Pediatrician - Wall
3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126
Wall, NJ 07719
732-280-6455

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By contactus@steppingstonepediatrics.com
May 10, 2016
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From the NJ Poison Control Center:

Spring allergy season is here and health experts expect it to get much worse before it gets better. The prolonged period of wet weather is keeping the pollen at bay, but once things dry up, expect symptoms to increase. Allergy sufferers know the symptoms…sneezing, watery itchy eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, etc.  This has led sufferers to go to their local pharmacies/supermarkets to seek medicines to relieve the discomfort associated with their allergies.

The NJ Poison Experts encourage consumers to exercise caution when taking allergy medicines or giving them to a child. There is a common misconception that non-prescription (over-the-counter/OTC) medicines are not dangerous because they are sold without a prescription. Such medicines may, in fact, produce serious side effects which may cause harm to those taking them.

“Remember, all medicines have side effects, whether prescription or over-the-counter,” said Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., NJ Poison Center. “We want to raise awareness about the potential side effects from OTC and prescription allergy medications. Effects can range from agitation to drowsiness and/or stomach upset to liver damage.”  

Before you reach for any allergy medication, either OTC or prescription, we recommend the following tips to prevent problems related to medication use:

·         Almost all allergy medications can cause drowsiness. These side effects can cause operating equipment and driving to be dangerous. Be mindful of taking other medicines that can also cause drowsiness.

·         Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking medicine, including allergy medicine.  Mixing the two together can prove dangerous.

·         Allergy medications may interfere with vision.  Blurring of vision may occur and interfere with driving and similar skills. 

·         Select medications that treat ONLY the symptoms you have.  For example, use a decongestant if you are congested, but only use decongestants with cough suppressant if you have a cough as well. 

·         Watch for duplicate active ingredients in products taken at the same time.  Many times medications with different names and even different intended purposes contain the same active ingredients. Taking these together, can result in serious overdose.

·         Remember that more does not mean better.  Don’t take medicines longer or in higher doses than the label recommends.  If symptoms persist, it is time to see a doctor. 

·         Be particularly careful about dosage recommendations.  With liquid medications, it is best to use a measuring spoon or a dosing cup marked in teaspoons, not a common kitchen spoon.

·         Avoid drug interactions.  If you are currently taking any prescription or non-prescription medications, ask your pharmacist or health care provider for assistance in choosing non-prescription medications.  If this is not possible, questions can be directed to NJPIES at 1-800-222-1222.

In the event of an exposure, don’t waste valuable time looking up information on the Internet when every minute counts. If someone has collapsed, stopped breathing, or convulsing/seizing call 911 immediately, otherwise call the NJ Poison Experts at (1-800-222-1222). Experts are always here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Calls are free and confidential. Help is available in more than 150 languages.

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3350 Highway 138 Building 2 Suite 126,
Wall, NJ 07719