Know Your Dose for Cold and Flu Season

This post is brought to you by the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition’s Know Your Dose campaign and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

It's only January and already this cold and flu season has been a bit of a rough one for me. I got my flu shot in the fall when I took my son in for his six-year-well-checkup and I immediately became one of the very few exceptions to the rule when it comes to people who have a negative reaction to the flu shot. I spent the two days after that in bed with a massive headache, fever, and chills. It was the worst, but at least I wouldn't get the flu right? 


Fast forward to last week, and despite getting my flu shot, I still managed to get the flu. It was a rough few days with chills, fatigue, weak muscles, and more. I remember one night asking Derek to get me some medicine out of our cabinet and then asking him, "can I combine this flu medicine with acetaminophen? I feel so awful!"

He wasn't entirely sure and suggested I just take the cold and flu medication to be safe, to which I obliged. In the morning when I woke up, I'd read the medication box only to find out that there was already acetaminophen inside the medication that I'd already taken. 


After that experience it made me realize how many other adults may not be aware of what is truly inside of their medications. As we are on the brink of the deadliest flu season in over 40 years, the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition is urging Americans to double check their medicine labels when treating cold and flu symptoms to avoid doubling up on acetaminophen.

Research published earlier this year shows that the odds of Americans taking more than the FDA-recommended maximum dose of 4,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen in one day increased 24 percent during cold and flu season. This is because more people are using over-the-counter (OTC) combination medications to treat upper respiratory cold and flu symptoms, just like the medication we had in our own home, without realizing it. 


If you or your family members get sick this season, follow these four steps to make sure you’re using medicines with acetaminophen safely:
1. Always read and follow the label.
2. Know if your medicines contain acetaminophen.
4. Ask your healthcare provider or a pharmacist if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen.


And remember, the number one recommendation to prevent illness and disease is hand washing. It's not a guarantee, but it's definitely an added measure that you should be taking to keep you and your family safe and healthy. We keep hand sanitizer in the car for the kids to use the second they get out of school, and then it's bath time right when they get into the house. Having school age children makes things so much more tricky because they're exposed to so many more germs, so being diligent about hand washing is the number one way to prevent illness! 

18 comments

  1. So completely true. I usually think I am totally on top of everything. But thanks so much for the reminder. I think I should go circle the amounts of stuff with a red marker...just so its super obvious.

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  2. I'm hoping we might manage to make it through the season without any major illnesses. So far, so good! Proper dosing is such an important thing to understand. I've already started working with my kids on the responsible use of OTC medications!

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  3. I think being a parent sometimes i'm so worried about making sure the kids medications are ok that we forget to check out the labels closely for ourselves.

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  4. I have notice that in my country most of the flu and cold medicine contain paracetamol, and when you take different ones, you can overdose on it. It's so important to always read the label and know exactly what the daily dosages should be.

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  5. This is such a great post and a very informative one. Thank you for letting us know about this product that can help us fight cold and flu.

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  6. Hopefully, this year will be an illness free one.

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  7. Such a timely post. My son and my niece have recently recovered from what appears to be stomach flu. Now it's my brother and my sister who seems to have caught it. Scary times!!!

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  8. A great timing for this post - and I think it's really important. Dose management is a must - particularly if you are home alone (use a timer or something to help). I'm hoping to make it through this year without any illness (knock on wood)!

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  9. Oh I feel so sorry for you!! First the bad reaction and then the flu ANYWAY?! Important post that came out of it though - so important to read and understand what you are taking.

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  10. Great post and a very informative one. Great reminder to always read the label even with OTC medications.

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  11. This post is very informative, especially during this flu season. Sometimes people don't really pay attention to the lables

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  12. Very informative! I am always so hesitant with any kind of medication, but especially during flu season when you feel like you would take ANYTHING to feel better!

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  13. Very informative, this is a great reminder to read all of the label before taking and please consult with a doctor

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  14. very useful information! I always to avoid medication if it is not necessary and always do it after my doctor told me so but I know not each person is like me

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  15. Great post and a very informative one. i always read the label and this is how i know exactly what the daily dosages should be.

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