If you go into any pharmacy or drugstore and look through the cold and flu aisle, you are going to see a range of products marketed. Most of the major products for fever, headaches, and nasal congestion are marketed for different age groups. There is also a wide array of products specifically marketed for babies and toddlers. However, the Food & Drug Administration has recently come out with a broad statement that parents of babies should avoid using certain of these products. It has been determined that most babies and toddlers have no need for these types of medication and doing so could put them at risk for side effects.
Children younger than two years of age are particularly at risk for reactions to medicines because their bodies have not yet fully developed. Colds and fevers are the natural method by which the body deals with an introduction of a virus and reduces its effect in the future. It can be stressful to see a child with a fever or serious cold, but rather than giving them medicine, care and rest are the best treatments.
A cold from a virus is going to run its course, regardless of the medicine used. In fact, most medicines just temporarily mask a symptom; they don’t actually eliminate what is causing the sniffles, mucous, fever, or aches. The body takes care of this naturally, which usually runs about a week or two with a normal cold, per Dr. Amy Taylor, an FDA medical expert.
There is the impulse to give antibiotics with a serious cough infection or fever, but these are pretty much useless against a virus and can actually create bacteria that could be worse. While coughing can be disturbing, it’s a natural process for the body to expel material the white blood cells have captured. Suppressing a cough can result in keeping mucous inside the body instead of getting rid of it. Instead, providing warm fluids helps a child create more moisture to soothe the throat and stay hydrated.
Parents should work with a doctor whenever the following occurs instead of relying on over-the-counter meds:
- If a child has a fever greater than 102.
- If breathing is labored and difficult, as if there is a blockage or the lungs are filling with fluid.
- If the child’s color is not normal, such as yellowing or bluish pale in the skin.
- If the child’s behavior is irrational, such as dizzy, severely cranky, inability to listen to basic commands.
- If the child is vomiting and/or getting dehydrated.
- If the child is suffering from severe ear pain and imbalance.
Anytime there is a high fever, parents should contact their doctors. Don’t trust simple medicines to deal with the issue. A child’s health can suffer much faster with a serious fever, which is why direct medical care is so important.
If you or someone you know has been negatively impacted by over-the-counter medicines or marketing, call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.