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Talk to the elderly about drug safety

We often worry about protecting our children from the dangers of drug poisoning, but we may need to worry about our aging parents just as much.

The Maryland Poison Center is encouraging people to talk to the elderly people in their lives about medicine safety.

The group collected data from the American Association of Poison Centers that found that adults age 40 and older account for 16 percent of poisoning exposure calls to the nation's 57 poison centers. But they make up 56 percent of deaths from poisoning.

The calls come from adults who have taken too much of their medicine, took someone else's medicine or are concerned about a drug interaction.

The Maryland Poison Center offers these tips to pass on to the elderly in your life:

1. Know about each medicine you take (name, color, markings, dosage, etc.).

2. Read the label to make sure you are taking the right dose.

3. Follow the instructions to take your medicine the right way. Some medicines interact with food or alcohol, and some should not be taken with other medications.

4. Never take someone else's medicine.

5. Put on your glasses and turn on the lights before taking medicine, especially at night.

6. Keep a list of all your medications and share the list with your doctor at each visit.

7. If more than one doctor prescribes medicine for you, talk to each doctor and your pharmacist so they can check for drug interactions.

8. Talk to your doctor before you take a natural or herbal supplement.