Up and Away: Storing Medicines Safely

In honor of National Poison Prevention Week, Dr. Suzan Mazor shares advice for parents about how to give and store medicines safely.

A well-known substance often found in plain sight, on nightstands, bathroom counters, and in women’s purses, is causing parents to place frantic phone calls to poison centers around the country. The culprit: acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer used to treat many conditions. The most recognized brand name is Tylenol, but there are more than 600 different prescription and over-the-counter medicines that contain acetaminophen.

With 50 million Americans using medicines that contain this ingredient each week, poison centers and emergency rooms are regularly called upon to address preventable poisonings.

“Most people think poison centers only answer calls about children who accidentally drink bleach, but really, over 50% of our calls are related to medicines,” said Whitney Pennington, education and communications specialist with the Washington Poison Center. Read full post »

A Serious Warning: Energy Drinks for Children and Teens

We all want our kids to lead vibrant, active lives, because childhood is such a dynamic time of discovery and participation.

But there are healthy – and unhealthy – ways to ensure that this happens.

One of my concerns right now is that caffeine is playing an unhealthy role in the diets of too many children and adolescents. Teens, for example, shouldn’t consume more than 100 mg of caffeine per day. (The recommended caffeine ceiling for adults is about 400 mg per day.)

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with certain energy drinks that exceed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) mandated limit of 71 mg of caffeine for a 12-ounce soda.

Energy drinks are sold as nutritional supplements, so they’re not regulated as foods.  As a result, their labels often don’t reveal the exact amount of caffeine in each drink. And, in addition to caffeine, energy drinks may contain other stimulants, such as taurine and guarana, a caffeine containing plant.

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