Cough and cold season is upon us. It can seem like the right thing to do to give your child some medicine to ease the suffering. However, new reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn against routinely giving over-the-counter cold medication to children under the age of two. There have been reported deaths in children from the use of cold medicine containing the decongestant pseudoephedrine. There has not been enough research into the use of these medications on young children to fully examine the levels of toxicity and effectiveness, leading to confusion over dosing levels. In 2006, the American College of Chest Physicians released guidelines that advised health-care providers to refrain from recommending cough suppressants for these young children.
So what should you do if your child is sick? To be safe, children under the age of two should not be given cold or cough medication without first consulting a health-care provider. If it is determined that your child needs this medication, be sure to follow the dosing guidelines given to you by your doctor precisely. In fact, further research has indicated that these medications are no more effective than a placebo for very young children. Better treatment options include the use of saline nose drops, a cool-mist humidifier, and clearing secretions with a rubber suction bulb.
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