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Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are nonprescription medications. OTCs are generally safe and effective, however you need to follow the labeled instructions properly. People use OTCs for different purposes such as relief from pain, headache, cough, etc. Popular examples of OTCs are Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Robitussin, and Claritin 24H. You can find such drugs on shelves in pharmacies, neighborhood grocery stores, and even in gas stations.


How can OTC drugs affect you in the workplace?

Some common OTCs can cause serious adverse effects, which can put your health at risk and hinder your daily or activities at the workplace. You can feel side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, double vision, vertigo, and headache. These side effects can significantly change or weaken your attention, perception, and judgment.

Although not common, some people show allergic reactions to certain drugs. Hives, itching, and breathing problems are some of the signs of an allergic reaction. So, if you have ever had such reactions to a drug in the workplace, avoid the drugs that contain the same ingredient. Consult your doctor about your allergic reaction to OTC drugs. Remember that side effects are not true allergic reactions.

Allergy drugs such as antihistamines can affect your office activities. Not only do they cause sleepiness but also bring on effects that you might not notice – such as slowed reaction times, trouble making decisions, poor coordination, problems in learning, understanding, and remembering, etc.

There are other medicines, which get in the way of office activates are stimulant laxatives, OTC decongestants, OTC sleep aids, heartburn remedies, and alert pills. Moreover, it is important for you to be focused and sharp while operating computers, machinery, or driving. Likewise, the effects of these drugs can make your activities difficult and often dangerous.

What you can do?

First and foremost, ask your doctor or pharmacist about the drugs you should take. Your healthcare provider will point you to some drugs that won’t cause any adverse effects. At the same time, check with your employer so that you know the Occupational Health and Safety rules about drugs in your workplace.

When taking OTC drugs, you need to read the instructions and warnings on all drugs packages. Don’t forget to follow directions on the package when taking OTC medicines to avoid adverse effects or allergic reactions. For the vast majority of OTC medications avoid drinking alcohol as alcohol can make some OTC medication’s effects stronger or unexpected.

Take OTCs according to your workplace’s conditions and do consider heat, cold, humidity, and exposure to chemicals. For example, if you are working in a humid and hot workplace, dehydration is a potential issue, which can lead to thirst causing changes in your body’s chemistry. So, this has a high probability in changing the way a drug works. Therefore, pay attention to certain things in your workplace in order to avoid side effects or situations from getting worse.

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