Every year, nearly 2 million deaths occur from contaminated food or water sources and there are more than 200 diseases that can result. Some of these harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses are more dangerous than others. Many cases of foodborne illness will clear up on their own within 48 hours, but for more serious cases medical attention and a round of antibiotics or other medications may be necessary to help eliminate your symptoms. Although you may be feeling unwell, don’t jeopardize your health further by not asking your health care provider some very important questions about the medicine(s) you’re being prescribed.
Aside from knowing how and when to take your medicine, there are a few more pressing questions you may not always think to ask.
1. Are there any side effects? If so, what are they and how likely is it that they’ll occur?
All medications can cause a host of unwanted side effects, from dizziness and nausea to more serious problems such as blood clots. By asking these questions you will know what to expect. You’ll also have a better idea whether what you’re experiencing is normal, and should you have any unexplained reactions your doctor can treat them accordingly.
2. Can I take herbal remedies with this medicine?
Certain herbs, although natural, contain chemical compounds that act similarly or in opposition to those found in prescribed medications. If combined, herbal remedies and prescription drugs may result in unwanted, and potentially harmful, side effects. The only way to know whether your current medications—natural, over-the-counter or otherwise—are going to affect your new prescription is to ask.
3. Have there been any recalls?
The FDA has noted that if a drug lands on the recall list there is “reasonable probability” that it will cause serious adverse effects, including death. The good news: If you’ve recently been given a recalled prescription, most pharmacies have a return/refund policy.
Don’t forget about properly disposing of unused or expired medications! For more tips on safely handling prescription drugs check out the infographic below.
Ashley Houk is the web editor for Mother Earth Living. When she’s not producing online content, she’s probably reading or writing blog posts of her own. Find her on WordPress.