Children and OTC Meds – Safety Tips from your Pharmacist

2 years ago  •  Add Comment  •  by Donna Bliss

It can break your heart to see your child not feeling well. When they are sick with the flu, strep throat, or just a run-of-the-mill cold, don’t you wish you could wave a magic wand and send her symptoms packing. But since that’s not possible there are often Over the Counter (OTC) medications that can help. However, there are so many options available on the market, we risk making our children worse by selecting the wrong medication.

Here are 5 quick tips for treating children with over the counter medications:

1. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist.

No one knows medicine better than doctors and pharmacists, so making a quick trip to a drug store near you will be worth the investment in time. They will be able to suggest medications, give you more information on your child’s illness, and answer any questions you may have.

2. Keep a journal of your child’s illnesses on hand.

It’s a good idea to have a booklet ready with the types of medications your child is allergic to, past illnesses that may cause future complications (pneumonia, bronchitis, chicken pox etc.), as well as a general list of medications that have helped them in the past.

For example, your child may find Advil may be better than Tylenol for headaches, so keeping track of these small things can make treating the next illness easier.

3. Read the label.

One of the most important things you can do is to know what you’re handling. Understanding the medication, you plan to give your child can reduces associated risks. When in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist for direction and assistance.

4. Never let a child administer their own medicine.

Be there to ensure that your child is taking the right medication, at the right time, and in the right dosage.

5. Know when it’s an emergency.

And finally, you need to know when it’s time to call 911 or take your child to a hospital. Common signs that there is an emergency include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Bloody phlegm
  • Seizures or slurred speech
  • A sense of confusion or complete loss of memory
  • Poor breathing or complete respiratory failure

Knowing the signs of an emergency, can very well save your child’s life. If you find your child unconscious, put them in the recovery position and call 911. If your child is having a seizure, remove any objects around them and call 911; DO NOT try and stop the convulsions. If your child is coughing up blood, or have started to lose their memory, take them to the ER right away. If they have stopped breathing, begin CPR and call 911.

Knowing how to handle medications will help your child get better. To better handle emergency situations, it would be best to keep your First Aid certification up-to-date and frequently check to make sure all your medications aren’t expired and you have all prescriptions filled.

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