Taking tablets and capsules
- Have a drink of cold water ready (some medicines are damaged by heat, so don’t use a cup of tea!)
- Make sure you are upright and comfortable.
- Take a sip of drink then place the medicine on the middle of the tongue and swallow. Keep the chin slightly downwards. (Some people throw their head back to help swallow tablets, it really doesn’t help!)
- Finish the drink.
Taking liquid medicines
- Shake the bottle. This is really important, sometimes the important part of the medicine will settle out into the bottom. If you just drink the liquid on top, you might not be taking any medicine!
- Measure the correct dose.
- If using an oral dose syringe expel the liquid to the middle of your tongue not back of throat. It could make you choke!
- Clean the bottle with damp tissue before replacing lid.
Taking soluble or dispersible tablets or powders
- Take the correct amount of tablets from original container.
- Place in a third of tumbler of cold water
- Swirl the solution gently in the glass to ensure adequate mixing.
- Some products do not taste nice so drink more water afterwards.
Using creams, ointments and gels
- Read the instructions and use only as instructed.
- Apply the medicine only where prescribed (for example your arm or leg).
- Use only the smallest quantity that will easily rub in.
- Use only for as long as stated in the prescription. Wear disposable gloves if you are applying the cream to someone else, otherwise you will be absorbing the medicine yourself!
- Transfer the quantity needed to the glove.
- Gently rub into the skin.
- Dispose of gloves in a sealed polythene bag and place in general waste container.
There are a number of gadgets that are available that can help you with things like eye drops. Take a look at our ‘interactive house’ to find out about the range of equipment that’s available.
If you don’t have one, there are some basic rules you can follow:
- follow the directions on the label
- wash your hands
- remove contact lenses, (then wait 15 minutes before you put them back in)
- shake the bottle
- be careful not to let the tip of the dropper touch any part of your eye
- make sure the dropper stays clean
- leave 5 minutes between drops
- tilt your head back and look at the ceiling
- using your index finger, pull down your lower eyelid to form a pocket
- gently squeeze 1 drop into the pocket
- gently close your eyes and lightly press on the inside corners of your eyes
- carefully blot away any excess liquid that may be on your skin
- Apply the same way as you do with eye drops by forming a pocket with the bottom lid.
- Hold the tube above the eye and gently squeeze a 1cm line of ointment along the inside of the lower eyelid.
- Blink eyes to spread the ointment over the surface of the eyeball.
- Wipe away any excess ointment with a clean tissue.
It is important to remember that your vision may be blurred when you open your eyes. Do not rub your eyes! The blurring will clear after a few moments if you keep blinking.