One hundred years ago, aspirin was first available as an over-the-counter drug, and 73 years later the Food and Drug Administration proposed that patients with a risk of heart disease and stroke take aspirin to reduce that risk. Maybe you take a daily aspirin to reduce pain in your joints or to reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke. Whatever the reason, it's important that you talk to your doctor and ensure that the benefits of a regular dose of aspirin outweigh the risks. In the meantime, here are ways that you can avoid aspirin abuse and take steps toward using aspirin the right way. (via Medical News Today)
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Know when you should consider taking it. According to Mayo Clinic, you should talk to your doctor about taking a daily aspirin if you have had a heart attack or stroke, if you are at high risk of having one or if you have diabetes along with at least one risk factor for heart disease. You can also take an aspirin as needed according to the dosage on the package to relieve mild to moderate pain, rheumatic fever and inflammatory joint conditions. (via Medical News Today)
Know how to take it. Read the label and follow the directions as they are prescribed on the packaging or follow your doctor's instructions. Do not exceed the dosage or frequency on the label. If it is an enteric-coated or delayed-release pill, do not chew or crush it. Swallow it whole. If the inside of the bottle smells strongly of vinegar, do not take it because it may be expired. (via Drugs)
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Know when you should not take it. Do not take aspirin if you have an allergy to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or if you have a clotting disorder. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before taking aspirin because it can cause problems for the fetus and complications for labor and delivery. Your children or teenagers should not take aspirin, especially if they have the flu or chicken pox. (via Share Care)
Know what dosage you should take. Follow the dosage instructions on the label. Never take more than what is prescribed. If you take regular doses of aspirin and miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember but do not take it too close to the next dose. This can result in an overdose. If this happens, seek medical attention immediately.
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Know the possible side effects. Common side effects include drowsiness, headache, upset stomach or heartburn. If you experience ringing in your ears, hallucinations, nausea, a fever lasting several days or confusion, among other symptoms, stop using aspirin immediately and call your doctor.
The bottom line is that first and foremost, you should follow the instructions on the label and if you have any unanswered questions or confusion, consult a medical professional. Aspirin has been called "the wonder drug" and its benefits can be truly valuable to your health; however, there are so many variables, even for one-time use, that taking it without caution would be unwise. Aspirin is just like any other drug — you need to educate yourself so that you can benefit from using it with peace of mind that the risks are minimal.
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