Now's the time to inventory your medication - before the info is needed in an emergency

House Calls runs monthly. Today's column is written by Ann Timmerman, a registered nurse in the Sutter Coast Hospital Emergency Room.

I would like take this opportunity to talk about having an up-to-date medication list.

Providing a current medication list will not only paint a clearer picture of your medical history, but it will also help your medical staff diagnose and treat your current needs.

Another important fact is that a current medication list will prevent potentially dangerous medication interactions. Lastly, having a current medication list will help expedite your care.

Listed below is what should be included on your medication list:

andbull; The name of the drug

andbull; The dosage that you take

andbull; When and how often you take them.

Please write everything clearly and with the correct spelling. In short, anyone should be able to read your medication list.

Other information that should be included and listed on your medication list is any drug allergies, and your major medical health conditions. For example: congestive heart failure, COPD, and surgeries with dates.

Preprinted medication cards are available at your care providers' office, at your pharmacy, and at Sutter Coast Hospital. In a pinch, a piece of paper or index card can also work. The template provided is also a great start.

Congratulations if you already do have a medication list, but please take a few minutes and make sure that yours is up-to-date.It is important to remember that as your health changes, so often do your medications.

Finally, please remember to place a copy of your medication list in your wallet or purse. It would be unfortunate to have a medical emergency and find that your list is at home next to your medication bottles.

By chance if you are assisting a family member or friend to the hospital and that person does not have a medication list, please bring their medication bottles. The bottles will have all the pertinent information that hospital staff needs. Unfortunately, due to the sheer amount and diversity of available medications, loose pills and those handy weekly pill dispensers are of no help.

Help us help you in your time of need by giving your medical staff the tools to better serve you. Again, a correct and up-to-date medication list will serve you well in your time of need.

Email suggestions for future House Calls columns to Beth Liles at Sutter Coast Hospital,