Do We Really Need to Treat Coughs and Colds in Small Children?
We were just visiting my daughter’s pediatrician for her wellness visit. One of the first eye-catching sign I saw in the clinic walls are handwashing instructions posted in every exam room to remind everyone the importance of handwashing in everybody’s health.
Why is this so necessary?
Because the only and proven way to prevent transmission of bacteria and germs is by proper handwashing technique to prevent coughs and colds and other transmissible?illness.
Fall season had finally arrived and as we approach the cold and flu season, we will be seeing again the yearly cycle of ?some interesting?cases of respiratory infections. Every year there seems to be an interesting case that affects many of us, especially to the frail, the elderly, and the young groups of the population.
Children of school age are usually prone to transmissible illnesses due to the fact that they mingle with a lot of kids at school who may be carriers of infection. Parents, we have to make sure that we have indoctrinated our children of ways in how to be healthy and prevent infection.
And that is by PROPER HANDWASHING technique.
Recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
This information is to clarify parents and caregivers about what medicines are right for your children, to know the different?OTC medicines available, and when to give it.
- Coughs and cold medicine are NOT recommended for children less than 6 years old:
>>Several studies show that cold and cough products did not work well in children less than 6 years old and can have potentially serious side effects.
>>ALL infant preparations have been removed from the market as of 10/15/2007
>>FDA recently labeled OTC coughs and cold medicines as NOT FOR USE in children less than 4 years old
- Pain reliever or fever reducer:
>>Acetaminophen can be used in children greater than 2 months old up to every 4 hours as needed.
>>Ibuprofen can be given to children greater than 6 months old up to every 6 hours as needed.
>> NEVER give Aspirin to your children – can cause severe side effects!
- To relieve stuffy nose:
>>Saline nose drops to thin nasal discharge. Place a few drops into each nostril as instructed from the label followed by a gentle bulb suction. This works best for children less than 3 months of age.
>>Cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer in your child’s room. Be sure to clean the humidifier as per manufacturer’s instructions.
- To relieve chest congestion:
>>Chest physical therapy can loosen mucus and may help young children and infants to cough it out. Lay your child across your knees, face down, cup your hand and gently tap your child’s back. Or sit with your child on your lap, lean his/her body forward about 30 ?minutes, cup your hand and gently tap his/her back.
>>Cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer in your child’s room.
- To relieve a cough:
>>Try half a teaspoon of honey for children aged 2-5 years. One teaspoon for children 6-11 years, and 2 teaspoons for children 12 years and older. If given a bedtime, be sure to brush the child’s teeth afterward.
? ? ? ?>DO NOT give honey to children less than 1 year to prevent botulism.
>>Cough drops or lozenges may help soothe the throat in children aged 4 years and older.
? ? ? ?>DO NOT give cough drops or ?lozenges to a child less than 4 years because of the risk of choking.
List of Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications
OTC medications means can be bought at the pharmacy without a prescription from the doctor.
1. Antihistamines – a drug used to counteract the physiological (natural) effects of histamine?production in allergic reactions and colds. This can help temporarily dry secretions.
Clemastine Fumarate (Tavist)
2. Decongestant – a drug used to temporarily decrease nasal congestion. Can help to relieve sinus pressure and increase nasal drainage.
Pseudoephedrine – held behind the pharmacy counter
3. Cough Suppressant – a drug used to attempt to suppress the body’s urge to cough.
4. Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer
5. Expectorant – a drug used to break down thick mucus. Can help to loosen secretions and promote drainage from the lungs (easier to cough up)
Guaifenesin (Mucinex), also labeled with DM
How to Prevent Transmission of Coughs and Colds.
- We should avoid sharing utensils, cups, spoons, toothbrushes, washcloths, and towels of anyone who is sick, and has coughs and colds.
- Everyone should wash their hands several times a day especially after touching body fluids, soiled items, dirt, after using the bathroom, after handling pets, after changing diapers, when attending the sick, and after coughing and sneezing.
- Wash utensils, and ?dishes in hot soapy water.
- Do not SMOKE around your child. Do not smoke in the car or around the house. This is?more critical if your child has bronchial asthma.
Hope this topic helps you today.
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