Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in the United States and is found in more than 600 different prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, including pain relievers, fever reducers, and sleep aids as well as cough, cold, and allergy medicines. Over 50 million Americans use a medicine that contains acetaminophen each week. It is safe and effective when used as directed, but taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends taking no more than 4,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period.

Here are four important steps to follow when taking any over-the-counter or prescription medicines:

  1. Always read and follow the labels on your medicines. Never take more medicine than the label says.
  2. Know if your medicine contains acetaminophen. It is important to check the active ingredients listed on the labels of all your medicines to see if they contain acetaminophen.
    1. On over-the-counter medicine labels, the word “acetaminophen” is written on the front of the package or bottle, and is highlighted or in bold type in the active ingredient section of the Drug Facts label.
    2. On prescription medicine labels, acetaminophen is sometimes listed as “APAP,” “acetam,” or other shortened versions of the word.
    3. In other countries, acetaminophen may be called paracetamol. There is no therapeutic or chemical difference between acetaminophen and paracetamol.
    Never take more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen at the same time. Always ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medicines.

    If you drink three or more alcoholic drinks a day or if you have liver disease, talk to your healthcare provider before taking acetaminophen as you may be at greater risk for liver damage. It is also important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking medicines containing acetaminophen if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you take blood thinners.

    It is advised that you stop taking acetaminophen

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao

The Facts

More than 3.4 million (3%) Americans aged 40 years and older are either legally blind (having visual acuity [VA] of 20/200 or worse or a visual field of less than 20 degrees) or are visually impaired (having VA of 20/40 or less). The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics estimates that 17% of the age 65 and older population report “vision trouble.” Twenty-one million Americans report functional vision problems or eye conditions that may compromise vision. Older people are more likely to experience vision loss because of age-related eye diseases.

Prevalence of Visual Disability

The following estimates (for adult’s age 16 and older reporting significant vision loss, who were in the non-institutionalized, civilian population) are derived from the American Community Survey results for 2016, as interpreted by Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute (EDI), unless otherwise credited.  

The number of non-institutionalized, male or female, ages 16 through 75 +, all races, regardless of ethnicity, with all education levels in the United States reported to have a visual disability in 2016:

  • Total (all ages): 7,675,600 (2.4%)
    • Total (16 to 75+): 7,208,700 (2.83%)
      • Women: 3,946,300 (3.01%)
      • Men: 3,262,300 (2.65%)
      • Age 16 to 64: 4,037,600 (2.0%)
      • Age 65 and older: 3,171,100 (6.6%)
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This blog post originally appeared on Zaggocare.org

Medications save lives and make life more bearable for millions of people. No doubt about it. But medications can also cause harm. Logically, the more medications a patient takes, the higher the risk of side effects and dangerous interactions between medications. Did you know many patients take inappropriate or unnecessary medications? Unfortunately, over-prescribing is a widespread, dangerous problem in the US, especially for older patients (categorized as those 65+ years old). Why do doctors prescribe too many medications? What harm does it cause? And what can patients do?

An extensive report by the Lown Institute examines the impact of over-prescribing in older patients. Their report states that the US “is in the grips of an unseen epidemic of harm from the excessive prescribing of medications.” This important, often overlooked issue may impact your health, or the health of a loved one.

What are the dangers associated with medications?

Although medications are designed to help patients, they can also cause health issues. All medications have

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Poisoning is the number one cause of injury-related death in the U.S.. National Poison Prevention Week,  sponsored by the National Poisoning Prevention Council during the third week in March, promotes poison prevention tips and the free emergency services provided by poison control centers, including the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Text POISON to 797979 to save the number in your smartphone.

In the time it takes to read the information above, at least two people will call a poison control center. That’s one person every 14 seconds, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS).

America’s poison control centers managed over 2.6 million encounters in 2017, of which 2.1 million were human exposure cases. And while human exposure calls to poison control showed a 2% decline from 2016, health care facility (HCF) human exposure cases increased by over 3% in this same period, representing almost a quarter of all human exposure calls. Calls with more serious medical outcomes have increased by nearly 4.5% every year since 2000.

Although young

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“Can Parasitic Worms Cure Seasonal Allergies?”

“New Study Shows Too Much of This Breakfast Staple Will Literally Kill You”

“Here’s Why Sitting is Worse for Your Health than Smoking”

You  — or someone you know — is bound to see headlines like these every day. After all, looking up health information remains one of the most popular internet activities. But as the saying goes, you can’t believe everything you read.

Kelly McBride, vice president of the Poynter Institute, last year told The Atlantic that “of all the categories of fake news, health news is the worst. There’s more bad health news out there than there is in any other category.”

Whether it’s viral stories that dandelion weed cures cancer, bogus health advice falsely attributed to the Mayo Clinic, advertisements masquerading as news, or outright fake medical news, scammers have found all sorts of new hacks to earn clicks and trick readers with sensationalized content.

Below I want to dive deeper into two recent examples of popular health stories that misrepresent the underlying science. I’ll point out where they went

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