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Updated on November 7, 2008


Drops may be applied to the eye, ear, or nose. Drugs given this way are supplied In small bottles fitted with droppers in little plastic containers or even as single appli­cation. Some are dangerous if taken by mouth, so keep them away from children.

A. Administering Eye Drops

Check If the drops are to go into one or both eyes. This is important because many eye drops are prescribed for a specific eye and they may cause serious damage or even blindness if put Into the other eye by mistake. Ask the patient to sit down while you wash your hands. Stand behind the patient and ask him or her to look up. Hold the dropper hori­zontally, with your hand resting on the patient's face. Apply slight pressure to the lower eyelid to bring it away from the eyeball and Insert the drop gently into this space. Tell the patient to close and blink his or her eyes.

This spreads the drop over the whole surface of the eye.

B. Administering Ear Drops

Warm the drops by standing the container in a bowl of warm water. Protect the patient's clothing with a small paper towel and wash your hands. Ask the patient either to lie down with the affected ear uppermost, or to sit with the head tilted so that the affected ear is upper­most. Rest the tip of the dropper just above the ear and allow the drops to trickle down into the ear. Ask the patient to keep his or her head in the same position for a few minutes.

C. Administering Nasal Drops

Wash your hands. Lay the patient down on his or her back so that the head is hanging over the edge of the bed. Alter­nately seat the patient down and tilt his or her head back as far as possible. Insert the tip of the dropper just inside the nostril and allow a drop to go in. Repeat on the other side. Ask the patient to sniff. If the patient is lying across the bed, leave him or her there for a few minutes.

Medicated nose drops are usually given to shrink the swollen mucosa (the membrane lining the nasal pas­sages) at the back of the nose, thus, allowing air to pass more easily. Saltwater nose drops (1 level teaspoon salt per quart of tap water) are used to dilute the mucous secretions in infants, which can then be sucked out with a nasal aspirator.

There are several precautions to take when giving nose drops:

1. Use a plastic dropper, preferably a soft plastic one.

2. Be sure to check with your doctor on the correct strength of nose drops to buy. Some common prepa­rations come in three strengths.

3. Be sure to count the number of drops you put into the nostril. Two or three are usually sufficient and more than this will run into the child's throat, making him choke and sputter.

4. Medicated nose drops can be irritating to the lining of the nose and produce what we call a rebound effect They will cause the body to make excess mucosa and result in more nasal stuffiness. Stop using more drops after three or four days. In another 24 hours you can resume if needed.

5. Use the dropper that comes with the bottle to mea­sure the required number of drops unto a spoon.-Use the soft plastic dropper to give the drops. In this way, you are not placing the germs from the child's nose back into the original bottle: thus, the medicine may be used two or three times by other members of the family.

D. Administering Nasal Sprays

Nasal sprays are prescribed by some physicians to be used instead of nose drops. The purpose of the spray is the same as that of the nose drops and the droplets are intended to reach the same area of the nose-the back of the nose toward the openings leading to the ears and sinuses. Each child should have his or her own bottle of nasal spray, so that infection will not spread from child to child. The tip of the spray nozzle is placed into one nostril without completely blocking the open­ing, with the child's head bent slightly forward. Squeeze the spray bottle quickly two or three times. The child should sniff briskly while the spray Is being squeezed into the nostril. The second nostril is then treated the same way. Try to discourage the child from blowing the nose Immediately, so that the medication can remain in contact with the mucous membrane long enough to be absorbed.

Most accidents connected with medicines occur in the home because of carelessness. It is a general rule not to use any medicine if you cannot read its label clearly. Labels indicate whether the medicine is for internal use or for external application. If you make the mistake of using internally what is for external use because you failed to read the label, the consequence can be fatal.

There are many medicines that look alike in color. In size, in consistency (if liquid) intended for different ailments. If you do not read the label, you may be giving the wrong medicine. And this may aggravate the patient's condition, if not cause the loss of his or her life.

To avoid mistakes care must be exercised in storing medicines by

1. keeping drugs for internal use in a safe place apart from those intended for external application:

2. never transferring medicines from their original bottles to other containers:

3. never mixing different kinds of pills and tablets In the same container: and

4. keeping medicines in a cool place. The doctor will tell you if any drug needs to be stored in a refrigerator.

Drugs deteriorate and It is necessary to be able to recognize when the substance is unfit for use. One should therefore remember the following when dispensing medi­cines:

1. Do not give drugs or drops that have passed their expiration date.

2. Do not give any substance, liquid or solid, that has changed color.

3. Do not give any originally clear liquid that has be­come cloudy or has developed a sediment that was not there before.

4. Do not give any drug if you cannot read its label.

5. Do not give any drug if you have any doubts about it.

When a drug is no longer required, it should Undisposed of properly. If a patient dies, dispose of drugs he or she was taking. If a disposable syringe has been used to give an injection, replace the cover and snap off the nozzle. Wrap the syringe and the needle in sheets of newspaper before placing it in a trash can. This will save the garbage collector from injury and drug addicts from getting hold of a used syringe.

Empty medicine bottles, boxes, and plastic wrappers should be disposed of properly to avoid littering and causing harm to the environment. Bottles can be recycled and used for other purposes. Plastics are nonbiodegradable, i.e., they do not disintegrate like organic matter. Thus, they cause pollution if not properly disposed of.


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