In the year 2007, manufactures of cold medicine for children had agreed to stop the marketing of these over-the-counter medicines for children under the age of two. This had brought about a 50% decrease of emergency rooms seeing children being injured and sometimes causing the death of infants and toddlers.
These medications are still however, being marketing for children even though they have been noted to be dangerous to the health of a child and many parents still give their children the medications believing they are totally safe since they are allowed to be sold.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have safety concerns over these medications. Their concerns had brought about manufactures to remove these products especially for use in younger children. Even the Food and Drug Administration had issued a warning that cough and cold medicines could produce serious and possible life threatening side effects.
Even with that information directly from the FDA, the over-the-counter cold medicines remain on the market. The FDA however, did strongly advocate to the manufactures to update usage and safety labels to state that the medicines were not safe to be used for children under the age of two. After that incident studies had set forth and showed that the medications posed danger even in older children. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association had once again in 2008 updated the information on these medications. The new labeling noted the medications are to be used in children over the age of four.
The United Kingdoms Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in 2009, released a warning that cough and cold medicines are unsafe for children under the age of six years old. The agency even suggested that are realistically of no use, due to the fact that coughs and colds will go away naturally within the same amount of time, it does not matter if medications are used or not. The agency had placed more stringent guidelines on the sales of these medications.
They had also advised parents that medications which contain antihistamines, cough suppressants, expectorants or nasal decongestants should be given to young children and never given to children under the age of two years old.
June Raine, Director of Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines had stated that the safety and effectiveness of these medications should not just be assumed due to studies showing they work in adults. Children should have medications which are aimed towards them and totally safe for their use.
In the United Kingdom, in June of this year it was released that cough and cold medications for children under twelve will only be sold in pharmacies with the exception of those medications which contain only natural ingredients such as honey and lemon.
Dr. Stewart Jasmine, manger of Medsafe Group, had stated that this new procedure means that cough and cold medicines will still remain in other stores such as supermarkets as long as they are re-labeled stating to be used only for adults and children over the age of twelve.
Dr. Michael Shannon, MD, MPH, pediatric emergency medicine physician and pharmacologist/toxicologist at Children’s Boston, gave his opinion to the FDA on the dangers concerning administering cough and cold medicines to children under six along with advice to parents.
In Dr. Shannon’s statements he had noted that cold medicines do not work and there are large amounts of scientific information from studies that support this claim. There is also a risk in these medications especially under the age of two years old and evidence has also shown the dangers of these medications in older children.
There are three general categories for the side effects. The most common of the side effects was overdose mainly believed to be caused by improper labeling. Even medications given in the right doses can cause side effects especially if the child is taking another medication which can cause a drug interaction which can produce critical side effects. The next problem is if the child has an underlying illness such as having had cardiac surgery of any type. The cold and cough medication can also produce side effects.
Dr. Shannon continues that there are not any cough and cold medication currently available which are safe and effective for the use in children. Cough suppressants do not actually suppress a cold and decongestants do not really relieve congestion.
Dr. Jay Hoecker, pediatrics specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota also states that cough and cold medicines do not effectively treat a child’s cold or cough. The possible side effects can produce a rapid heart beat and convulsions.
The bottom line is cough and cold medicines are not effective and will not make the cold go away. If parents insist on giving these medications to children never give two medications that contain the same active ingredients such as both containing antihistamines.
The advice offered by Dr. Hoecker is as follows:
Giving water, juice and broth will aide in loosening congestion.
Promote coughing which aides clearing the airway of mucus. If they need help to cough, have child sit on your lap and have them lean body forward about 30 degrees, and gently tap the back.
For babies or really young child use a suction bulb to remove mucus out of the nose. Just squeeze the bulb part and gently place the tip inside on nostril and slowly release the bulb.
A cold mist humidifier in the room with the child will moisten nasal passages. Make sure water is changed each day and follow instructions by manufacture for cleaning. Place child in bathroom for a minutes with hot steam from the shower can also help. Saline drops can be purchased over-the-counter and aides in loosening thick nasal mucus.
For children over four years of age, gargling with salt and water will ease sore throats. Sucking on hard candy or cough drops are also useful.
To relieve coughing use honey. For children two to five years of age use ½ teaspoon, one teaspoon for ages six to eleven and two teaspoons for ages 12 and older. Never give honey to any child one year or younger.
Have child get plenty of rest and omit school along with other activities if they have a fever from the cold or have a bad cough.
Using natural remedies to treat a child with a cold is fine but when using any types of herbs parents should check with health practitioner first due to the fact herbs can cause adverse reactions with certain medications.
Some other noted natural remedies:
Vicks® VapoRub®, has been recently noted in a scientific study does aide children who are suffering from colds and cough. Just rub some on the child’s chest a half hour before bedtime.
Healthy Child recommends the following treatments to aide in colds for children. Their advisory board consists of qualified health practitioners and other specialists in the area of medicine along with environmental scientists.
Boosting the immune system is vital especially when it comes to the cold, flu or viruses. The following treatments all have been scientifically proven to boost the immune system, are safe and effective.
Echinacea has been proven safe for children and effective especially when given with vitamin C. The product called Chizukit is very effective for children. It blends together echinacea, propolis which is a plant resign bees collect, and vitamin C. In a study done children who had taken Chizukit had a greater amount of less colds. The study had indicated that when echinacea combined with vitamin C is possibly effective for cold prevention in children.
Astragalus which has been used in Chinese traditional medicine contains anti-bacterial, anti-inflammation and anti-viral properties. It has been demonstrated in studies to stimulate the immune system and provide cold prevention.
It is safe to give to children with the exception of a fever. If a fever is present it should not be given since Chinese medicine does note that it will make the fever last longer and go up.
Dosage on this herb is adjusted to an adults dose based on weight. Most adult doses are calculated on 150 pounds of weight. For an example, if the child weighs 50 pounds they would receive 1/3 the adult dose. Due to different strengthens and concentrations sold, the dosage is dependent upon each individual.
Elderberry in natural syrup form. The syrup contains flavonoids and antioxidants. These compounds aide in fighting colds and build the immune system. It also aides in soothing sore throats. Sambucol ® is one of the more popular brands sold for children and can be found at many stores including Rite Aid stores.
Chiropractic care even keeps the immune system of a child functioning properly. Adjustments done in children does boost their immune system. Their have been studies conducted that show children who have regular chiropractic treatments do have less colds, flu and ear infections.
Example in the case of fevers. The adjustments provide a way for the body to naturally heal its self by boosting the immune system. Standard adjustments also help the body guard against harmful germs.
Since acupressure does not use needles it is more readily accepted by children.
Acupressure just like acupuncture has been noted to be effective as prevention and a treatment for colds, flu and general achy feeling that accompanies them.
The points used in acupressure stimulate the body’s immune system which increase energy levels which decreases the feeling of fatigue.
The points used include large intestine 4 for relief of headaches and congestion.
Natural News: Cough,Medicines
New Zeland Ministry of Health
University of Maryland Medical Center
Infinite Health Resources
Care Dermologica Skin
Doc 20 Medical Information