The cure be as bad as the disease

  • Illegal drugs are a very serious hazard, but if we look at actual job-related deaths and injuries, the most commonly found drugs involved are widely used prescription medicines or medicines that you can get without a prescription.
  • Because these medicines are so easily obtained and used for minor illnesses and complaints, we assume that they are perfectly safe.
  • Look at the label, you will generally see that a number of precautions are listed like: “take no more than four a day”, “consult your doctor if symptoms persist”.
  • Over- the counter medicines can impair performance and increase the chance of accidents.
  • Equally as dangerous is the condition or illness you are trying treat. It may limit your ability to work safely and the medicines you take are not likely to give more than partial relief.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, you are more prone to fatigue. Sleep medicines or mild stimulants only mask the symptoms.
  • Many people are susceptible to the amounts of antihistamine in cold pills. The side-effects are lowered alertness and slowed responses. If you exceed the recommended dose, the effects will, of course, be worse.
  • The hazardous effects of antihistamines, tranquilizers, mild sedatives and pain relievers are greatly magnified when combined with alcohol.


What to do

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  • If you have an illness that could keep you from working, don’t try to treat it yourself.
  • Don’t take medicines if you must drive, work at heights or with power tools, unless approved by your doctor.
  • Be sure that the doctor knows what you do at work.
  • Don’t use refills without checking with the doctor and don’t use somebody else’s prescription medicine.

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