Measuring [Show Notes]

Measuring – Episode 28

Medication for kids are usually in liquid form and require some kind of device to accurately measure the dose.

1 teaspoon = 5 ml

1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons = 15 ml

1 fl oz = 30 ml

Milliliters = ml = cc = cubic centimeters –> all the same

Kitchen spoons and cooking teaspoons are not accurately calibrated to measure medication.


100 mg/5 ml = 20 mg/ml

Incorrect spoon #1:  4 ml < 5 ml (80 mg < 100 mg)

Incorrect spoon #2: 3.5 ml < 5 ml (75 mg < 100 mg)

Incorrect spoon #3: 6 ml > 5 ml (120 mg > 100 mg)

The cups that come with liquid OTC medications are calibrated accurately to measure medication.

Restaurant spoons are HUGE sometimes.

Maximum error when testing kitchen spoons is a 40% error (meaning it could be 40% below or 40% above the standard of 5 ml in a teaspoon).  For a 500 mg/5 ml medication – a 40% error is equal to 200 mg too much or 200 mg too few.  That could mean the difference in not being treated adequately and leading to complications (i.e. infection resistance) or being over-treated and experiencing side effects.

It’s a different story if you’re taking an adult dose (i.e tablet, capsule – which is already pre-measured) and putting it into something more palatable.

A factoid about the history of pharmacy: the only way pharmacists got medicine to people was by mixing it up and making the pills themselves.  The process of taking bulk ingredients and making specialized forms of medications is called compounding.

A factoid about brand to generic conversion: generics are only allowed to have a 5% variation from the brand name, and some companies are even more strict on themselves and follow a 3% error standard.

3% << 40%!!

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“Radio Martini” Kevin MacLeod (  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


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