Do you have a number of meds you must take daily? Some tips on prescription pill identification to keep you safe. Some of us, especially older people, have a number of different medications they must take daily to cope with various conditions. If you have just three or four such meds, you need to know how to keep your prescriptions straight and the common sense rules on pill identification. It can save your life.

1. Always keep pills in their original container. Some people will keep a spare pill in another container to carry with them should the need arise, as the case might be with a heart or pain medication. If you tote this extra for a while and don't need to use it, you run the risk of mixing it up with another medicine. If you need to carry that medication, take the whole bottle in its proper container. This also makes drug pill identification easier for medical personnel in case you can't speak for yourself.

2. If you have several prescriptions sitting on your night stand, make pill identification easier on yourself when you need to reach one in the middle of the night in dim lighting. Mark the name of the medication with an indelible marker on the label. Don't mark the lid, to prevent any mix up when recapping. This is especially useful for people who need glasses to read the label.

3. If you find a pill sitting loose somewhere, or in a bottle in your purse that you are not sure what it is, don't take it! Toss it and flush. It may have been there for a while and might have passed its expiration date. Some medications can change their chemical structure when they're too old, with severe consequences. Better safe than sorry.

4. There are pocket size books which allow you to identify pills, using various markings and scoring on the tablet. This type of book might be helpful if you have a very expensive medication and you have a loose pill. However, if you follow these tips, you won't need such a book. Besides, the pill identification guide book won't tell you how old that pill might be.

5.If you use one of those pill-minder boxes, which allows you to distribute your medicines or vitamins for each day in separate compartments, keep a list of each pill's name and dose taped to the inside of the lid. When you fill the box, go by your list and fill each compartment sequentially. For example, put the week's supply of pill A in each compartment before going on to pill B.

Free pill identification is nothing to fool around with – be sure and stay safe. Last, never, ever take a pill from someone else. What you don't know could kill you!