Your Health

In association with Sligo Today

Pharmacists warn parents of health risks when giving medicines to children

Added: 22/03/17 : 13:41:10

Pharmacists have issued a reminder to parents to be extremely careful when giving medicines to children and to always seek the advice of their pharmacist before giving a child any medication.

The correct dose of medicine can vary depending on a child’s age, weight and symptoms. As children grow, dosages can also change. Medicines meant for an adult should never be given to a child.

The Irish Pharmacy Union has produced a handy downloadable leaflet for parents on managing the most common ailments in babies and young children, including advice on medicine safety.

Ann Marie Horan, a member of the IPU’s Executive Committee and a community pharmacist, said, “When a child is sick, it is natural that parents want to make them feel better. Occasionally parents can unintentionally give young children too much medicine, especially when they are administering medicine regularly. Medicine dosages for children should be adjusted according to the age and weight of the child, particularly when it comes to common pain relieving medicines.

"Too little medication can be ineffective, while too much medication can be harmful.  Your pharmacist will be able to advise you on the correct dosage for your child and I would encourage all parents to check with us - that’s what we’re here for.”

The following advice is a guideline for parents when giving medicine to a child:

·         Read the leaflet.  Always follow the recommendations on the information leaflet provided
          with the medication.

·         Give the correct dose.  The dose must be suitable for the child’s age and weight.

·         Follow the directions on when the medicine is to be taken.  Stick to the instructions,
          for example, with or after food, or with liquid.

·         Use the proper sized spoon. Never guess the dose. Always use a 5ml spoon or
          dosage syringe provided with the medication.

·         Follow age and weight limit recommendations. If the label says don't give to children under
          a certain age or weight, don't do it.

·         Ensure the child takes all of the medicine each time it is given.

·         Keep a record of how much you have given and when.

·         Do not chill or crush medicine without checking it is okay to do so with your pharmacist
          as this could alter the effectiveness of some medicines.

·         Never mix medicines without first checking with a pharmacist that it’s safe to do so.
          Many different-sounding medicines have the same ingredients and you can
          accidentally overdose as a result.

·         Do not give aspirin to children under 16, unless it is specifically prescribed by a doctor.

·         Store medicines in a cool dry place.

·         Safety First. Keep all medicines well out of the reach of children.

“Parents should seek immediate medical assistance if their child shows any adverse reactions to a medication such as trouble breathing or swallowing, a rash, hives, vomiting or diarrhoea,” concluded Ms Horan.

Mammograms for Mother’s Day

Added: 20/03/17 : 05:59:25

BreastCheck, the National Breast Screening Programme, is urging people to take advantage of the occasion of Mother’s Day this year by encouraging their loved ones to have a free mammogram that could help find and treat breast cancer at an early stage.

Professor Ann O’Doherty, Lead Clinical Director for BreastCheck, says: “Mother’s Day is a day that we devote to celebrating our mums by spending time with them. Whether treating them to a nice lunch or even just making the time to have a long phone chat, Mother’s Day offers an ideal opportunity to have a conversation about the importance of screening for breast cancer and being breast aware.”

“If your mum is aged 50 to 65, have a chat with her about registering for BreastCheck. The programme offers free mammograms every two years to women aged 50 to 65. If your mum isn’t on the register or she’s not sure, ask her to register or check her details.”

“The risk of breast cancer increases with age and it is important that all eligible women avail of their regular free mammogram, so that changes can be identified at an early stage.   If a breast cancer is found early, it is generally easier to treat and there are more treatment options available.”

“A BreastCheck appointment only takes 30 minutes. It's quick, it's easy, it's free and it could save your mum’s life. The vast majority of women screened are found to be perfectly healthy.”

“If your mum is outside the age range for BreastCheck, talk to her about how to be breast aware. It is important that all women, regardless of age or participation in screening, remain breast aware at all times by getting to know what is normal and being on the lookout for any changes. For any breast-related concerns, women should contact their GP without delay,” urges Professor O’Doherty.  

Getting on the BreastCheck register

All women aged 50 to 65 are advised to make sure their name is on the BreastCheck register and that their details are correct. Call Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or check online at

Once your name is on the register, with the correct contact details, you will automatically be contacted by post when BreastCheck is screening in your area. If your appointment time or date doesn’t suit, it can be easily rearranged. Any woman who receives an invitation for a mammogram is encouraged to go for her appointment.

Be breast aware

BreastCheck urges all women to be breast aware by knowing what is normal for them and what changes to look out for, such as:
-        Any lumps or unusual thickening in your breast
-        Dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin
-        A nipple that appears to be pulled-in or flattened
-        A rash or flaky or crusted skin around the nipple
-        A change in the size or shape of your breast
-        Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
-        Constant pain in one part of your breast or armpit.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in Ireland and the second most common cause of cancer death in women in Ireland. On average, there are 2,883 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Ireland while 711 Irish women died from the disease in 2013. Since BreastCheck began in February 2000, the programme has provided over 1.4 million mammograms to almost 500,000 women and has detected over 9,300 cancers.

For more information, visit or call Freephone 1800 45 45 55.