When your children are down with a cough, getting the right cough medicine is crucial if you want to help them get relief from their symptoms. Giving your kids medicine is never something to be taken too lightly.
If your children have a cough with phlegm, you need to give them medicine that provides chesty cough relief. This type of medication helps break up the excess mucus irritating their airways, allowing them to get rid of these secretions faster, thereby speeding up their recovery.
In case your kids have a dry cough, help them get relief by giving them a cough suppressant.
Choosing the right medicine to give your children, though, is only one part of helping them recover faster. You also need to make sure they are taking their medication correctly. Failure to do so can prolong their illness and cause troublesome side effects. It can disrupt the treatment as well.
Administering Medicines to Your Children
If you are giving your kids over-the-counter or prescribed medicine, or both, to treat their cough, cold, and other associated symptoms, make sure to avoid these mistakes:
Giving your children the wrong dosage
This is a mistake that many parents tend to make. Unfortunately, they also do it unwittingly and repeatedly.
Your kids’ doctor and pharmacist will recommend the right dose of medicine to give your little ones based on their body weight. Although most OTC drugs provide dosing by age range, these are based on estimates of body mass by age.
As such, to safely administer medicine to your kids, you need to know their weight first. Make sure you tell this to their doctor or pharmacist so that they can recommend the right dosage.
Also, when giving your kids liquid medicine, measure the dosage using a medicine cup or oral syringe. Do not use teaspoons or tablespoons since they come in different sizes that you will end up giving your children too much or too little of their medication, which can prolong their sickness and cause side effects.
Most liquid medicines come with measuring cups or syringes and cups. If they don’t, ask your pharmacist if he or she can give you one.
Not checking the label before giving the medicine for the first time
Whether you are opening a medicine prescribed by the pediatrician or pharmacist for the first time, read the label first. Make sure it is the one listed in the prescription or the one the pharmacist mentioned or listed down.
If you don’t do this and give your children the wrong medicine, they could end up having a severe or life-threatening reaction to the unnecessary drug.
Keep in mind that pharmacists can also make mistakes in dispensing drugs, so read the labels of medicines you buy before opening or giving them to your kids.
Additionally, check the expiration date of both new and already opened medicines to avoid giving expired and unsafe medication to your children.
While reading the labels, pay attention to other instructions as well. These can include giving them the medicine an hour after eating and shaking the bottle well before administering it.
Ignoring the dosing schedule
Your children’s pediatrician or pharmacist will list down the times you have to give your kids their medicine.
This schedule will ensure that you will give your kids the correct dosage of medication at the right time so that it will work effectively without causing any harmful effects. If you don’t have one or fail to follow it, you may end up administering medication doses too close together or give your children more doses within 24 hours than is safe.
The dosing schedule will also prevent you from making another common medicine administration mistake: repeating a dose.
By following the schedule exactly, you will be sure you won’t forget to give your kids their medicines. You will avoid missing a dose, which you may try to remedy by doubling up the dosage to make up for the missed one.
This is a big mistake you have to avoid since doubling doses can cause you to make over-dosing errors, which can lead to severe medical complications.
Doubling up does not speed up your children’s recovery or fix a mistake
When your children are undergoing treatment, don’t assume they will feel better after drinking two or more doses of their medicine. It usually takes two to four days of medication before you can see any results.
Although you want to get your kids feeling better fast, don’t double the dosage or have them drink the medicine an extra time during the day. Doing so won’t speed up their recovery. They can cause serious side effects as well.
Additionally, if a kid throws up an hour after drinking his or her medicine, don’t give him or her another full dose immediately since it can lead to overdosing.
If such a situation arises, call your child’s doctor immediately. He or she will tell you if it is alright to give your little one another full dose.
Going overboard with masking the taste of medicine
Kids are not the easiest ones to give medicine to. To avoid any struggles, you may offer to let them drink a glass of juice if they drink their medication.
Juices, however, are not the best beverages to take medicines with since they can inhibit absorption. As such, ask your kids to drink their medication only with water. You can give them a half-ounce of fruit juice afterwards if they need something to get rid of the taste.
If the medicine can be added to food, use just enough to mask the taste. This means mixing it with a teaspoon of yogurt, mashed fruit, or smoothie. If you add it to a portion is too large, your child may not finish it and, hence, won’t get the full dose.
Ignoring the pediatrician’s orders
If your kids are prescribed antibiotics and seem to feel better even before they finish the bottle, don’t call it a day yet. Don’t throw away or store the remaining medicine.
Keep in mind that bacteria can linger and become resistant to the drug if you fail to follow the full course of treatment. If your children get the same ailment, they will have to start over with a full course of a different antibiotic, and this may lead to more severe side effects.
Make sure you keep giving them their cough medicine based on the pediatrician’s prescription, as well, even if your kids’ symptoms have already abated.
Whether your children have completed their medicine intake or not, but you still hear different cough sounds from them, bring them to their pediatrician. Do not assume they will get better if you wait a little longer.
In this instance, they may require more medication, other treatment options, or further diagnosis to target the underlying cause of their cough and other symptoms.
What are your experiences of giving your kids medicine?