The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 8, 2012

Keeping medication safe during power outages



The West Virginia Poison Center shared safety tips regarding medications and power outages.

With the heat wave, many homes without power have been unusually hot. According to the poison center, medications normally stored at room temperature should not be stored for long periods of time in temperatures above 86 degrees or for short periods in extreme heat over 100 degrees.

High temperature can cause medications to lose effectiveness before the expiration date.

Medications that are normally stored in the refrigerator may not be effective after a refrigerator loses power.

If any of your medications have been exposed to heat, contact your pharmacist for advice relating to your specific prescription.

The West Virginia Poison Center also suggests checking medicine for change in color, appearance, odor or consistency.

Pills that are harder or softer than usual, creams that have separated or changes in the odor of medications indicate the medicine should not be taken because it will not be effective.

According to Dr. Marie Abate, director of the West Virginia Center for Drug & Health Information at the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, the following are some examples of medications that can place those taking them at risk for serious harm if they are exposed to the heat and do not have adequate fluid intake: Lithium, antihistamines, diuretics, Amitriptyline, olanzepine, paroxetine, amphetamines and drugs used to treat overactive bladder.

The poison center also issued noted nonmedication-related safety tips.

- Siphoning gasoline by mouth can result in accidental ingestion and serious injury.

- Generators emit carbon monoxide and should only be used outdoors. Never bring a generator indoors, not even in a basement. Do not place it in an attached garage. Follow the manufacturer’s safety and placement instructions exactly.

- Keep the West Virginia Poison Center’s number handy for any questions relating to poisonings and the storm. Call its medical experts at 1-800-222-1222 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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