There are many medicines for coughs and colds that you can buy without a prescription. These medicines are for a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, or cough. Even though some of these medicines come in a liquid form, they may not be safe for children under 6 years old. Since there is no solid proof that cough and cold medicines work well in small children, their use may not be worth the risk since these medicines can sometimes cause harmful side effects.
What you can do:
• Do not use any cough or cold medicine in children under 6 years old unless you check with their prescriber.
• Do not use antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) to make your child sleepy.
• Do not give your young child medicine that is made for older children or adults.
• Read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle. Be sure to read the “Drug Facts” on the label (this will list what is in the medicine, warnings, and directions for use).
• Do not use two medicines at the same time that have the same ingredients in them.
• When giving a child any medicine, use a dosing cup, dropper, or dosing syringe to
make sure you give the right dose. Do not use a spoon from your kitchen.
Other things you can do for your child:
• Give your child lots of fluids to drink so they do not become dehydrated.
• Medicines like acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin) are okay to use and can help make your child feel better. These medicines come in a liquid for younger children and chewable tablets for older children.
• For a stuffy nose, keep your child’s head up, try saline nose drops, or use a room
Call your prescriber if your child:
• is under 3 months old.
• is not wetting as many diapers as normal.
• has a temperature higher than 102° F (38.9° C).
• has ear pain.
• has red eyes or has yellow eye discharge.
• has a cough for more than 1 week.
Content taken from Pharmacist’s Letter.