As a parent, it can be hard to see your child suffer. Winter is prime time for falling sick with a cold or the flu, and everyone wants to seek relief for themselves and children when a bug hits.
But when should you give your kid medication?
It’s important to remember that the common cold is caused by a viral infection. Because of this, it can’t be treated with antibiotics.
If you’re seeking relief from symptoms, medicines available without a prescription can help momentarily. Remember: these “remedies” won’t make that cold go away any faster. They’ll simply mask the symptoms.
Older kids can take OTC medications, with caution. Doctors don’t recommend giving these medications to any child under the age of 2. If you feel you want to give over-the-counter cold medication to an older child, make sure you read the label. Some contain codeine, which is an opioid and as such, aren’t recommended for use in anyone under 18 years of age.
Whenever you suspect your child is having trouble breathing, seek immediate emergency medical treatment.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration advises you call your doctor if you see any of these symptoms in your child, as they can indicate that something more serious is at play:
- A fever in an infant 2 months or younger
- A fever of 102 degrees or higher at any age
- Blue lips
- Labored breathing, including nostrils widening with each breath, wheezing, fast breathing, the ribs showing with each breath or shortness of breath
- Not eating or drinking, with signs of dehydration (such as decreased urination)
- Excessive crankiness or sleepiness
- Persistent ear pain
- The cough lasts for more than three weeks
- If the child is getting worse
If your child is running a fever, the correct dose of Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help. Cool mist vaporizers and saline nose sprays can also assist.
Again, if you feel like things could be getting serious, get medical help and stay safe.