When Should You Throw Out Old Medication?
If you're like most parents, you probably have old medications and leftover prescriptions taking up space in your medicine cabinet. What to toss:
- Get rid of any old meds you aren't using or that have expired, plus outdated products such as syrup of ipecac (not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics), mercury thermometers (can break and expose your child to mercury), hydrogen peroxide (good for laundry, but soap is better for cleaning wounds), baby aspirin (can cause Reye's syndrome), and OTC cough and cold meds for kids under 6 (not recommended by the FDA).
- Throw away any old antibiotics. "Always see your doctor if your child has symptoms you think may need antibiotic treatment," says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD. "It's important that your pediatrician decide which antibiotic is needed. Giving an antibiotic when it's not needed, giving the wrong antibiotic, or giving the wrong dose can cause serious problems."
Originally published in the December 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.
Updated February 2010
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