Your first stop when your child has health complaints is typically the drugstore. You want to alleviate her distress as rapidly as you can.
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What should you know about over-the-counter medications?
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While they may be scary, fevers don’t need treatment unless they are over 101.5 degrees. If your child is uncomfortable, you can treat the fever. Never use aspirin on children. Keep a written record of when and how much you dose your child.
Ibuprofen works well for fevers, pain and swelling. You can administer every eight hours.
Acetaminophen works well for fevers. You can administer every four to six hours.
Stuffiness & Congestion
Multi-symptom medications often contain fever medications. Read the active ingredients to be sure you aren’t doubling up on ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Don’t give cold medications to children under age four. Check age appropriateness against the recommendations on the box. Consider natural treatments like honey for children over age one as a cough suppressant. Use a humidifier or safely help your child breathe steam. Clear nasal passages with nose blowing or a mucus bulb.
Check with your pediatrician if a condition is present for more than a few days.
Hydrocortisone cream available without a prescription is very mild. It works on rashes, insect bites, poison ivy and eczema.
Anti-fungal creams work on ringworm and athlete’s foot. Hydrocortisone only makes fungi worse.
Be sure you know the skin condition before selecting an ointment for treatment.
If your baby is gassy, feed her slower and burp her more. Infant tummy problems should be discussed with your pediatrician. Occasional gas drops may help.
Upset stomach for older children usually stems from constipation or stress. If diarrhea and vomiting are absent, call your pediatrician to discuss what’s happening.
Laxatives can be given for a few days to reduce cyclical constipation.
Consider all the places you keep pills— pill cases in your handbag, stashes in your glovebox, prescription bottles in the medicine cabinet. Keep everything out of reach, even the over-the-counter medications.
Older kids may want to experiment with your prescription medications. Lock them up in a tackle box and keep a written inventory of the pills you take or administer.
Listen as Dr. Corinn Cross joins Melanie Cole, MS, to discuss over-the-counter medications and their safe storage.
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