You're Taking Too Much Aspirin If This Happens To You

Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve fever, swelling, and aches and pains (via Mount Sinai). While it is sold over-the-counter and generally considered safe for most people, it is possible to overdose on aspirin (via Healthline). Aspirin is available in a variety of doses, which are measured in milligrams (mg). These include 81 mg (often called low-dose or baby aspirin), 325 mg, and 500 mg, which is typically labeled as "extra strength." When taking aspirin, it's important to pay attention to the dosage on the bottle.

People without preexisting health conditions should take no more than 4,000 mg of aspirin per day. Individuals with liver, kidney, or other medical conditions should speak with their doctor as this number might be much lower. Since aspirin interferes with the blood's clotting ability, some doctors may recommend taking it daily to prevent certain cardiovascular issues like heart attack or stroke. But according to the American Heart Association, people should not take daily aspirin unless it's prescribed by their physician.

Signs of an aspirin overdose

An individual might overdose on aspirin by accident or intentionally. Sometimes a person will take aspirin and take another medication they don't realize also contains aspirin, such as Alka-Seltzer, Excedrin, or BC Powder. If a large dose of aspirin is taken at once, it can lead to an acute overdose. When a normal daily dose of aspirin builds up over time, it can lead to what's called a chronic overdose. This can occur if a person's kidneys are not functioning properly or if they are dehydrated. Chronic overdoses are more commonly seen in older adults during hot weather months.

Signs of an aspirin overdose can include rapid or slow, belabored breathing, wheezing, burning in the throat, double vision, fever, drowsiness, decreased urination, hallucinations, ringing in the ears, uncontrollable shaking, abdominal pain, restlessness, nervousness, seizures, and vomiting. If you believe you or a loved one is experiencing an aspirin overdose, seek medical help immediately. You can call Poison Control at 800-222-1222 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Even if you are unsure that it's truly an overdose, do not delay seeking care by calling Poison Control or going to the emergency room.