"Most over-the-counter and almost all prescribed drug treatments merely mask symptoms or control health problems or in some way alter the way organs or systems such as the circulatory system work. Drugs almost never deal with the reasons why these problems exist, while they frequently create new health problems as side effects of their activities"-John R. Lee, M.D.
Self medication is the use of non prescribed medicines by people on their own initiative. Self medication is mostly practiced for the disorders like headaches, colds, fevers, digestive problems, diarrhea, acidity and constipation. We know Brufen for headache, Benadryl for sore throat, Crocin for fever as a common practice of medication. But it is not sure that taking all these medicines doesn't create any effect on a person's health. Medicines for self-medication are often called 'non-prescription' or 'over the counter' (OTC) and are available without a doctor's prescription through pharmacies. Pharmacists play an important role in providing assistance, advice and information on self medication. In some countries OTC products are also available in supermarkets and other outlets. Medicines that require a doctor's prescription are called prescription products. A recent survey on self medication indicates that people in all parts of the world encounter the same common health problems with same frequency. Common colds, headaches, digestive problems and body aches and pains do not change by nationality, culture or climate.
Most of the times we ignore side effects of the painkillers. When we take a painkiller for fever and if it adds to cold also, our body will be overdosed with active ingredients, which can cause severe health problems like acidity and stomach cramps. Even some medications like aspirin cause acidity if we are allergic to it.
Most of us follow old prescription, when the same symptoms occur next time or borrow medicines from friends and family members when they have fever, sore throat or other symptoms. If we adopt self medication when the symptoms repeat frequently it is harmful to health. When we use same drugs continuously, our body develops immunity and demands higher doses next time. Generally we prefer a common cough syrup for any kind of cough, without knowing the actual cause of it, like wheezing or difficulty in breathing. Even it is suggested that self medication is not applicable for hypertension symptoms. If a diabetic takes general cough syrup without doctor's prescription that may increase sugar levels.
Self medication for children is not at all suggestible. Parents should strictly consult a doctor for minor health issues like cold, fever and cough. Cold is a condition which is not cured by the medications. But medications only help to reduce the symptoms. Cold can be prevented with Vitamin C and Vitamin A supplements and Zinc also improves immunity against cold. Cold can be cured by taking plenty of water and warm fluids. Avoiding dairy products and banana during the cold may reduce the cold symptoms. Paracetamol is a common medicine used to control the temperature. But it is not suggested always; consult doctor to know any other causes. If the fever contains any other symptoms like shivering, headache, muscle ache and flu it may lead to malaria. You can also control fever by applying cold compress or dipping a cloth in ice water and applying it to the forehead. If the temperature is not controlled in 2 to 3 days better consult a doctor for immediate results. The most common problem in children is loss of appetite or over eating. Illness is the main reason for these symptoms
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