Which Medicines Are Available For Children Over The Counter
Some childrens medicines are available over the counter without a prescription. However, most should be discussed with a healthcare professional including the pharmacist before you give them to your child. These include:
- medicines to reduce pain and fever, including paracetamol and ibuprofen which are generally safe when dosing instructions are followed
- cough and cold medicines to treat runny noses, congestion and coughs these are not recommended for children aged under 6 years, and only with a doctor or pharmacists recommendation for ages 6 to 11 years
- antihistamines to treat allergy symptoms, which are not recommended for children under 6 years, and only with a doctor or pharmacists recommendation for ages 6 to 11 years
- puffers containing salbutamol for asthma, which should be used only after an initial prescription or recommendation from a doctor
Should I Wake My Child Up For A Dose
Rest is one of the best remedies for a cold, so let them sleep. If that means skipping a dose of over-the-counter medicine, don’t worry — you can give them the next dose when they wake up, or wait until morning. If your child has been taking an OTC medicine for more than three days, they should see their doctor.
What Should I Use Instead Of Medication
In the absence of medication, most pediatricians suggest supportive care to help kids weather coughs and other cold symptoms.
Because cough and sore throat result from postnasal drip, clearing out your child’s sinuses is the first step. Top remedies include:
- Steamy showers: One way to loosen up phlegm is to stand in a steamy shower for 10 minutes. If your child has a barking, croup-like cough, have them step into cold air after the steam. “For whatever reason, that 1-2 punch of steam followed by cold air tends to quiet down the cough,” Dr. Phillips says.
- Saline nasal drops or sprays: Saline helps flush the nasal cavity of the icky stuff that causes cough. It also helps moisturize the nasal passages, which can ease sore throats.
- Nasal aspirators: For children who can’t blow their own noses, nasal aspirators can help you clear out their nasal passages so they can breathe a little easier. The process eliminates excess mucus from stuffy nasal passages and helps eliminate cough irritants in the process.
- Humidifiers: Cool-mist humidifiers disperse moisture into the air, which can help loosen mucus and relieve swollen throats. Choose cool mist instead of hot water or steam to prevent a child from getting burned.
- Prop your child’s head up: When kids lie flat, mucus can build up in the sinuses, where it can clog nasal passages and interfere with restful slumber. You can help relieve the pressure by propping up your child’s head with a pillow to decrease blood flow to the nose.
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Study Design And Population
The reported data in this study came from a cross-sectional survey conducted between June 2017 and April 2018 in China. Parents with children aged 013years were recruited across three purposefully selected Chinese provinces Zhejiang, Shaanxi, and Guangxi representing different geographic areas and varying economic development stages. Detailed methods, including sampling and recruitment, have been published elsewhere . A representative sample of parents was obtained with a multistage stratified random cluster sampling procedure. The sampling procedure was conducted in four stages- provinces, prefecture-level cities, urban, and rural areas. The sampling sites included primary schools for parents whose children aged 6 to 13years old, kindergartens for parents whose children aged 3 to 5years old, and vaccination sites of community health centers for parents whose children aged 0 to 2years old. The total sample size was 9526. Among them, 1275 parents had self-medicated their children and then visited a doctor in the past month.
What The Fda And American Academy Of Pediatrics Say
- Younger than 4 years, do not give cough and cold medicines.
- Ages 4 to 6, ask your childs doctor. Do not give OTCs unless you have checked with your childs doctor.
- Older than 6 years, cough and cold OTCs can be used if given correctly.
- These medicines are not safe if:
- Your child receives a dose that is too high for his or her age and weight.
- Give the right dose based first on your childs weight and then his or her age.
- Use the measuring cup that comes with the medicine or a pediatric measuring device .
Don’t Call Otc Medicine Candy
Kids, especially young ones, love to imitate what adults do. Take these precautions:
- Avoid taking your own prescription or OTC medication in front of children.
- Be sure you never call any medicine “candy.”
- Don’t use sweet-tasting medication — like children’s vitamins — as a reward. You can offer a favorite drink afterward to “wash the taste away.”
REFERENCES:Steven J. Parker, MD associate professor of pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine WebMD pediatric consultant co-author, Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care . Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth.com: Medications: Using Them Safely.” American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/SafeMedication.com: “Medications and You.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “Public Health Advisory: Nonprescription Cough and Cold Medicine Use in Children,” “How to Give Medicine to Children,” “Preventing Iron Poisoning in Children.” Safe Kids USA: “Poison Safety.” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Children Act Fastâ¦So Do Poisons.” WebMD Medical Reference: “Kids’ Cold Medicines: New Guidelines,” “Soothing Your Child’s Cold,” “Natural Cold & Flu Remedies Slideshow,” “Children and Colds,” “Strep Throat.” Palos Community Hospital, Palos, Ill.: “Medication Safety.”
