Know Your Dose: How Much Medicine Should You Really Take?

Like many of you, the first time I heard the word acetaminophen, I was like “acetawhat?” I didn’t know what it was, and my curiosity got the best of me. I had to google it.

What is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in the U.S. Both prescribed and over-the-counter drugs have it. It is used as a pain and fever reliever and in many medicines to fight back the winter symptoms: cold and flu.

With the snow and the temperature hitting below 32 F, cold and flu are almost inevitable. Getting over-the-counter medicine to fight those diseases is fast and simple. You drink cough syrup for few days, and maybe you add to it medicine to stop the fever. Well, most likely you got an excessive dose of acetaminophen.

Too much acetaminophen?

Taking too much acetaminophen can reverse its beneficial effects on the human body. Not respecting those guidelines, it could lead to possible liver damage.

This problem is not to be taken lightly. Earlier this year, the British Pharmacological Society published a research showing that during the cold and flu season, people are 24 percent more likely to exceed the maximum dosage approved by the FDA of 4,000 mg per day.

I, like many people, want to be healthy and get a bunch of medicine all together to cure various symptom, and to be honest I don’t even check the drug label to see what’s inside.

Many times I can’t even read, much less pronounce the names. I always thought, “What’s the point of checking what’s inside a medicine?” As a matter of fact, the point is that the same drug can be found in multiple medicines, and we need to make sure to not take more than what the FDA recommends. After all, the FDA was created for our benefit, to make sure that what we consume is safe for us, and at the same time, it gives guidelines to pharmaceutical companies.

How to stay in the daily limit of acetaminophen

The Know Your Dose website gives four simple steps to help us not exceed the daily recommended dosage of acetaminophen.

  1. Remember to read the label and follow the dosage instructions.
  2. Does your medicine contain acetaminophen?
  3. Check all of the medicine that you are taking. Do they have acetaminophen? If yes, do you really need to take them all together?
  4. Talk with your doctor.

For more information, check out treating cold and flus and how much you should give your children! Stay healthy everyone and don’t forget to know your dose. 🙂

This post is brought to you by the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition’s Know Your Dose campaign and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

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