PM Pediatric Care Logo
cleaning supplies on a shelf

Shortcuts and Quick Fixes That Could Land You in the ER 

I get it: today’s world is crazy busy, and most people’s lives are fast-paced and full of important tasks. The internet is full of advice for ‘life hacks’ and ways to make everyday processes easier, faster, and more efficient. Some of these tips are great, and some not so much; use your best judgment when trying something someone suggested online!  

The bigger point here is that everyone likes to speed things up and save time. But! There are some tasks that don’t tolerate shortcuts, and trying to cut corners may actually result in injury or illness. Let’s talk about some quick fixes that just aren’t worth it.   

Stretching Prescriptions 

When a medicine is prescribed for us, we typically get the exact amount that we need along with precise dosing instructions. It has been carefully measured out by the pharmacist, following the expert specifications of a medical professional. In certain situations, it may seem like a good idea to try to make the prescription last longer by skipping certain doses or ending them once you start to feel better.  This happens most frequently when a medicine is a daily ongoing one. 

Whatever the reason behind this choice, it is not a wise one. “Doctoring” (get it!?!) your medication can be very dangerous. The guidance your prescriber gives you directly depends on your ability to follow it, and the effectiveness of a drug cannot be guaranteed if the dosing is off. For most medicines, a certain minimum amount is required in the bloodstream to be effective.  

Mixing Pills 

If you are on several medications at once, or if you take supplements and vitamins, it may sometimes make sense to put all the pills together in one container and avoid dealing with multiple pill bottles every time. While this may seem like a smart idea, especially if you’re traveling, I urge you not to do this.  

Even if you know every capsule by heart, there is always a chance that someone else (such as a curious little one) may come across your little to-go pharmacy and mistakenly ingest something they shouldn’t. The convenience you gain by combining a bunch of pills in one container is not worth the risk of adverse side effects, medication allergies, accidental overdose, etc.  

Storing Chemicals in Water Bottles 

Buying items in bulk is a great way to save time and money. Of course, you then have to deal with a vat of olive oil, a tub of sour cream, or a gallon of window cleaning solution. One way that some folks get around this problem when it comes to cleaning materials and other chemicals is by pouring them into smaller bottles for easier use. Oftentimes, clear water bottles are the most readily available containers for this hack.  

As confident as you might be that you will remember that the Ice Mountain on the garage shelf is actually rubbing alcohol, other people in your household certainly won’t. There is also the possible risk of chemical interaction with disposable plastic. If you must pour cleaning solution or any other substance out of its original bottle, make sure to use an appropriate container, label it clearly and permanently, and save the tag from the original packaging. And make sure to store it out of the reach of inquisitive children. 

No Shoes, No Hat – No Good! 

We’ve all been there! Got the family ready for a day of fun in the sun, packed snacks and water, games and toys – but of course, the one thing you forget is a hat. It’s just a small thing, you’ll be alright without one, right?  

Well, as unimportant as this item may seem, hats are essential for shielding you and your family from sun exposure. Similarly, proper shoes are not simply fashion statements – they are there to protect feet from sidewalk burns, cuts, and infections. Even if you just need to run out to the car for something, don’t skip putting on some shoes.  

Other forms of protective clothing and equipment that are essential: 

Waiting To Seek Care 

Last, but not least, don’t wait too long to seek care if something in your body feels off. I know, I know – who has time to schedule an appointment, take time off from work, and wait to get care? That said, ignoring a health concern could turn a small, easily manageable problem into something way worse. This is why it’s important to get a full physical once a year and reach out to your primary care physician any time something doesn’t feel right. Remember, all the time in the world will mean little if you and yours aren’t healthy.  

From strep throat to stitches, we’re here for your family – wherever you are! Click here to find a PM Pediatric Urgent Care near you. Not near to an office? Get care with telemedicine, available in 15 states. 

About the Expert 

headshot of Dr. Christina Johns

Dr. Christina Johns is a nationally recognized pediatric emergency physician and Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatric Care. An official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, she is board-certified in both pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine. With extensive media experience, the proud mom of two teenagers shares over 20 years of pediatric expertise with patients and families everywhere. Follow Dr. Johns for more insights on children’s health!