Children Aged 6 Years Or Younger
Medsafe recommends that parents and carers should not use decongestant nasal sprays or drops that contain oxymetazoline and xylometazoline in children aged under 2 years. Examples include Otrivin®, Drixine®, Sudafed®, Vicks®. Cough and cold medicines: Medsafe recommends that parents and carers should not use over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children aged under 6 years. This is because there is no evidence that cough and cold medicines work in children. There is also a risk of serious side effects, such as abnormal heart rate, allergic reactions and reduced consciousness in children. Also, there is a greater risk of accidental overdose so cold and cough medicines may cause more harm than good in young children.
|Medicines containing the following ingredients should not be used in children under 6 years of age|
|Honey||Honey can act to soothe the throat.
If you child has a cough or cold, encourage rest and give lots to drink. If your child has a sore throat, see your doctor or nurse in case they need antibiotics or a throat swab.
Chicken Soup And Other Home Remedies May Be Your Best Bet
Coughs and colds can be miserablefor children and for weary parents trying to get some sleep. So it can be tempting to resort to one of the dozens of over-the-counter cold meds that line drugstore shelves.
But youre usually better off skipping them, says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports chief medical adviser. Theres little evidence that these medications help, he says. Plus, like any medication, they can cause side effects, some of which pose special risks to kids.
For example, the Food and Drug Administration has urged caution when giving any cold or cough medicine to children that contains an antihistamine or a decongestant, because those drugs were linked to a slew of emergency room visits in the early 2000s. Manufacturers now warn against giving those drugs to children younger than age 4, and the FDA says parents should take extra precautions even with older children.
The agency has additional childhood precautions for other OTC drugs used to treat a cold, from aspirin to codeine, which, surprisingly, is still allowed in some states in nonprescription cold remedies.
So what should you do instead? See below for the home remedies that work and, when drugs are needed, how to use them safely.
Many people swear by Vicks VapoRub for respiratory illnesses and pain. Is the love justified?
What About Herbal Remedies
Every flu season, people ask their pharmacists if things like vitamin C, echinacea, or probiotics will prevent them from getting sick. Sadly, most of the claims about these products arent supported by much evidence.
One product said to help prevent the flu is Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy made from wild duck heart and liver extracts. Research shows there is no difference between taking Oscillococcinum and a placebo pill .
Another commonly asked about product is echinacea, which is said to boost your immune system. The research available focuses on if it wards off the common cold, but those studies show echinacea doesnt protect you any better than a placebo.
Two natural remedies that may be helpful if you have the flu are elderberry syrup and honey. In a small study, people who took elderberry syrup felt better 4 days earlier than those who didnt. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as well as children under 18 should avoid this product because we dont know if its safe for them to use it. As for honey, it is just as effective at quieting a cough as dextromethorphan. Honey should never be given to infants under 1 year old, though, and if you have diabetes, it could raise your blood sugar levels.
Always ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if taking herbal supplements is OK. They have side effects and can interact with other medications. To read more in depth about herbal treatments and the flu, click here.
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Its Time For A Dose: Should I Wake My Sick Child Up
One of the best common cold remedies is rest, so let your children sleep as much as they need to. If you need to skip a dose of over-the-counter medicine so that your child may sleep longer, go ahead and skip the medicine. Remember: you’ll have a chance to administer that medicine again when your child wakes up, or possibly the next morning. Take your child to a doctor if he or she has been taking an OTC medicine for four days or longer.
Should I Use Otc Medications When My Child Has A Cold
When your child is sick, you want them to feel better. Many parents turn to over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for help. Except for pain and fever drugs, there is no proof that they work. In fact, some of the side effects can make your child feel even worse.
There is also a risk of giving your child too much medicine, such as acetaminophen on top of a cough syrup that already contains acetaminophen. Never use more than one product at the same time unless advised by your doctor.
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Choosing Cold And Flu Medications For Your Kids
- Under Age 4: Absolutely no OTC cold and/or flu medication
- Age 4-6: Can be taken but only as prescribed by your childs doctor
- Ages 6+: Can be taken as directed on the box
- Controls the histamine response, which causes fluid buildup and symptoms like congestion, inflammation, stuffy or runny nose so it stops inflammation and controls the production of fluids at the source.
- Boosts CD4, a specific type of immune cell that fights viruses
- Activates Gamma-Interferon, which rallies many different kinds of immune cells to attack the virus
Offer Plenty Of Fluids
Keep your child hydrated to help reduce cold and flu symptoms and make them feel better. Fevers can result in dehydration. Your child may not feel as thirsty as they normally would, and they may be uncomfortable when drinking, so its important to encourage them to drink plenty of fluids.
