the storage and administration of prescription medication for children and young people can make the difference to getting them on the road to recovery.
When a child of any age becomes unwell, it can be a heart wrenching time for both child and parent alike. If a course of prescribed medication is required, it is important to keep some key pieces of information to mind, which will help your child back on the road to recovery as soon as possible
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 75 per cent of accidents that happen to children under the age of five involve household chemicals and medicines. Making sure that you store any type of medication, whether prescription or not, correctly and safely can help prevent untoward accidents and potential further health issues.
Keeping medication in the dedicated packaging, whether that be a box, bottle or bag, helps ensuring any safety or administration information is to hand when the time comes to give your little one their next dose.
Many pharmacy dispensaries in doctor’s surgeries, hospitals and independent practices, supply medication in clearly marked packaging, which helps differentiate the medication from other household items. Packaging from suppliers like Valley Northern, can include the easily recognisable pharmacy green cross or blue NHS bands making it much easier to see if your child has got hold of something they shouldn’t.
Keeping the medication stored correctly will also help your child onto the road to recovery. Prescribed medications, like amoxicillin, should normally be kept in the fridge, whereas refrigerating other medications can alter the effectiveness of the drugs. Your pharmacist should always give you clear instructions of how to store the medication safely and many dispensers include colourful and informative labels to help reiterate the instruction at home.
So, you’ve had your child checked over by a medical professional and they’ve advised a course of medication. However, getting your child to actually take it can be another source of concern.
Many children struggle or refuse to take tablet or capsule medication — if your child does, speak to your pharmacist about whether you can crush the tablet to mix it with soft food. Some common medications can also be prescribed in liquid form so that they are easier to administer.
Regardless of the form that the medication takes, making sure your child receives the correct and full dose is important. A report from the Center for Paediatric Trauma Research in the United States found that across the USA a child receives the wrong medication or the wrong dosage every eight minutes. Even just a small change in the actual quantity that your child receives can affect their recovery.
Syringes and spoons are sometimes provided for liquid medication. However, it is important to measure out the correct dose each time, meaning the accuracy and clarity of the measurement guides are important. Some syringes can quickly become faded and many don’t include an additional tip on the inserted barrel to administer every last drop of the medication.
Requesting Valley Northern’s Precision® oral syringes from your pharmacist can help you administer the full and accurate dose of medication to your child. They include a National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) recommended purple coloured barrel, which helps keep the measurement graduations clear. These range of syringes also include an additional tip on the barrel, which pushes out the final amount of liquid that often gets left behind.
Caring and sharing
Younger children in particular won’t understand the importance of getting the right medication dose at the right time but explaining to them that it is important and will help them feel better can help. Making sure you give your child plenty of TLC as well as keeping them hydrated will aid in their recovery.
Being mindful of keeping the rest of the household happy and healthy while your child isn’t feeling well will also help stop the spread of germs and prolong the illness. Wiping down surfaces with antibacterial wipes, making sure any coughs and sneezes are captured in tissues and hands are washed and treated with antibacterial gel can all aid in preventing the spread of illness.
Taking care of a sick child isn’t the easiest of tasks for any parent, but making sure they receive their medication as prescribed by a healthcare professional will have them back to their normal selves in no time, whether they’re six months or sixteen years old.
- Valley Northern Limited
- Valley Northern Limited