Self-medicate or medical attention?

self medicate

It’s not uncommon that when we get aches and pains we reach out for some paracetamol or other ‘over the counter; available medication to ease our discomfort. The same will go for heartburn, nausea, food poisoning, dehydration, allergies, irritation in eyes and so many other things. We are quick to self-medicate our minor problems and try and fix them ourselves.

Most of the times this is quite ok. You are able to deal with a minor problem, and sometimes even a little advice from the pharmacist helps without having to go to the doctor. For me, I draw the line here very quickly because taking medication without knowing how much to take, when to take it and for how long is not something I want to read from the little enclosed leaflet and nor do I want to Google my symptoms (which, incidentally I have done many times and each time have been convinced it’s my last day on Earth) to find out what’s wrong and what medication I need.

There was a time I was severally convinced that I have deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and that I would get the clot travelling from my calf all the way to my lungs and getting entangled in there somewhere, killing me instantly. I had visions of a red blob travelling upward in my complicated bodily network of various veins and arteries, this shapeless dark red thing about the size of a 50 cent coin, suddenly getting lodged in my lungs. That’s what Googling symptoms can do to you.

Turns out, my sciatic nerve had flared up after a grueling session on the treadmill. Actually I’m lying when I say grueling but how else was I going to justify the sciatic nerve suddenly flaring up? I went to the doctor who I think suppressed his grin as I told him about my DVT and the horrendous pain I was in and how I just had to be admitted straight away to hospital. I left his office with a print out on exercises I was meant to do to ease the pain and a request form to see a physiotherapist. I felt cheated. The only medication I was told I could have was a simple pain killer and only if it hurt a lot.

Having said that, and having convinced you I’m a hypochondriac, I must say I’d rather go to a doctor and be diagnosed properly than self-diagnose and self-medicate. This is a terrible thing to do especially where children are concerned. I’ve never gone running to the pediatrician with my kids at the slightest sniffle but I have been sensible enough not to pump their bodies with medication without proper advice. If an over the counter pain killer works for us adults, don’t think the same will work with kids. They could have kidney failure or something! No I’m not a doctor but this is common sense and it’s also written on the inserted leaflets in case you’ve been inclined to take the time out to read those.

Go see a doctor if you aren’t well and only self-medicate if you know your medication properly. Pharmacists always dispense advice as well as medication so do ask them too if you need help.

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