Cold and Cough Medicine: why it can hurt your kids

Cold and Cough Medicine: why it can hurt your kids

Parents, are you treating your kids with over-the-counter cough and cold medicines? Please, stop! When your kids have a cough and/or the common cold, I bet that makes them and even you miserable.

The symptoms are uncomfortable, lasts a long time and makes it difficult to get a proper sleep. As parents, you want the quickest and most effective remedy to get your little ones back to their active, happy self. 

Note though, that over-the-counter cough and cold could be more harmful than helpful in children. There’s no evidence these medicines work, and they can cause side effects such as allergic reactions and problems with sleeping.

So, how do you make safe choices? The first thing to think about is how old is your child.

Know that:

  • Cough and cold medicines, decongestants, and antihistamines should never be taken by children under 4 years old
  • Codeine should not be given to children under 18 years old because they can cause your child to have life threatening breathing problems

What you should do:

  • Make sure your child gets plenty to drink. It helps thin the mucus and prevents them from getting large in the nose and throat.
  • for kids over 1 year, you can try a warm drink, like soup or decaf tea with 1teaspoon of honey to loosen congestion and soothe throat irritation. Never give honey to a child under 12 months of age.
  • if your child is 5 years and over, sucking on a sugar free throat lozenges candy can help relieve an irritated throat and reduce the urge to cough. Don’t give hard candy or lozenges to younger children as they can choke on them.
  • Your older kids can ease their sore throat by gargling with salt water 

If your child is not getting better after 5 days, ask a health professional for advice.

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