Ola’s parents were our next door neighbour, we were good friends while growing up as he exuded so much life. But just after his 10th birthday, he felt ill and wouldn’t respond to all the anti malaria drugs he was given. Ola died, the doctor said he died of typhoid and that the story could have been different if he was brought earlier.
This is one of the many lives that are lost to self medication every year. The issue of self medication stems from the fundamental perspective a lot of people have towards illnesses and their symptoms. The sense of Deja Vu towards familiar symptoms of self diagnosed illnesses is what prompts a lot of people to indulge in self medication.
Also, the belief that over the counter (OTC) drugs which do not require a doctor’s prescription do not have detrimental effects to one’s health has also made lots of people a victim of this raging pandemic.
THE RISK OF NEGLECTING THE UNDERLYING CONDITION is one of the major risks of self medication. With self medication, you tend to leave out the root problem which is the real illness and focusing on the symptoms. Symptoms like persistent fever and rash could be associated with underlying medical conditions that require proper diagnosis to be effectively treated. In some cases, such as diabetes or heart disease, letting symptoms go unchecked could increase your risk of developing serious complications.
Antibiotics have the ability to destroy harmful bacteria, but their misuse can have dangerous effects. Taking antibiotics when you do not have a bacterial infection or illness can lead to resistance, When this happens, bacteria develop the ability to resist the effects of antibiotics, which prevents them from working effectively. The bacteria can then multiply, resulting in higher numbers of bacteria that are resistant to your medications.
Bacteria can also share this resistance with other types of bacteria, including harmful and beneficial ones. When you have the common cold or another viral infection, for example, taking antibiotics for it will not get rid of the virus. Instead, it will cause beneficial bacteria to build up a resistance and share that resistance with any harmful bacteria that are present.
The dangers of self-medication can be life-threatening when inaccurate dosages are taken. When you estimate your own dosage, you are at risk of taking enough to result in an accidental overdose.
Conversely, if you take a dosage that is too small, it is not likely to be effective and you may become sicker. This can result in taking additional dosages in order to manage or relieve your symptoms, which can also lead to an overdose.
The practice of self-medication can, and does often, result in DEATH.
These and many more are the dangers attached to this popular but deadly act of ours and in a bid to save cost and time, self medication opens us up to more damage not only to our pockets but to our health and even takes time out of our hands. SO you ask yourself: IS IT WORTH THE RISK?
DF AWOYEMI AYOMIDE
FACULTY OF LAW,