Mamas & Papas Magazine December/January 2016July 11, 2016
Your Baby – September 2009August 3, 2016
What should I do if my child has a fever?
Call the doctor:
- If your baby is younger than 6 months old and has a fever.
- If your child has a fever for 2 days or more.
- If the vaccinations and immunizations are not up to date.
Never give a child aspirin as it poses a risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious illness that affects the liver and brain.
What can I do to bring my child’s temperature down?
- A sponge bath with lukewarm water may help. Never use cold water, ice, or rubbing alcohol.
- Dress your child lightly and don’t pile on blankets.
- Watch for signs of dehydration and try give your child fluids at regular intervals.
- Call the doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if your infant has dry diapers, a dry mouth or tongue, or is not feeding well.
- For an older child, call the doctor if he appears dehydrated, is not urinating enough, is not drinking well, or is not acting normally.
When must I call the paedatrician?
- Call if your child is younger than 12 months and you think he has the flu, or if he is not drinking or urinating enough.
- Call if he has yellow or green nasal mucus; any discharge after 10 days; or discharge coming from his eyes.
- Call if the fever has persisted for two days or more.
- Go to the emergency room if your child has trouble breathing, is acting very sick, refuses to eat or drink, has a rash, or you are concerned.
Does chicken soup really help for colds and flues?
Yes. Studies show chicken soup may help reduce inflammation. It is also nutritious and can help prevent dehydration. Also give plenty of other fluids, like water, milk, or an electrolyte solution.
Other home remedies you can try:
- Inhaled steam from a hot shower or a cool mist vaporizer may help a stuffy nose.
- Menthol chest rubs can help loosen mucus to be coughed out.
- Do not use medicated vapor in children under 2.
- Petroleum jelly under the nose can soothe irritated skin.
What can ease a sore throat and cough?
- Most sore throats caused by colds last about 4-5 days.
- For kids over the age of 2 years, give warm, non-caffeinated tea or water with 1/2 teaspoon of honey and lemon to ease a sore throat and cough.
- Try 1 teaspoon of buckwheat honey by itself to ease a cough in kids over the age of 1.
- For kids 6 years and older, hard candy or over-the-counter lozenges with anesthetic can help reduce pain.
- Gargling with warm salt water may help, too.
- Strep throat tends to come on suddenly and not be accompanied by cold symptoms. Call your doctor if you suspect strep — your child needs antibiotics.
What about cold or cough medicines?
Never give over-the-counter cold medicine or cough medicine to children younger than 4 years old. Studies have shown that these OTC medicines don’t actually help symptoms in children so young and may cause serious and potentially life-threatening side effects. To ease cold symptoms, give extra fluids, use a nasal aspirator, and use a humidifier.
Decongestant, expectorant – what do I use?
- Decongestants shrink stuffy nasal passages and are available as nasal drops or oral medicine. Nasal drops should not be used for more than 2-3 days in a row.
- Cough expectorants may help thin mucus so it can be coughed up. Your child needs to drink a lot of water for an expectorant to work. Cough suppressants don’t help get rid of mucus. Even if a cough keeps a child awake at night, it’s usually better not to suppress it.
- Do not give any cold medicine to a child under 4 years old.
If my child vomits, must I give him another dose?
No. If your child vomits up his medicine or spits some of it out, you may be tempted to give another dose. But you can’t be sure how much of the OTC medicine your child actually swallowed, and giving another full dose risks giving too much. Instead, call your pediatrician for instructions. If your child hates the taste of the medicine, ask your pharmacist if you can mix it with a favorite food or drink.
Don’t call OTC medicine “candy or sweets”
- Kids, especially young ones, love to imitate what adults do. Take these precautions:
- Avoid taking your own prescription or OTC medication in front of children.
- Be sure you never call any medicine “candy.”
- Don’t use sweet-tasting medication — like children’s vitamins — as a reward. You can offer a favorite drink afterward to “wash the taste away.”
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