When a baby is sick with a cold, the first reaction for many parents is to want to give their infant something to make him or her feel better. It’s a natural response; no parent likes to see their little one feeling bad. But turning to the medicine cabinet or making a trip to the pharmacy isn’t going to help your baby get better any quicker and could be dangerous says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine should not be given to children younger than 2 because they could cause serious and potentially deadly side effects, the agency warned.
Children often get more colds than adults, and parents might want to give them pain relievers, decongestants and other medicines, but that would be a mistake. The FDA says the best medicine is simple rest and care.
"A cold is self-limited, and patients will get better on their own in a week or two without any need for medications. For older children, some OTC medicines can help relieve the symptoms -- but won't change the natural course of the cold or make it go away faster," Dr. Amy Taylor, a medical officer in FDA's Division of Pediatric and Maternal Health, said in the news release.
A virus is what typically brings on a cold, but people often ask their physician or pediatrician (for their children) for antibiotics to treat them. Antibiotics are only useful for treating bacterial infections.
Colds are usually accompanied by coughing which can actually be useful to the body.
"Coughs help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs; so you don't want to suppress all coughs," Taylor said.
"Coughs help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs; so you don't want to suppress all coughs," she said.
Fever helps the body fight off an infection and does not always need to be treated. But if your child is uncomfortable because of fever or other symptoms of a cold, there are alternatives to cough and cold medicine to help them feel more comfortable. Taylor says they include the following actions:
· Using a clean cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in a small area near the child’s bed may help moisten the air and decrease the drying of the nasal passages and throat.
· For infants with a stuffy nose, use saline or salt water drops/spray to moisten the nasal passages and loosen the mucus. Then clean the nose with a bulb syringe.
Non-drug treatments to ease coughs in children with colds include giving them plenty of fluids, especially warm drinks to soothe the throat.
While most children with colds do not need to see a doctor, Taylor said parents should call the doctor if they see any of these symptoms:
· A fever in an infant aged 2 months or younger, or a fever of 102 Fahrenheit or higher at any age.
· Signs of breathing problems, including nostrils widening with each breath, wheezing, fast breathing or the ribs showing with each breath.
· Blue lips, ear pain, not eating or drinking, signs of dehydration.
· Excessive crankiness or sleepiness, a cough that lasts for more than three weeks, or worsening condition.
· A persistent cough may signal a more serious condition such as bronchitis or asthma.
"You have to know your child," Taylor said. "With small infants, fever is a major concern, and you need medical advice. If you are worried about your child's symptoms, at any age, call your pediatrician for advice."
The FDA voluntarily removed cough and cold products for children under two years old from the market because of on-going safety concerns discussed in 2007. These safety concerns revealed that there were many reports of harm, and even death, to children who used these products. These reports of harm occurred when the child received too medication such as in cases as accidental ingestion, unintentional overdose, or after a medication dosing error. In those reports of harm that lead to a child’s death, most of those children were under two years of age.
Since infant formulations of cough and cold products were voluntarily removed from the market years ago, parents who currently give these products to their infants (less than 2 years of age) may be using cough and cold products designed for older children and modifying the doses, for instance by giving half the recommended amount to the infant than what is recommended for an older child. This can be especially dangerous as dosing adjustments cannot safely be made this way and could add to the existing risk of giving these products to young children.
Colds can be tough on children and adults and this is certainly the time of year when we all are more susceptible to getting one. Fluids and plenty of rest, plus sanitizing the area around the sick person and not sharing objects like silverware and drinking cups is the best treatment for colds. And of course the most important cold remedy for baby is mommy and daddy’s love and tender touch.
Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/respiratory-and-allergy-information-2/common-cold-news-142/steer-clear-of-cold-meds-for-babies-fda-advises-693878.html