Updated: 07/14/2014 9:52 AM
Created: 07/14/2014 9:51 AM WDIO.com
By: LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer
CHICAGO (AP) - The song says a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but a study says that kind of imprecise measurement can lead to potentially dangerous dosing mistakes.
The results, published online Monday in Pediatrics, underscore recommendations that droppers and syringes that measure in milliliters be used for liquid medicines - not spoons.
The study involved nearly 300 parents, mostly Hispanics, with children younger than 9 years old. The youngsters were treated for various illnesses at two New York City emergency rooms and sent home with prescriptions for liquid medicines, mostly antibiotics.
Parents were contacted afterward and asked by phone how they had measured the prescribed doses. They also brought their measuring devices to the researchers' offices to demonstrate doses they'd given their kids.
Parents who used spoonfuls "were 50% more likely to give their children incorrect doses than those who measured in more precise milliliter units," said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a co-author and associate professor at New York University's medical school.
Incorrect doses included giving too much and too little, which can both be dangerous, he said. Underdosing may not adequately treat an illness and can lead to medication-resistant infections, while overdoses may cause illness or side effects that can be life-threatening. The study doesn't include information on any ill effects from dosing mistakes.
Almost one-third of the parents gave the wrong dose and 1 in 6 used a kitchen spoon rather than a device like an oral syringe or dropper that lists doses in milliliters.
Less than half the prescriptions specified doses in milliliters. But even when they did, the medicine bottle label often listed doses in teaspoons. Parents often assume that means any similar-sized kitchen spoon, the authors said.
"Outreach to pharmacists and other health professionals is needed to promote the consistent use of milliliter units between prescriptions and bottle labels," the authors said.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Banned Microbeads Present Environmental Concerns
Plastic particles known as microbeads found in common products like face scrub, shampoo and soap have been flowing by the billions into bodies of water. Wisconsin's ban on products containing the microbeads will hopefully curve environmental effects.
Fourth of July Brings Firework Frights for Pets
Laura Kiehnbaum is a veterinarian with PetCare in Duluth. She said dogs can hear at much different frequencies than humans, so large firework displays can be distressing-- even from a distance.
In Wis. Stop, Obama Heralds 'Remarkable Few Weeks in America'
President Barack Obama says that despite unemployment falling to a seven-year low, there is more work to do to increase Americans' wages.
Salmonella Cases are Reminder to Fully Cook Frozen Chicken Entrees
Several recent cases of salmonella in Minnesota have been linked to stuffed chicken entrees that look cooked but are actually raw, officials said Thursday.
Canadian Government Protects Large Area of Lake Superior
About half of the Lake Superior waters and much of the shoreline belonging to the Canadian government are now under the country's highest level of federal protection.