Do Your Kids Really Need Cough & Cold Medicine? – Consumer health news

SUNDAY, Nov. 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) – When children have a cold, parents may want to refrain from using cough and cold medications, suggests the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Most children get better on their own, and cough or cold medicine won’t change the natural course of a cold or make it go away faster.

In addition, some cough and cold medications can have serious side effects, such as slowed breathing, which can be life threatening, especially in infants and young children, the FDA has warned.

The agency does not recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medications for cough and cold symptoms in children under 2, and product labels advise against giving them to children under 4.

These products may harm children if they receive more than the recommended dose, take the medicine too often, or take more than one product with the same medicine. For example, taking both a pain reliever that contains acetaminophen and a cough and cold medicine that contains acetaminophen.

Do not give children drugs that are packaged and designed for adults, because adult drugs can overdose a child, the FDA said.

He also noted that there are no homeopathic cough and cold medicines approved for children, although they can be found online and in stores.

The FDA has offered tips for relieving cough and cold symptoms in infants and children.

Encourage children to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, especially hot drinks to soothe the throat.

A cool mist humidifier can make breathing easier by reducing congestion in the nasal passages, and saline nose drops or sprays can keep the nasal passages moist and help prevent congestion.

Nasal aspiration with a bulb syringe or similar works very well for children under one year of age.

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to reduce fever, aches and pain. Read carefully and follow the directions or talk to your pharmacist or health care provider about the dosage.

Call your doctor if your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • A fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in an infant 2 months or younger.
  • A fever of 102 degrees F or higher in children at any age.
  • Blue lips.
  • Labored breathing, including the nostrils which widen with each breath; wheezing; rapid breathing; ribs appearing with every breath, or shortness of breath.
  • Severe headache.
  • Do not eat or drink, with signs of dehydration (such as decreased urination).
  • Too much growling or drowsiness.
  • Persistent pain in the ears.
  • If the child gets worse.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on cough and cold treatments.

SOURCE: US Food and Drug Administration, press release, October 28, 2021

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