Getting sick is always an unwelcome disruption to our daily lives. Many of us use acetaminophen to treat our pain or fever symptoms—even if we don’t realize it. Acetaminophen is found in more than 600 over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines. With COVID-19 still a part of our lives, and cold and flu season here now, many people will be reaching for medicines that contain acetaminophen to treat their symptoms if they get sick. Whether you’re treating symptoms of cold, flu, or COVID-19, it’s important to make sure you’re taking your medicines safely. Taking too much acetaminophen can lead to health problems, including liver damage. And while acetaminophen misuse can happen regardless of age, research suggests that older adults (ages 65 and older) may be at an increased risk of taking too much acetaminophen.
The National Headache Foundation and the Know Your Dose campaign lay out four acetaminophen safe use steps for anyone treating themselves or their loved ones:
1. Always read and follow the medicine label.
2. Know if your medicines contain acetaminophen.
3. Take only one medicine at a time that contains acetaminophen.
4. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
To learn more, visit KnowYourDose.org.