10 January 2007

Write medicine dosage amounts on the bottle with a Sharpie

Serena wields the ever-powerful Sharpie for yet another hack-worthy purpose:

I recently came up with yet another great use for a Sharpie - writing my son's medicine dose on the bottle. He's only 17 months, and so for most medicines the correct dose isn't printed on the bottle; you have to ask your doctor. For his Pediacare, for example, I used a Sharpie to write 2.5 ml - also great for when you have someone else watching your child.

Parenthackers love Sharpie permanent markers:

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What a great hack, Serena. I wish I had thought of that when our son was smaller than the dosages on the that were accounted for on the bottles.

I love those fine line sharpies and they would be perfect in this application.

If you can't find a good place that is clear enough of text to write on the bottle, you might look at getting some Avery mailing address labels. They come in a variety of sizes (though smaller would work best) and colors (to draw your attention in) and are adhesive. We have used these for make shift labels throughout our marriage.

Great idea! I also use it to mark the line for the medicine if the lines on the droppers have worn off (I measure it in an open spoon first, then suck it up and mark the top). Totally unrelated sharpie use: writing the amount on the back of a gift card (there's enough room to cross it out and write the remaining balance too if you don't use it all at once) - otherwise I'd never remember how much was on there and wasting my time calling the 800 line just isn't worth it.

Useful hack. I do that as well, but slightly different. Writing the actual dose on the bottle only works for a short while, since infants grow quickly.

According to the American Association of Pediatrics website, "With OTCs, it is best to determine how much medicine to give by checking the label to see how much is recommended for your child's weight. Age is not always an accurate measure of how much medicine your child should receive."

So, I translate how much medicine (in mg) is in a uniformly measurable unit (ml). A lot of bottles will have information like "0.5 mg per tsp" which translates to 0.1 mg/ml, or for example for a bottle of Motrin "50 mg per 1.25 ml" which translates to 40 mg/ml. Then I'll write that basic concentration on the bottle with permanent marker.

What you need as well, is the dosing by weight, in mg/kg. So, as in the example, for ibuprofen (the active ingredient of Motrin) the dosing by weight is 5-10 mg/kg/dose every 6 to 8 hours. Max dose 40mg/kg daily. (data from http://www.75mdg.hill.af.mil/Pharmacy/Pediatric%20Dosing%20Table-1.htm) This information is something that you should get from your child's doctor, rather than just surf on the web.

Also note that if you need to send the medicine to school/daycare, this won't work. You will need it to either be on the label (fine for older kids), or have a doctor's note with the quantity. Found that out the hard way with Benadryl...

disclaimer: This is a total plug for a commercial service (my own service, in fact). Please remove if it's not appropriate. thanks!

Trixie Tracker offers an excellent medicine tracking tool. It allows you to keep track of medicine prescription scheduling as well as your medicine dosage history. Our web-based software has proved very helpful for parents who need to manage a number of prescriptions.

We were mentioned on this site a while back:
http://www.parenthacks.com/2006/04/trixie_tracker_.html


thanks,
Ben MacNeill
President, Trixie Telemetry LLC

Ben: I'm so glad you commented. I'm kicking myself for neglecting to mention Trixie Tracker myself.

I was trying for funny in that review but came off sounding snippy (a hazard of newbie blogging). I think it's an amazing tool, especially for people who deal with medicine dosage on a regular basis.

Noticed other people commenting on this, but just to keep it short and sweet, make sure you also Sharpie in your child's weight at the time of the dosage.

Good tip, but we'd need a jumbo bottle handle the list of all the different dosages for our crew!

Dad: if you just stick with the mg/kg, you should only have to write it once or twice.

I think it's an amazing tool, thanks for your post.

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