Dehydration can be very serious in babies, especially if theyre under 3 months old. Call your pediatrician if you suspect your baby is dehydrated. Some signs may include:
- no tears when crying
- soft spots that seem sunken-in
- urinating less than three to four times in 24 hours
If your child is breastfed, attempt to breastfeed them more frequently than usual. Your baby may be less interested in breastfeeding if theyre sick. You may have to have several short feeding sessions in order for them to consume enough fluid.
Ask your little ones doctor if an oral rehydration solution is appropriate. Remember, you shouldnt give little ones sports drinks.
Older children have more hydration options. These may include:
- sports drinks
- flat white soda
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Does Chicken Soup Really Help Treat A Common Cold
Believe it or not, the answer is yes, for a few reasons. For one, there have been studies that show a connection between eating chicken soup and reducing inflammation.
Even without the possible inflammation-reducing powers of chicken soup, it’s a nutritious brew that can improve health and help promote hydration. But don’t stop at just chicken soup. Give your sick child lots of other fluids, like milk, water, or an electrolyte solution like Pedialyte or Gatorade.
Other Home Remedies
Steam is a great way to help a stuffy nose, and that can help remedy the pain of congestion. Have your child inhale steam from a hot shower or a cool mist vaporizer.
Menthol chest rubs can also be helpful. They help loosen mucus to be coughed out. A word of warning: Do not use medicated vapor on anyone under age 2.
Finally, after nose-blowing has left your child’s face a little raw, try petroleum jelly under the nose to soothe irritated skin.
Know What To Give And When
Adults can easily take cold and cough medications, but the Food and Drug Administration recommends against children under age 2 taking over-the-counter cold and cough medications.
If your child has a fever or symptoms of a cold, and is under age 2, call their pediatrician to determine first if you need to give any medication, and how much you need to administer.
Remember that a fever is the bodys way of fighting off an infection. When your child has a low-grade fever, this doesnt always need to be controlled with OTC medications.
Check the label on the bottle for the concentration of acetaminophen. Let your childs pediatrician know what type youre giving your child, and make sure you understand how many milliliters or half-milliliters you should give them.
If your child is over 6 months old, you may also give ibuprofen to help control fever or pain.
You may find it difficult to measure out medications in the cups that are included with the bottle. If youre concerned about using the provided measuring cup, talk to your local pharmacist. Many pharmacies can provide measuring syringes that are more precise.
Your childs pediatrician may recommend giving multiple medications at one time, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers. If this is the case, make sure you read the labels of all medications carefully, to avoid accidental overdose. For example, some decongestants include the pain reliever acetaminophen.
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Similarities Between The Symptoms Of The Flu And Covid
The flu and COVID-19 are different viruses. They’re very contagious and have similar symptoms. This can make it hard to tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19 when symptoms appear.
If you start to develop symptoms, follow the same precautions taken for COVID-19.
This year is more important than ever for everyone 6 months and older to get the flu shot. This will help prevent the flu and flu-related complications. Preventing the flu will also help reduce stress on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Old Does My Child Need To Be To Take Cough Or Cold Medicine
Don’t give over-the-counter cold medicine or cough medicine to children younger than 4. Several studies have shown that these OTC medicines don’t actually help symptoms in children so young. In fact, they may cause serious and potentially life-threatening side effects. To ease cold symptoms, give extra fluids, use a nasal aspirator, and use a humidifier.
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Clear Up Stuffed Nasal Passages
Medicated nasal sprays arent recommended for young children. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to clear up a stuffy nose without medication.
Use a cool-mist humidifier in your childs room. This will help break up mucus. Be sure to carefully clean the humidifier between uses to keep mold from developing in the machine.
Another option is using a saline nasal spray or drops, which makes thin mucus easier to blow out or remove with a bulb syringe. This is especially helpful before feeding and bedtime.
Is It Ok To Give Vitamins Or Supplements
Itâs not a bad idea to encourage your children to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C or take vitamin C supplements when they have a cold. âThis could help resolve symptoms more quickly,â Shepard says. Oranges, broccoli, strawberries, and bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C. Follow dosing instruction on vitamin labels carefully.
There have also been some concerns about the use of intranasal zinc in children. The FDA recently advised consumers — including kids — to stop using Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs, and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size because they are associated with the loss of sense of smell. This can be especially troublesome in kids, who may be less likely to tell you they canât smell.
