Encore Episode: Choosing Over-the-Counter Medicines for Your Child

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Do you need over-the-counter medication for your child's condition?
Air Date: 10/16/18
Duration: 20:17
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Corinn Cross, MD
Dr. Cori Cross 2017Dr. Corinn Cross was born and raised in New Jersey. She attended Barnard College where she graduated cum laude and majored in philosophy. She went on to attend the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, NJ, where she was selected for the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. Dr. Cross did her internship and residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Cross has continued to work at CHLA as a general pediatrics attending.

Dr. Cross is actively involved in her local AAP, Chapter 2, where she is an obesity champion. She is co-founder of the Fit to Play and Learn Obesity Prevention curriculum. Through a collaboration between AAP Chapter 2 and the L.A. Unified School District this curriculum is being used to educate at-risk students and their parents on the risks of obesity and to help them to lead healthier lives. Dr. Cross is an AAP Spokesperson and speaks to children throughout the L.A. school district about obesity, healthy lifestyles and the benefits of walking to school.

Dr. Cross is a member of the Executive Board for the AAP's Council on Communications and Media. She is the Editor of the Council on Communications and Media's blog.
Encore Episode: Choosing Over-the-Counter Medicines for Your Child
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?


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.

Skin Rashes

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.

Upset Stomach

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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