When Is The Best Time To Use Cough Medicine For Kids
Updated: Sep 23
Today when children develop a cough for flu, the simple solution is to search for flu medicine for kids. This is what most parents do, assuming it’s the best treatment for their child. However, research is now showing that this is not always the case. In some circumstances, an alternative to cough medicine for kids may provide parents with a better solution.
What Is The Issue With Cough Medicine For Kids?
Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are designed to treat the symptoms of a cough, rather than actually helping with the underlying condition. Multiple scientific studies have now shown that Promethazine or codeine containing cough mixture , if used on below 2 year-old children , could have very serious side effects. There have now been numerous reports of children under the age of 2 actually overdosing on this medicine.
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As a result, it has now been advised that parents do not use cough medicine for kids to treat coughs and colds in children younger than the age of 2.
When Should You Use Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are used to combat bacterial infections, however, have little to no effect on viruses (which cause colds and flu’s). If your child has the flu, then antibiotics won’t help. In addition to this, the more your child uses antibiotics indiscriminately at a young age, the more prone they will be to become ill with an antibiotic-resistant infection in the future.
However , antibiotics DO have their place in treatment especially when the child is quite seriously ill . That is a decision best to be left to the doctor to decide.
What Medications Should Be Used To Treat A Common Cold?
There are many over-the-counter pain relievers that can help to reduce fevers and the pain of a sore throat. This helps to reduce any discomfort and provide your child with some relief. If you choose to provide your child with a pain reliever, it is important that you follow dosing guidelines very carefully. For babies younger than 3 months, do not provide them with anything unless advised by a doctor. Do not provide any painkillers to children who are vomiting and/or are dehydrated.
You should also avoid using aspirin for teenagers and children. Although it has been approved for use in children older than 3, children who have recently had the flu should try avoid taking aspirin. Another over-the-counter painkiller you should avoid is codeine. This is because codeine has a number of risks including a difficulty breathing, addition, overdose and in the worst cases even death.
How Can I Help My Child Feel Better Without Medicine?
Rather than consistently using cough medicine for kids, there are a number of things you can do to help your child feel better without the need for medicine.
One of the best things you can do is keep them hydrated. Offer them plenty of water, juices and even a broth to help alleviate symptoms. You can also make use of warm liquids such as tea and soup which are known to have a soothing effect.
If you have one available, make use of a cool-mist humidifier. This simple device will help to add moisture in the air which will reduce the drying of the throat and nasal passages. This can help to induce sleep which will further assist with the recovery process.
If your child is struggling to breathe through their nose, you can use a nasal saline. For younger children, it is advised that you use nasal drops, wait around 10 seconds and use a suction bulb to remove mucus. For older children, you can use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray.
For children over the age of 6, you can encourage gargling warm salt water. This will help to soothe throat pain. For throat pain, you can also ‘prescribe’ a hard candy. Research has shown that a hard candy is just as effective for throat pain as medicated lozenges, without the potential side effects they bring. You can also make use of cold or frozen foods such as ice cream and fruit pops. These have also shown to be soothing for a sore throat (and it's always nice to give your child a treat when they’re not feeling their best.
How To Avoid Colds Altogether
Make sure that you teach your child the importance of washing their hand as thoroughly as possible with warm, soapy water. Also, make sure that toys and surfaces are kept clean after they have been played with. If possible, avoid touching your child’s face. They can become sick very easily due to germs passed over through contact with their face.
A balanced diet with good portion of vegetables , fruits & meat will be helpful to build up their immune system .
If they fall sick, without relief of off-the- counter medication for two days , it may be time to see a medical professional such as GP’s such at Anteh Dispensary.