Monday, January 31, 2011

Label Lies: A Warning to All Moms

This past week I awoke to the sound of my daughter coughing. Yes it is an all too familiar sound for a mid winter night. I looked at the clock and it read 3:00 a.m. It seems that while she fought a good fight, my daughter’s immune system could no longer withstand the germs and bacteria from 19 other children that share her class at school and alas…we again fall victim to the common cold.
So like any good mother away I ran to my overstocked medicine cabinet.  Much to my dismay one by one I sorted through last season’s cold and flu medicines. Empty….Expired….Spilled. Every child’s cold medicine in my cabinet was of no use to me. No problem I thought. I have adult medicine and it has children’s doses right there on the label. Problem solved. Super mom regains her title. One dose and 10 minutes later the whole household was back to sleep.
The next morning I decided to send my daughter to school and I would take the adult cough medicine to the nurse’s office. If my daughter began coughing the medicine would be there.  So, as we arrived at school I began filling out the medicine release form in the nurse’s office when I noticed the nurse giving me a disapproving look.  
My eye twitched and my head tilted curiously in her direction. “You know,” she began. “Although there are children’s doses on this bottle, I’m apprehensive about giving it to her”.   Ugggghh…Okay, I thought to myself. “You see,” she continued as she pulled out a small book from the jacket pocket of her nurse’s coat.  “The dose for a child of her age and weight is completely wrong on this bottle”.
Alarmed I began to look at her charts.  Indeed, the bottle I had previously used to medicate my child had 335mg of Acetaminophen, the main pain killing ingredient in Tylenol.  The bottle further instructed 1 teaspoon every four hours for children ages 6 to 12.  The nurse proceeded to show me that the age and weight chart instructed that a child of my daughter’s age and weight should have 240mg of Acetaminophen per dose not to exceed 500 mg per day.  
Had I allowed my daughter to receive the second dose of the adult cold medicine, even following the children’s age dosing instructions printed right there on the bottle, she would have been well over the recommended intake amounts for her body. Shocked, embarrassed and angry I left the nurse’s office with the medicine and promptly placed it in the garbage when I returned home.
Acetaminophen is a very dangerous over the counter medicine and the drug companies are not doing there part in accurately overseeing the accurate consumption in children.  Consequences of an acetaminophen overdose can occur in the first 24 hours and can range from nausea to liver damage.
To all the parents who read this please take the time to view the attached dosing chart as well as overdose article. Print the chart and keep it in your medicine cabinet as a reference!

1 comment:

  1. Some specialist actually advise against acetaminophen for everyone but especially infants, toddlers, and young children because it is so easy to overdose on it and because it can cause so much damage in such a short time. There is more to it, but I can't remember it at this moment.