Cold Meds Can Be as Dangerous as Alcohol

Published 01/30 2014 08:21AM

Updated 01/30 2014 08:38AM

This week we continue our discussion about over the counter cold medication. Last week KRBC's Nora Hartfeil looked into how folks can become easily addicted to meds. This week, she learned why some pharmacists say the drugs can be as dangerous as alcohol, if used improperly.

Most of us wouldn't dream of drinking and driving. But this time of year, medical experts say there's something just as dangerous you could be doing every morning.

"Not measuring cough syrup. For lack of a better term, swigging it. You could do harm to yourself, or you could do harm to someone else. I would definitely impair you", says Hendrick Medical Center pharmacy manager, Greg Young.

Though readily available, and decorated with official labels, Young says cold medication can impact your system in a way similar to alcohol. 

"They could become impaired and that could be a problem, because they could have an accident, they could cause and accident", explains Young.

When cold and flu symptoms come knocking, most people don't think twice about popping a pill or gulping down some over the counter medication, which pharmacists say, can be a problem.

"If you tend to ignore warning labels, you're probably going to get yourself into trouble, or you're at least putting yourself at risk", says Young.

Young says the key to cold medicine, as with alcohol, is moderation and recognition of when you might have had a little too much. 

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