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What Is The Difference Between Colds & Flu
Both illnesses are caused by viruses and affect the nose, throat, ears, and occasionally the lungs. They can be hard to tell apart as many of the symptoms are similar. The influenza virus causes flu.
However, a good rule of thumb to understand which virus you have is that colds usually affect only the nose and throat area, while flu makes your entire body feel unwell, often involving symptoms like fever, body aches and fatigue. The flu tends to have more severe symptoms, and can make you feel tired for a few weeks after your other symptoms improve.
Complications that arise from colds and flu are unusual, but children are amongst the groups most vulnerable to them.
Who Should Take Antiviral Drugs
Its very important that flu antiviral drugs are started as soon as possible to treat patients who are hospitalized with flu, people who are very sick with flu but who do not need to be hospitalized, and people who are at higher risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health, if they develop flu symptoms. Although other people with mild illness who are not at higher risk of flu complications may also be treated early with antiviral drugs by their doctor, most people who are otherwise healthy and not at higher risk for flu complications do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.
Following is a list of all the health and age factors that are known to increase a persons risk of getting serious complications from flu:
- Blood disorders
- Chronic lung disease
- Endocrine disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- People who are obese with a body mass index of 40 or higher
- People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- People with a weakened immune system due to disease or medications
Other people at higher risk from flu:
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How Do You Treat A Child’s Stomach Virus
The best ways to treat the stomach flu in kids are hydration and rest. “For hydration, use a rehydration solution that’s available in any store and over the counter,” says Dr. Rojas. “Start with small sips and increase gradually, so they don’t vomit it up.”
Water alone may not be enough to rehydrate kids safely, especially younger children. Kids lose electrolytes when they vomit or have diarrhea. This can lead to low sodium in the blood, a dangerous situation. A rehydration solution, like Pedialyte, replenishes fluids and electrolytes. Broth can also be helpful.
You can also make a rehydration solution at home by combining 4 ¼ cups of water, 6 teaspoons of sugar and a ½ teaspoon of salt.
Dr. Rojas also recommends lots of rest for children. Rest can help the digestive system settle and heal.
What Antiviral Drugs Are Recommended This Flu Season
There are four FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by CDC to treat flu this season.
- oseltamivir phosphate ,
- baloxavir marboxil .
Generic oseltamivirexternal icon and Tamiflu® are available as a pill or liquid suspension and are FDA approved for early treatment of flu in people 14 days and older. Zanamivir is a powder that is inhaled and approved for early treatment of flu in people 7 years and older. is administered using an inhaler device and is not recommended for people with breathing problems like asthma or COPD.) Oseltamivir and zanamivir are given twice a day for 5 days. Peramivir is given once intravenously by a health care provider and is approved for early treatment of flu in people 2 years and older. Baloxavir is a pill given as a single dose by mouth and is approved for early treatment of flu in people 12 years and older. is not recommended for pregnant people, breastfeeding people, outpatients with complicated or progressive illness, or hospitalized patients because there is no information about use of baloxavir in these patients.)
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Giving Your Child Cold And Flu Medicine
For babies and toddlers, over-the-counter cold and flu medicine should be avoided whenever possible, unless instructed by a healthcare provider. “There is no evidence that cold and flu medications make any difference for sick children,” explains Corey Fish, MD, a pediatrician, and the chief medical officer at Brave Care in Portland, Oregon. “In fact, the recommends against these medicines for kids.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over-the-counter cold and flu medicine should not be given to children younger than 6 years.
That said, not all medications are off the table for young children. Here are the safest options for infants, toddlers, and older children based on their symptoms:
Dont Give Cough And Cold Medications To Infants Or Young Children
Although over-the-counter medication for colds and flu are popular, that doesnt mean they work, especially for children. In January 2008, the Food and Drug Administration advised parents that OTC cough and cold medications should not be given to children under the age of two because of the potential risks. Following this announcement, manufacturers of these products changed their warning labels to say they should not be given to children under age four.
Both decisions were the result of criticisms by influential doctors and medical associations, protesting the marketing and widespread use of OTC pediatric cough and cold medications for young children under the age of six. However, when experts had previously been asked by the FDA to provide advice about these medications, the experts had concluded that there was no good evidence that these medications work for children under the age of 12.
We agree with the doctors and medical associations that asked that the FDA require studies of the effects and safety of these medications in young children a public education campaign to inform parents of the lack of evidence for use of OTC cough and cold medications in young children and labeling to make it clear to consumers that these products have not been found safe or effective in young children.
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