Symptoms Of Sore Throat
A sore throat can make it painful to swallow. A sore throat can also feel dry and scratchy. Sore throat can be a symptom of strep throat, the common cold, allergies, or other upper respiratory tract illness.
The following symptoms suggest a virus is the cause of the illness instead of the bacteria called group A strep:
- Joint swelling and pain
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see your doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Follow up with a doctor if symptoms do not improve within a few days, get worse, or if you or your child have recurrent sore throats.
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What Else Can I Do To Bring Down My Childs Temperature
A sponge bath with lukewarm water may help. Never use cold water, ice, or rubbing alcohol. Dress your child lightly and donât pile on blankets. Watch for signs of dehydration. Call the doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if your infant has dry diapers, a dry mouth or tongue, a dark red or purple rash, or is not feeding well. For an older child, call the doctor if they appear dehydrated, is not urinating enough, is not drinking well, or is not acting normally.
Most Prescribed Drugs For Kids And Teens
This list of the most prescribed drugs for children and teens can help you understand the medicines your pediatrician may recommend for your kids. In a study of pediatric medicine trends over an eight year period, antibiotics were prescribed the most for kids. However, this declined over time and prescriptions for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder increased.
This article explores the most common prescription medications for children and teens. It will also explain the concerns that each medication may treat.
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Giving Medicine To Your Child
Make sure you know how much and how often to give a medicine. Recording it in your child’s Personal Child Health Record may help you remember.
Always read the label on the bottle, and stick to the recommended dose. If in doubt, check with a pharmacist, health visitor or GP.
Most medicines for young children come with a special measure called an oral syringe.
This helps you measure small doses of medicine more accurately. It also makes it easier to give the medicine to your child.
If you’re not sure, your health visitor or pharmacist can explain how to use the syringe.
Never use a kitchen teaspoon to give your baby or child medicine, because they come in different sizes.
What Should I Do If My Child Has A Fever
Pediatricians say a fever is significant when it’s 100.4 degrees or more. If your child has a fever, call the doctor if they’re younger than 6 months has other symptoms has had a fever for more than two days or has not been vaccinated. In other cases, it’s usually safe to use children’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Never give a child aspirin. It poses a risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious illness that affects the liver and brain.
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Paracetamol And Ibuprofen For Babies And Children
It’s best to choose a sugar-free version. Medicines that contain sugar can harm your child’s teeth.
Make sure you get the right strength for your child’s age and check the label for the correct dose. Or you can ask a pharmacist for advice.
It’s a good idea to keep one or both medicines stored in a safe place at home.
Some Antibiotics Are Available In Chewable Form
Never hesitate to ask your pharmacist or doctor if your childs medication is available in different forms. As healthcare providers, we understand that all children are different when it comes to what medications they can and cannot take.
Some children prefer liquids, while others may not. This is where chewables come in handy. A variety of antibiotics, allergy medications, vitamins, and beyond are available in chewable form.
Chewables may be helpful if your child doesnt like liquids and is unable to swallow pills just yet.
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How Should I Store My Child’s Medicine
It is important to store all medicines safely. When prescribed medicines are not taken as directed, they are considered poisons. Children are particularly at risk of poisoning because they are naturally curious, and young children tend to put things in their mouths as part of their normal development.
Poisoning happens most often in children under 5 years of age, with toddlers aged 1 to 3 years at greatest risk.
If you think your child has swallowed a medicine not intended for them, take the container and the child to the phone and call the Poisons Information Centre . If your child collapses, stops breathing or has difficulty breathing or has a seizure, call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
Preventing accidental poisoning is everyones responsibility. Here are some safety tips to remember:
- Children often imitate adults, so try and avoid taking medicines in front of your child.
- Put away the medicine immediately after using it.
- Check the storage instructions on the medicines packaging. For example, some medicines need to be refrigerated.
- Store your medicines high up, out of childrens reach. Consider installing a child-resistant lock on your medicine cupboard.
- Clean out your medicine cupboard regularly. Take any unwanted and expired medicines to your local pharmacy for disposal.
Ways To Treat Colds In Infants And Children
Coughs are a normal symptom of a cold and help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs. Non-drug treatments for coughs include drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm drinks to soothe the throat.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers these tips for relieving cough and cold symptoms in infants and children:
A cool mist humidifier makes breathing easier by decreasing congestion in nasal passages. Do not use warm mist humidifiers because they can cause nasal passages to swell and make breathing more difficult.
Saline nose drops or sprays keep nasal passages moist and help avoid stuffiness.
