Stop Spoon Dosing: Study Finds Up To 50 Percent Errors With Spoon Dosage

First Posted: Jan 21, 2016 04:05 PM EST

When struggling with a nasty cold, most of us reach for the cough syrup along with a spoon to measure the dosage. In a new study, researchers at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that teaspoon and tablespoon measurements results in dosage errors, where an individual may over serve or under serve a dosage. The researchers used findings from a previous study which was collaborated with their study.

"When measuring medicine for ourselves or our children, we often use regular kitchen spoons but they are not accurate measuring instruments," Koert van Ittersum, lead author of the study, said in a news release.

The researchers found that when medicine is measured with a teaspoon, a dosage is under served by 8.4 percent and when table spoons are used, they over serve by 11.6 percent. The researchers conducted an experiment where 177 young adults participated in measuring out doses in milliliters. They found that 34.5 percent of the participants frequently used kitchen spoons to measure medicine dosages.

The researchers found that 60.9 percent of the participants chose a teaspoon when they were given dosage information in teaspoons, none of the participants reached for a milliliter measuring cup. The researchers noted that this participant group had a 50 percent risk of dosage error.

"While we feel that we can estimate teaspoon doses, milliliters are much harder to estimate visually, therefore people are more likely to use accurate measuring spoons or cups when given dosage information in milliliters," van Ittersum said.

The findings of this study were published in BMC Research Notes.

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