Our Families Matter

20 August 2018

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Our Families Matter
Be MedicineWise Week 2018 | 20-26 August


It's Be MedicineWise Week and the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) supports this important initiative and this year's theme 'Our Families Matter.' ASMI and our members want all Australian families to have access to information and products to practice self-care with confidence.


Self-care refers to the activities individuals, families and communities undertake with the intention of enhancing health, preventing disease, limiting illness, and restoring health. Australian families engage in self-care activities every single day - from washing our hands to consuming a healthy diet, putting on sunscreen to taking pain medication for a headache - everyday decisions that ultimately contribute to our general health and wellbeing.


Parents make self-care decisions every day on behalf of their family because they know that the health of their children and relatives is important. Our families matter. But unfortunately, not all parents have the tools or knowledge available to make those important everyday decisions to provide the best healthcare for their family. Increasingly, parents are turning to emergency wards for minor ailments that can be treated by a GP or through access to over-the-counter medicines available at pharmacies.


There are numerous prescription, non-prescription and complementary medicines on the market, so it is crucial that we know what they are for and whether they are appropriate for our family.


Healthcare professionals have the knowledge to help you make decisions about you and your family's health. To understand what medicines might be right for your family - ask questions and inform yourself.


To help, here are five steps from NPS MedicineWise to become a medicine wise family:

  1. Ask questionsabout medicines, tests and general healthcare. Health professionals have the knowledge to help you and your family make informed decisions to enhance your health and well-being.
  2. Know it's a medicine.Medicines are not just available from a doctor or chemist. They are also non-prescription over-the-counter and complementary (vitamins, herbal) medicines available from a pharmacy, supermarket or other stores.
  3. Know the active ingredient.Active ingredients make medicines work and can be very powerful. Generics and alternative brands of prescription medicines will always have the same active ingredient as prescribed, and when deciding on alternative over-the-counter medicines, ask questions and understand what's in the product.
  4. Always follow instructionsfrom your doctor or pharmacist and read the labels and packaging of your medicines carefully. If unsure, always ask a healthcare professional.
  5. Keep track of all your medicine.It's vitally important that you keep a list of medicines you and your family is taking and take it with you when you visit the doctor, pharmacy or hospital. The MedicineWise smartphone app can help you store your list in a central place.


At home, medicines need to be stored properly as they might not work as well if they are stored incorrectly and to keep them out of reach of children. They also need to be disposed properly - flushing medicines down the toilet or disposing them in the bin can be harmful to the environment and local pharmacies collect out-of-date, unwanted and leftover medicines to dispose of them safely.


NPS MedicineWise has a wealth of information on their website and this Be MedicineWise Week, ASMI encourages all Australians to learn more, take active steps to become a medicine wise family and practice self-care with confidence - because our families matter.