Friday, December 5, 2008

is your child coughing?

This is from Dr. sears article on childrens Cold and Cough Medication Guide: Four major cold medication ingredients: Cough and cold medications come either as one of the following types of medicines, or a combination of two, three or all four ingredients: Nasal decongestant – This will clear nasal passages making it easier to breath through the nose. It also has a mild drying effect so it will also help relieve runny nose a bit. I like to use decongestants during the day because they won't make your child drowsy. This is important if your child is going to school. Side effects may include excitability, which might interfere with sleep. Anti-histamine – This helps relieve a very itchy, runny nose. It decreases mucous production in the nose. The most likely side effect is drowsiness, which is fine at night, but could interfere with daytime activities. Cough suppressant – this helps with a persistent annoying cough. It acts by suppressing the cough reflex in the throat and lungs so that the mucous or irritation there won't trigger coughing. There are no likely side effects. Expectorant – this helps when your child has thick chest congestion, which he is unable to cough up. It loosens thick mucous, making it easier to cough up. There are no likely side effects. Helpful Tip: The brand name of the medication is not important, and don't get confused by the long scientific names of the ingredients. Under the name brand on the front label will be listed the types of ingredients (i.e. decongestant, cough suppressant, etc) that are in the bottle. This should make your buying decision easier. Also, it is okay to use more than one medicine at a time, as long as you are not overlapping any of the above four types of medications. For example: you could use an antihistamine/decongestant combination along with a cough suppressant/expectorant combination. Warning: All four types of cough and cold medications are NO LONGER APPROVED for kids younger than 4 years of age. All bottles of cold and cough meds that have dosing labels for kids under 2 have been taken off the shelves and are no longer available. Manufacturers have also just declared that these meds should not be used in children under 4 years of age as well. The reason for this is two-fold: First, there have been a number of infants and young children harmed by accidental overdoses of these meds when a parent mixed different meds together OR gave too high a dose, this is the reason that the FDA decided to step in and make them no longer available. Second, there has been very little research done on young kids to prove that cold and cough meds are safe and/or effective. Even though they seem to work well and rarely cause any problems when dosed properly, the FDA felt it was prudent to put a hold on their use until further safety and efficacy data become available, and we agree. In addition, the FDA is considering removing cough and cold meds for kids as old as 12, due to the lack of safety and efficacy research in these age groups. The decision for older kids may not come until 2009.