Nasal suctioning with a bulb syringe or a similar product, with or without saline nose drops, works very well for children younger than a year old. You can use them on older children, too, but they often resist bulb syringes.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to reduce fever, aches, and pain. Carefully read and follow the products instructions on the Drug Facts label or talk to your pharmacist or health care provider about dosage.
Encourage children to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated.
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Are Antibiotics Ok For My Child
Antibiotics are very helpful medicines when used appropriately. You can discuss whether your child needs antibiotics with your doctor. Many childhood infections dont need treatment with an antibiotic, including viral infections, infections that get better by themselves or infections that need physical treatment, such as a dental infection that needs to be drained.
There are, however, times when antibiotics play an important role in treating bacterial infections. These include preventing the spread of bacterial infection in the body which could otherwise become severe or lead to hospitalisation to prevent severe infection or hospitalisation. If your child needs an antibiotic, your doctor will select an antibiotic that is most suitable for their infection and will consider the most suitable dose and length of treatment. Always make sure your child finishes the prescribed course of antibiotics even if they start to feel better.
Some antibiotics come in different forms . If your child finds it difficult to take one form, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a different way to take the medicine one that your child may prefer.
Not All Liquid Antibiotics Have To Taste Bad
Most liquid antibiotics are already flavored by the manufacturer, ranging anywhere from fruity strawberry to bitter mint. But there are other flavorings out there to mask those original flavors if your child doesnt like them. Ask your pharmacy if they can flavor your childs liquid medicationmost will do it for minimal to no cost.
The pharmacy can suggest the best flavor options. Their recommendation can be extremely important if you want to cover up the original flavor.
There are many flavors available, including most types of fruit and bubblegum. Check out FlavorRx for more information on flavoring various liquid medications for your child.
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How Should We Store Medicine
Be as careful about storing medicines as you are about giving the correct dose. Read the medicine’s instructions. Some drugs need to be refrigerated, but most should be stored in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight.
Your bathroom’s medicine cabinet is a poor choice for storing most medicines because of the humidity and moisture from the tub or shower. Instead, store medicines in their original containers in a dry, locked location that kids can’t reach. Above-counter kitchen cabinets are great spots if they are away from the stove, sink, and hot appliances.
Child-resistant caps can be hard even for adults to open. But protect your kids by re-locking and recapping child-resistant bottles properly. Kids can sometimes open the cap, so it’s important to lock away all medicines. If any visitors to your house have medicine in their bags, purses, or coat pockets, make sure they put those out of sight and out of reach.
If your child accidentally takes medicine, call the Poison Control Center right away for guidance at 1-800-222-1222. Put this number in your cellphone and post it where others can see it in your home.
Giving Medicines To Kids
Double check. First, check to make sure you have the correct prescription. Many prescription and medicine bottles look the same, so make sure your child’s name is on the label and it’s the medicine that the doctor recommended or prescribed.
Be especially careful when reaching into the medicine cabinet in the middle of the night it’s easy to grab the wrong bottle when you’re sleepy.
Read all instructions. Both prescription and OTC medicines usually come with printed inserts about common side effects and further instructions on how to take the medicine. Be sure to read all information carefully before beginning the medicine. The label may instruct you to shake a liquid medicine before using so that the active ingredients are evenly distributed throughout it. Call the doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
With or without food? All prescription medicines have labels or instructions about how to take them. For example, “take with food or milk” means the medicine may upset an empty stomach or that food may improve its absorption. In this case, your child should eat a snack or meal right before or after taking the medicine.
The right dose. Giving the correct dose is important because most medicines need to be taken in a certain amount and at certain times to be effective. The dose will be written on the prescription label or, on OTC medicines, should be printed on the package insert, product box, or product label.
Other options for young kids are:
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When You Need Themand When You Dont
Many children get ear infections. The infections are usually in the middle ear behind the eardrum. They may be caused by bacteria or by a virus. Doctors often treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. Antibiotics are strong medicines that kill bacteria.
Infants and some babies and children do need antibiotics.
But using antibiotics too often can be harmful. Heres why:
In most cases, antibiotics are not needed.
- They do not work for ear infections caused by viruses.
- They do not help the pain.
- Usually, viral infections and many bacterial infections go away on their own in two to three days, especially in children who are over two years old.
First, call the doctor and treat the pain.
If you suspect your child has an ear infection, you should call the doctors office and describe the symptoms. Usually, your doctor should ask you to wait a few days before bringing your child in.
The main sign of an ear infection is pain, especially on the first day. Or, a child may have a fever.
Start by giving your child an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as:
- acetaminophen .
- ibuprofen .
Antibiotics do not relieve pain in the first 24 hours. They only have a small effect on pain after that. So, pain relievers are an important treatment, and usually they are the only treatment needed.
When is treatment with antibiotics needed?If the infection is very painful and lasts more than a few days, chances are it is a bacterial infection.