It’s the flu season, cold season and slip-and-fall season. Grandma has a bad back and Uncle Larry has high blood pressure. Tiffany just got over her third ear infection and Crystal, the American Eskimo puppy, has some ointment for a skin rash.

Many of us are making more trips to the doctor and veterinarian than we would like for aches and pains and generating a medicine cabinet overflowing with drugs.

To prevent accidental poisonings of children or pets and to ensure an environment and water supply free of leftover medications, follow these suggestions we have made in the past from the American Veterinary Medical Association. They apply to both people and four-legged friends.

1. Use medicine as directed. Follow the directions on the label and, in most cases, give every dose even if your pet’s condition is improving or resolving. Call your veterinarian if you are concerned about how your pet is responding.

2. Store medicine correctly. Keep medicine out of reach of children and pets. Use locked cabinets or store in inaccessible places.

3. Don’t flush medicine. Never dispose of medicine down the sink or toilet.

4. Don’t share or sell medicine. If it’s prescribed for your pet, it should only be taken by your pet to avoid adverse or potentially fatal problems in another animal.

5. Properly dispose of medicine. Take unwanted medicine to a collection program so that it can be properly incinerated. To find a program near you, go to

Over-the-counter and prescription medications save lives and ease suffering thousands of times a day. Drugs that are not stored or disposed of properly, though, can injure unsuspecting children, send pets with an accidental exposure to the emergency clinic or pollute our lands and waters.

Always be responsible when left-over drugs and medications need to be destroyed. Check with your veterinarian, doctor or pharmacist for more information for accomplishing that in your area.

Questions? Send them to Dr. Sandeman, Home & Garden, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801. Or, email to Dr. Sandeman cannot answer letters or email personally, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.