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How Safe Are Children’s Over-The-Counter Medications? | Amoils.com

Added May 10, 2010, Under: Babies, Children's Health, Drugs, New Moms, Parents

url1There is a lot of coverage in the media about the recent recall of children’s Tylenol products which the FDA say were knowingly contaminated. The company responsible was McNeil Consumer Healthcare which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. A report from FDA found that the infants’ and children’s line of Tylenol products were contaminated with dangerous bacteria as well as dark or black specks of foreign material.

For a very interesting slant on this story, go to here where as usual the Health Ranger does not mince his words.

The explanation from the McNeil Consumer Healthcare website

McNeil Consumer Healthcare is initiating this voluntary recall because some of these products may not meet required quality standards. This recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events. However, as a precautionary measure, parents and caregivers should not administer these products to their children. Some of the products included in the recall may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles. While the potential for serious medical events is remote, the company advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use.

I am sure you will be able to read between the lines there!

Tylenol is a pain reliever and a fever reducer

When your children get a cold, you probably wonder which cold medicine is the safest. Because children have special needs when it comes to cold medicines, here is some safety information to consider when your child catches a cold.

Are cold medicines safe for children?

Even the makers of over-the-counter children’s cough and cold medicines agree that these medicines should not be used in children under 4. This includes: cough suppressants (dextromethorphan or DM); cough expectorants (guaifenesin); decongestants (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine); antihistamines (such as brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine [Benadryl] and others).

And evidence indicates that these cold medicines don’t really help, and they post a small risk of serious side effects. While millions of children have taken cold medicines without any trouble, there were reports between 1969 and 2006 of 60 young children dying from decongestants or antihistamines.

Many parents will consider any risk to be unacceptably high

The FDA recommends the following safety guidelines (but remember that the FDA cannot always be trusted and has failed the public before):

• Always read the package label and follow directions carefully.
• Don’t use cough or cold medicines in children under 4 years old unless you receive specific directions to do so from your child’s doctor.
• Never increase the dose of a medicine or give the medicine more frequently than is stated on the package. Too much medicine can cause serious and life-threatening side effects.
• Do not give adult medicines to kids. Children should only take products marked for use in babies, infants or children (sometimes called “pediatric” use).
• Ask your child’s doctor if you are unsure about the right medicine for your child. Cough and cold medicines come in many different strengths.
• Tell your child’s doctor about any other medicines (OTC or prescription) that are being given to your child. This is so that your child’s doctor can review and approve their combined use.
• Always use the measuring device (dropper, dosing cup or dosing spoon) that is packaged with the child’s medicine. (A kitchen teaspoon is not an appropriate measuring device for giving medicines to children).
• If you are at all concerned about what your doctor has advised or prescribed, do you own research for your peace of mind.

How should you treat cold symptoms in children?

Most colds run their course within 5 to 10 days – with or without treatment – and in addition, there are no studies supporting the use of antihistamines, cough suppressants, decongestants, vitamins, herbs or antibiotics for the treatment of children’s colds. Also, when you suppress a cough, this may worsen the symptoms by making it difficult for your child to cough up the thick mucus.

Are there safe ways to relieve children’s cold symptoms?

• Try saline drops or saline nasal irrigation to clear thick mucus out of your child’s nose.
• Give your child plenty of liquids to increase hydration and help thin mucus.
• Use a humidifier in your child’s room to add moisture to the dry air.
• If your child has asthma or wheezes, talk to your doctor. Your child may benefit from a bronchodilator to relieve swollen airways.
• You will find there are natural herbal and homeopathic remedies for children available on line.

When should you call the doctor about a child’s cold?

If your child’s cold symptoms worsen or don’t go away in a week, call your child’s doctor and see if there might be another problem.

Remember too that many medicines for children contain additives, artificial colors and preservatives. Some are addictive and others may cause side effects which end up being worse than the condition that they are supposed to treat.

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