How you can be medwise

When taken as directed, OTCs are safe and effective, but like prescription medicines, they must be taken with care.

In fact, many of the OTC medicines sold today were once available only by prescription. Having these medicines available without needing to see a doctor for a prescription is a plus for everyone.

However, taking advantage of the many OTCs now available also means learning how to be medwise by following these simple steps:

Read the label—every time you buy or use a nonprescription medicine pay special attention to the ingredients, and directions for use and warnings.

Take only the recommended dose as stated on the label.

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor before combining an OTC medicine with a prescription medicine or before taking more than one OTC remedy at the same time.

Keep a record of all the OTC medicines, prescription medicines, dietary supplements and herbal remedies you take. Share this record with your health care providers at each visit.

Many OTC products contain the same active ingredient. Therefore, if you were to take two OTC medicines at the same time with the same active ingredient, you would be taking twice the recommended amount and that could lead to health problems. Prescription medicines can also contain the same active ingredient as OTC medicines, so be medwise and always tell your pharmacist or doctor about the prescription medicines you are taking before combining them with an OTC medicine.



According to a recent American study food allergies are becoming more common , especially among children. About 8 % of those under 18 have developed an allergy – a total of 6 million children in the USA.

Food allergies occur when our body’s immune system attacks harmless food proteins that it thinks are dangerous. The body develops chemicals called histamines . These chemicals can affect skin, blood cells, lungs the stomach and even the heart.

The foods that are mostly responsible for such allergies are cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, nuts and wheat .

But why are food allergies increasing? Experts give many reasons. One reason is that everything is too clean. Our body does not have the training to fight off attackers. In a world of pasteurized milk or antibacterial soap we no longer have the power to fight off germsand harmful bacteria . Chemicals in our foods have also changed them. Genetic engineering has changed most of the food we eat today. Some people are also allergic to additives in foods and food coloring.

Even though food allergies can affect everyone, you may be especially at risk if your parents also have food allergies. Although a food allergy can begin at any age most allergies start in childhood. Some allergies go away when you grow up, like milk or egg allergies. Others, like fish or nut allergies are probably with you your whole life.

Many symptoms are related to a food allergy. In some cases you feel itching in your mouth or your lips may swell. When histamines reach the breathing system they may cause asthma . Allergens that get into the stomach may cause vomiting or diarrhoea. Sometimes allergies even lead to unconsciousness and may threaten your life.

At least one third of the children affected are allergic to more than one kind of food. They have problems staying healthy and getting the right diet.

Parents whose children have allergies should always have antihistamine and epinephrine with them. These drugs act quickly and let children breathe better. They work against allergic reactions.


British scientists say they have made a discovery that could defeat the commoncold. Up to now they thought that antibodies could only fight viral infections outside of cells. Now they have proof that antibodies can destroy viruses even after they have invadedhuman cells. Antibodies can hang on to viruses as they enter cells.

Normally the virus would copy itself many times and take over control of the cell. The antibody in the cell however can trigger an action that causes a protein to get rid of bad substances, before the virus is able to cause damage.

The Cambridge scientists who made the discovery said it would possibly take years to find the right drugs to treat viral infections and that it may not work on all viruses.

Viruses are the world’s biggest killers. They are very hard to treat and kill more people than cancer. There are about 200 viruses that can cause a normal cold.



1. antibody = a substance produced by your body to fight off a disease

2. cancer =very serious disease in which cells in one part of the body starts to grow in a way that is not normal

3. cause = lead to

4. common cold = an illness in which your throat hurts and you have problems breathing

5. copy = duplicate

6. damage = destruction

7. defeat = to win against

8. destroy = wipe out, kill

9. discovery = to find out something that nobody has known about before

10. drugs = medicine

11. hang on to = go in together with

12. infection = a disease that affects a part of your body and is caused by bacteria or a virus

13. invade = enter, attack

14. proof = facts that show that something is true

15. protein = one of the natural substances that exist in food and which your body needs to grow and stay healthy

16. scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a laboratory

17. substance = material

18. treat = to try to cure an illness

19. trigger = cause, set off

20. viral = from a virus


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