Understand what the doctor says

How to… Understand what the doctor says How to…

Food can be important to think about when taking medicine because sometimes the medicine can upset our stomach. Some medicines are best taken before a meal while others are best taken after a meal or with a meal. So it’s important to listen out for any mention of meals from the doctor.

If the doctor prescribes tablets for you, listen out for any special instructions, such as swallowing them ‘with plenty of water’ and ‘avoiding’ milk or alcohol.

Sometimes medicine comes as a type of syrup, something to drink or swallow in very small quantities. So we measure it out with a spoon. And it’s important to listen out for the size of the spoon the doctor says we should use.

People who have breathing difficulties, for example asthma, are sometimes prescribed an inhaler – medicine that is breathed in. So listen out for that noun and for how the doctor says it should be used. You might come across the words ‘puff’, for example, ‘take two puffs each time’.

Listen out for ‘ointment’ or ‘cream’ as the doctor usually tells us to ‘rub it into the skin’. And if the doctor says to use it ‘sparingly’, only a little of the ointment or cream is to be used each time.

Problems with our eyes or ears are sometimes treated with drops – ‘eye drops’ and ‘ear drops’. Listen out for how many drops the doctor says you should use each time and when.

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