Household Measurements

Household measurements are used for liquid medications that are given to patients in the home setting. An example is two teaspoons of cough medication. Nurses encounter household measurements when providing home healthcare services and when determining a patient's fluid intake and output in the hospital setting. Nurses also use pounds when calculating a dose that is based on a patient's weight. Patients should use measuring spoons for medication administration at home and avoid using tableware.

Patients are usually more comfortable self-administering medication if the dose is in household measurements. However, medication is recorded using metric measurements. Therefore, a nurse must be able to convert household measurements to metric measurements.

Let's say that the patient drinks an 8-ounce glass of orange juice. The nurse must convert that to milliliters (mL) or cubic centimeters (cc) in order to record the intake volume in the patient's fluid input and output chart. (Remember 1 mL = 1 cc.)

Table 7-3 contains commonly used conversion factors for household measurement and metric measurement.

Table 7-3. Commonly used conversion factors for household measurement and metric measurement.

Household System

Metric System


2.2 pounds (lb)

1 kilogram (kg)


1 ounce

30 mL = 30 cc

16 ounces

500 mL = 500 cc

32 ounces

1000 mL= 1000 cc

1 liter

1000 mL = 1000 cc

Household Measurement

60 drops (gtt)

1 teaspoon (tsp)

1 teaspoon (tsp)

5 mL = 5 cc

1 tablespoon (tbs)

15 mL = 15 cc

2 tablespoons (tbs)

1 ounce = 30 mL = 30 cc

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