Almost half of all Americans — 48.5% — have used at least one prescription within the past month, including children, but according to a recent nationwide study, parents are giving their children wrong dosages of their prescription, which can potentially lead to a to fatal mistakes.
The new study, completed by New York University School of Medicine researchers, found that a full 80% of parents made a mistake when measuring out doses of liquid medication to their children. Researchers are perplexed by this number, as the parents were being monitored but still made errors.
“We were surprised to see how many parents made errors,” the report’s lead author, Dr. Shonna Yin expressed to Today. “It’s possible that parents may be making even more mistakes at home.”
Of the 2,110 parents participating in the study, 68% were measuring out too much medication.
The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, asked parents to measure out nine doses of the antibiotic amoxicillin after reading the label’s instructions. There were three possible dosages the parents could measure, 2.5 ml, five ml, and 7.5 mil. They were given a small plastic measuring cup of the type given with liquid medicine, and two oral syringes marked in two ml and five ml increments, respectively.
All in all, 83% of patients made at least one mistake in their measurements, giving a dosage up to 20% more than recommended. Additionally, 21% made incredibly large mistakes and measured two to three times the prescribed dosage.
It turns out these dosing errors aren’t just a mistake that happens once in a while. The study noted that between 2002 and 2012, a child younger than six experiences an out of hospital medical error every six minutes nationwide. This figure represents 63,358 medical errors annually.
Researchers on the study recommend that parents ask for a syringe at their pharmacy when picking up prescriptions, as they found less of a likelihood of measuring errors when using this method compared to the measuring cup.
Prescriptions aren’t the only medical related lapse parents admit to. Considering the fact that one in 10 adults admit to regularly forgetting to brush their teeth, their poor oral habits are easily transferred to their children.
In fact, in the state of Illinois, only 31% of parents give their children an A grade for overall oral health. These results are from a survey released by Delta Dental of Illinois, and their results express that there is a need to improve the overall oral health of children within the entire state.
According to the report, 29% of Illinois children had cavities within the past year. It also found that 40% of these children do not brush their teeth the recommended two times per day. Only 65% of children who have visited a dentist within the state have done so before age five, even though a child should be visiting a dentist once they celebrate their first birthday.
In light of these statistics, the survey shows that parents believe their child’s oral health is their top medical concern. Oral health topped the list of concerns at 67%, followed by such concerns as their child’s performance in school, diet and nutrition, and physical activity.
“Pain caused by oral health problems can affect a child in many ways from their ability to focus in the classroom to their confidence,” explains Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois. She tells the Daily Herald about the importance of oral health habits in children, saying “Good oral health is a key component to a child’s overall well-being. Not only will good oral health give a child confidence, but it can also help a child succeed in school.”
On top of these obvious health concerns, there could be some hidden dangers within the home that parents are unaware of. Mold, which can cause severe asthmatic symptoms, begins to grow within 24 to 48 hours in an untreated moist environments. Some common culprits for bringing moisture into the house include a leaky basement, a broken humidifier on an HVAC unit or clogged gutters that are causing water to trickle in through the walls.
Luckily enough, there is a new drug on the market meant to tackle hard to treat asthma symptoms. Benralizumab is an injectable drug meant to control asthma flare ups when typical steroid inhalants are not enough.
The drug is a biolic that works by killing white blood cells called eosinophils that have been linked to severe asthma. One of the benefits of this drug is that it can be administered less often, about once every two months compared to the other bi-monthly steroid method.
Each treatment costs about $25,000 to $30,000 per dose, but is covered by insurance. They have been approved for patients 12 and older, but scientists are looking to extend these treatments to children as young as six-years-old.
In the first trial of Benralizumab, researchers found that over one year, those who regularly took the drug noticed a 28% to 36% decrease in asthmatic flareups, and had an increase in lung function.
The second trial had even greater results, with the participants having 45% to 51% decrease in flareups.
The side effects of Benralizumab are limited, with only a handful of participants in the 1,200 member survey reporting cold-like symptoms, skin rash at the site of the injection, and hives. One patient experienced a panic attack.
However, this new drug is being seen as a medical breakthrough by many doctors for treating severe asthma cases and can help many patients in the long term.
Dr. Alan Mensch is one of them. He explains to the Chicago Tribune, These biologicals treat patients that were previously untreatable, and these treatments are getting better and better.”