When we bring our child to the doctor, we usually remember to ask just two questions: the name of the medicine, and the dosage.
The other questions come much, much later—at 2 a.m., when it’s too late to call the doctor. For example, should you give the baby another dose if he throws up the antibiotic? Or, what do you do if you skip a couple of doses? Here are the answers to common questions about antibiotics.
My child threw up his antibiotic! Should I give it again?
Yes, if he threw it immediately after taking the dosage. In fact, you may probably be able to see traces of the medicine in the vomit.
If your child constantly throws up after taking medicine, check if you are accidentally inducing the gag reflex. This typically happens if the spoon or medicine dropper hits the middle of the tongue. It’s better to position it inside the cheek.
How do I know if a medicine has expired?
Always check the box or the bottle for the expiry date of the medicine. After this date, pharmaceuticals are no longer required to guarantee that it works—and that’s just about as dangerous as not taking any medicine at all. Some medicines, like those in oil capsule or liquid form, can also deterioriate into harmful byproducts if they are contaminated by bacteria.
Periodically go through your medicine cabinet to throw out old medicine. However, don’t throw liquid medicine down the sink—this can contaminate the water supply. Toss it directly into the trash can.
Medicines can also ‘spoil’ before their expiry date if they are not properly stored or were contaminated. Watch for a vinegar-like smell, cloudiness (for liquids) or discoloration (for tablets) or capsules that stick together.
What’s the best way to store medicine?
Store in a cool and dark place that’s out of reach of children. Don’t place it in the cabinet above the kitchen sink or in the bathroom, the humidity and heat can cause it to deteriorate. Never store the medicine dropper in the bottle, especially if the formula is sweetened. The bacteria in the saliva will multiply in the sugar.
What do I do if I accidentally skip a couple of dosages?
You can’t just pick up where you left off. If you didn’t finish your round of medication the bacteria is in your body and you don’t have enough pills to treat a repeat infection. Doing this a lot can build immunity. Call your doctor to inform her of the problem and get instructions specific to your case.
It’s also important for you to ask your doctor about what to do in case your child gets sick and you can’t reach him or her. Read our article on what moms can do during holiday emergencies.