Your baby woke up in the middle of the night with fever or with excruciating earache? You needed something to give her without delay to relieve the pain or lower her fever. Here are four drugs you should always keep at home for these kinds of emergencies.
1) Lowering fever and pain relief
Medicines based on ibuprofen and paracetamol are effective for relieving pain and treating fever in babies and children. The main difference between them is the duration of action. Ibuprofen is effective for up to 6-8 hours. Paracetamol is effective for up to 4 hours. It’s important to know that ibuprofen and paracetamol are less effective for relieving abdominal pain.
Both are over-the-counter drugs. But that does not mean you should not be careful regarding the right dosage, which should be calculated according to the child’s weight, not age. Use the syringe that comes with the drug for precise measurement. If you do not have a syringe, buy one at your local pharmacy. Some children may not be eager to swallow these drugs, so they can be administered in the form of rectal candles. Of course, you will have to follow the right dosage with candles as well.
2) Medication for cold
Over-the-counter drugs may help relieve symptoms of cold and improve the patient’s overall feeling. However, they will not cure or shorten the duration of the disease.
The most common drug given for cold is pseudoephedrine. It narrows blood vessels and so is effective in cases of stuffy nose and coughing. However, you MUST NOT give your baby this drug without your doctor’s permission. As a rule of thumb, cough medicines are not safe for children under 6. For infants with colds symptoms, the only recommended home treatment is to gently squeeze saline solution into the nose using a syringe or a squeeze bottle.
3) Ear Drops
Every parent will tell you that there is nothing worse than ear pain (it’s even worse that teething pain). Luckily there are over the counter drugs that can bring immediate relief. These drugs contain a local anesthetic called tetracaine and phenazone with anti-inflammatory qualities. Consult your pharmacist regarding the best drugs that fit babies and toddlers.
In the summer, children tend to suffer infection in the outer ear that comes from pool or sea water. The initial treatment for this infection consists of ear drops containing antibiotics.
4) Treating allergic reactions
The over the counter fenistil gel containing the antihistamine dimetindene is highly effective in treating local skin reactions resulting from insect bites or other types of skin irritation.
A more serious anti-allergy treatment requires medical intervention and prescription drugs. Drugs based on antihistamines may cause some side effects, mainly sleepiness. Second generation antihistamine drugs (Cetirizine, Loratadine / Claritin) are more potent and cause less side effects. However, only your doctor can prescribe them to your child.
Safety guidelines for using and storing medicines
1) Keep medicines out of children’s reach. It is best to store medicines in a locked cabinet.
2) The exact dosage should be determined according to the baby or child’s weight and not age. The interval between one dose to another should be according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
3) Check the expiry date of a drug before you give it to your child.
4) Don’t give your child more than one drug at the same time without consulting your doctor to avoid drug interaction, which may aggravate side effects and increase the risk of toxicity.
* This article does not function as medical consultation or does it aim at replacing such consultation. It is highly recommended to consult your pharmacist or doctor before giving your child any type of drug. The picture in this article is for illustrative purposes only.