Keeping medications secure around the little ones. Specifically Grandchildren. Keeping medications in easy-to-reach places and easy-to-open containers can raise the risk of accidental poisoning or intentional misuse. Many grandparents are guilty of this when the grandchildren come over to visit. A new poll suggests many of them could do more to reduce the risk of their medications harming their grandchild. More than 80% of the grandparents polled say they keep their medication in the same place as usual when their grandchildren visit their house – and 72% keep them in their purse or bag when they go to visit their grandchildren. And nearly one-third say they store their prescription medications in something other than the container they came in – with the vast majority of them using an easy-to-open container. These practices may put children at risk of accidental poisoning if they get into their grandparent’s medications. For older grandchildren, the easy access may lead to misuse of certain medicines that hold the potential for abuse – for instance pain medicines and sedatives.The findings, from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, suggest that grandparents need more education about safe medication storage when they’re around children and teens, whether for a holiday visit or a regular childcare session. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40% of children treated in emergency departments for medication-related poisoning. Care and risk Two-thirds of grandparents say they provide care for their grandchildren; 42% care for them monthly and 18% care for them weekly. One in ten live with their grandchildren year-round. Just over half of all adults age 50 and over who answered the poll are grandparents, including 74% of those over age 65. In all, 86% said their grandchildren had visited them in the past year. During those visits, the poll found, 84% of older adults don’t change their routine regarding where they store their medicines. Those usual places include cupboards or cabinets (61%), countertops and tables (18%), purses or bags (7%) or other locations (15%). Only 5% said they routinely keep their medications in a locked cupboard or cabinet in their own homes. And when grandparents visit their grandchildren, the chance of easy access may go up, the poll suggests. Nearly three-quarters of grandparents say they keep their medicines in their bag, and 7% leave them on a counter or table. Only 7% placed them in a locked cupboard or cabinet. Containers matter. Childproof prescription drug vials and bottles were developed and required starting years ago, specifically to protect children from accidentally swallowing medicine not prescribed to them. Those “childproof” containers, however, can be hard for some adults to open. So the poll asked grandparents if they ever used alternate containers — ones that could be easier for children to open. Twenty-nine percent of the older adults polled said they transferred their prescription medicines to other types of containers. Slightly lower percentages did the same for supplements and over-the-counter medicines, which can also harm children especially when taken in larger than recommended amounts. Grandparents should make sure to have the national Poison Control number, 1-800-222-1222, stored in their phone, memorized or available. Still have questions, call us for some quick tips from your doctor.
Managing Migraine Symptoms Ever had a migraine? They are not fun if you’ve experienced one. A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling. Warning symptoms known as aura may occur before or with the headache. These can include flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling on one side of the face or in your arm or leg. Causes Though migraine causes aren't understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role. Migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway. Imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system may also be involved. Researchers are still studying the role of serotonin in migraines. Serotonin levels drop during migraine attacks. This may cause your trigeminal nerve to release substances called neuropeptides, which travel to your brain's outer covering (meninges). The result is migraine pain. Other neurotransmitters play a role in the pain of migraine, including calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Migraine triggers A number of factors may trigger migraines, including:
- Hormonal changes in women.
Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a major drop in estrogen
- Others have an increased tendency to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause
- Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, also may worsen migraines. Some women, however, find their migraines occur less often when taking these medications.
- Foods. Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
- Food additives. The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods, may trigger migraines.
- Drinks. Alcohol, especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
- Stress. Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
- Sensory stimuli. Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people.
- Changes in wake-sleep pattern. Missing sleep or getting too much sleep may trigger migraines in some people, as can jet lag.
- Physical factors. Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
- Changes in the environment. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
- Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.