When I was asked by the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition’s Know Your Dose campaign to write an article on knowing how much medicine to give your child, I of course said yes. Who hasn’t been there with a sick child that just is eating you up on the inside that there really isn’t anything you could do to help them at the moment. It’s brutal. Sometimes as parents we say they can just tough it out. Other times we start to look in the medicine cabinet for what might make them better. I know more often than not for our first child it was certainly the tough it out, but as we had more children I see we’re quick to grab the medicine. That’s in large part due to knowing what medicine to use when and the dosing around that medicine.
Some of us may fear accidentally exceeding the maximum daily dose of acetaminophen and creating an overdose issue. This sometimes happens because many people don’t realize there are over 600 over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications that contain acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is safe and effective when it is used as directed (even your pharmacists can help give you advice, if they’re your regular and know what medicines your children are taking), but there is a limit on how much you can take in one day.
You can easily check out the Know Your Dose website, which has tips for how to use medicines with acetaminophen safely. There is a list of all the different medicines with acetaminophen with information on keeping your family safe.
Here are a few easy steps from KnowYourDose:
- Always read and follow the medication’s label.
- Know if your medicine contains acetaminophen.
- Take only one medicine at a time that contains acetaminophen. Double check, don’t double up!
- Ask your healthcare provider or a pharmacist if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen.
Just as an FYI, the US FDA has set a maximum daily dose of 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period, and taking more than directed can lead to liver damage, so really be sure to visit KnowYourDose.org for more information.