Family Issues, Growing Up, Parenting

This Father’s Day, Give Your Kids the Gift of Your Health

safe acetominophen

As a father, you want to protect your children and do everything you can to ensure that they lead a happy, healthy life. And the best way to do that is to be happy and healthy yourself.

Summer vacation may have started, but June is about more than summer camps and backyard BBQs. It’s Men’s Health Month, which makes it the perfect time to take a step back and assess how we’re living. Honor this month—in particular Father’s Day (June 19th)—by committing to make your health a priority. When your kids see that you take your health seriously, they’ll want to do the same.

When we think about the word “health,” the words “exercise” and “nutrition” usually aren’t far behind. But another extremely important—yet too-often overlooked—component to a healthy lifestyle is using medicines safely and appropriately.

Take pain killers, for example. Whether you recently threw out your back lifting your ever-growing 5-year-old, or you’re tending to a headache brought on by raucous cabin fever, odds are that you’re taking (or have recently taken) an over-the-counter (OTC) and/or prescription (Rx) drug to manage some of your pain. But when you open up your medicine cabinet and start searching for a pain reliever, how much do you know about what’s actually in that medication?

Many pain meds contain acetaminophen. It’s one of the most commonly used drug ingredients in the U.S., and is found in hundreds of OTC and Rx drugs. In fact, every week, 50 million Americans reach for acetaminophen to treat a variety of symptoms, including headaches, fevers, back- and knee pain, as well as cold and flu symptoms. Acetaminophen is safe and effective when used as directed, but there’s a limit to how much you should take in any 24-hour period. An overdose (whether it’s from taking too much at one time or taking a recommended dose for longer than recommended) can cause severe liver damage.

The good news is that taking acetaminophen safely doesn’t have to be complicated. The Know Your Dose campaign, a Men’s Health Network partner, is designed to promote the safe use of acetaminophen and encourages you and your family to carefully follow these four safe-use steps:

  1. Always read and follow the label.
  2. Know whether your medicines contain acetaminophen.
  3. Take only one acetaminophen-containing medicine at a time.
  4. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about proper doses or whether a medication contains acetaminophen.

It’s that simple. You’d never give your little one a drug without first understanding what’s in it, right? Now you need to be just as vigilant about the medicines you’re taking yourself. This month, and throughout the year, give your kids the gift of your health. Lead by example, make healthy lifestyle choices, use medicines safely and correctly, and #ShowUsYourBlue.

For more information and acetaminophen safe-use resources, visit KnowYourDose.org and follow @KnowYourDose on Twitter.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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Author: Wm. Ray Bullman

Ray Bullman is the Executive Director of the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE)—a non-profit coalition of diverse member organizations working together to promote the smart and safe use of medicines through trusted communications. In concert with the FDA and the American Pharmacists Association, Ray oversaw the launch of Be MedWise, a national, research-based campaign that works to educate consumers about the seriousness of over-the-counter (OTC) drug products.

In addition to his role at NCPIE, Ray was also a founding member of the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition, a group of 10 leading consumer, patient, and healthcare provider organizations committed to the safe use of acetaminophen—a popular pain reliever and one of the most common drug ingredients in the U.S.

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