A sick child can be frustrating, but by using these tips you can help get your little one back to their healthy self.
Care with OTC Drugs
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted its ban on children’s over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicines, it advises parents to take extreme caution when considering their use. In general, the FDA recommends avoiding OTC for children under the age of six. For younger children, the FDA recommends no OTC meds at all, advice that is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A 2007 FDA report found 123 child deaths attributed to OTC decongestants and antihistamines since 1969, mostly children under two. Most pediatricians currently recommend other cold and flu remedies instead of OTC medications, fearing possible side effects like hyperactivity and heart palpitations. Another concern is that OTC cold and flu medications may worsen asthma symptoms.
The American medical journal Pediatrics reports that more than 50 percent of adults misinterpret the child dosing instructions on OTC medications, so parents should be vigilant in using OTC medications on children.
Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Infirmary in Cleveland, said all children under age two should see a pediatrician for any sickness, including the common cold.
“Parents should reach out to their pediatricians, even for minor problems,” he said. “In cases of cold and flu, I ask parents to call if their children have high fevers, are wheezing, or if their symptoms are worsening. Any breathing trouble is a concern.”
For older children, parents should contact pediatricians if their child has a fever of 103?F or greater. That could be a sign that he or she needs an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection. Generally speaking, a child’s cold symptoms should improve in about one week. If fever presents with a rash or any neurological symptoms, however, see a doctor immediately.