Many different physicians can treat a child during one illness. Sometimes kids have been given medicines at home, Momma Medicine. Other times they are seen by their pediatrician or emergency room. If the symptoms do not improve, they may see one or more physician specialists. To be sure, parents frequently have trouble keeping track of their child’s medications.
To make matters worse, physicians often write several medications to treat the problem. And if you have more than one child, keeping up with your child’s medications can be overwhelming.
Some medicines are only to be used for few weeks, while others are needed for a few months. Chronic medications need to be used every day; however, the dose may be changed during a visit.
Families with several children who have medical problems have a greater chance of confusing or forgetting medication names, or doses. Frankly, parents often forget which child is taking which medication!
Parents come to my office every week to discuss their child’s medical problems and to have a surgical consultation. I still catch my breath each time I hear a parent say: “Well, one of my children is on that medication”.
Just no! Never, ever say those words.
The next worst thing you can do is to start describing the color, smell or taste of the medication. Back in the old days, the “pink antibiotic” was pretty sure to be Amoxicillin. But now, there are several pink, good tasting antibiotics.
The top 6 antibiotic descriptions parents use when they forget the names of their child’s medications
Every day I hear medication descriptions which allow me to guess the correct answer. However, guessing is not what you want from your physician! It is critical for parents to know their child’s medications and not use any of the following descriptions:
1. The sweet good tasting antibiotic. Maybe bubble gum?
2. The antibiotic that you only take once each day
3. The antibiotic that only lasts for 5 days
4. The solid blue capsule antibiotic
5. That antibiotic that always causes diarrhea
6. It’s the one that starts with a “C”
As a surgeon, I collect the past history to determine if any more medication options are possible before recommending a surgery. If I do not know the exact antibiotics which have been used, it is a problem because I do not know if the same ones were repeatedly used by different physicians. Because if parents could not tell me the names, they probably could not tell other physicians!
A greater risk occurs when parents forget their child’s medications and they report that a rash happens when their child takes “the pink antibiotic”. Physicians choose medications in categories and if there is a problem with one medication, we must choose from another category. Parents want to avoid getting an antibiotic in the same category as one that caused a rash because the next reactions can be more severe. Guessing is not the best option; consequently, parents must find a way to report medications correctly.
Again, back in the old days, the pediatrician kept accurate records; so I could easily call their office. However, with the increased use of immediate care clinics located in pharmacies and retail stores, pediatricians often do not have complete records anymore.
The Secret to NEVER forget your child’s medications again!
I now share with you a secret that you should use to never forget your child’s medications. This secret would not have been as useful 10 years ago, but today, it is a secret that can be used by the families of ALL of my patients.
Are you ready? Here it is:
Want to see it again? How about this?
In fact, the most common reason I do not see parents in my office holding a cell phone is due to:
This means that there is almost always access to a cell phone. Which takes beautiful pictures of the family, vacations and scenery. These devices also take fabulous pictures of medications!
By using the camera on your cell phone, you can now join the group of people who can accurately report to their healthcare providers which medication and which strength their child is taking.
Starting today, line up all of your child’s medications with the labels facing forward and CLICK! Then, as soon as you get a new medication, repeat the process. Taking new photos of medications should take less time than capturing the perfect selfie that we all struggle to get!
Parenting is hard, and we worry about many aspects of raising kids. Some of us become Momma Addicts, some become lawnmower parents while others find different ways to raise our kids. But with all the worry involved with raising healthy kids, I recommend we put a bit more effort into understanding the medications our kids are taking.
Please begin using cell phones as a file to store your child’s medication names and doses. Your physicians will appreciate this.
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