Looking after your kids health may mean giving them medicine when they have pain or a temperature. If your child is over 8 weeks old, you can give them over the counter drugs.
Children’s Medicines You Can Buy
There are two medicines that you can give. The fist is called paracetamol in the UK and acetaminophen in the USA. The second is ibuprofen which is a NSAID (a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug). Each drug has many different brand names. You need to look at the packet to see which drug it is.
If you are worried that your child is dehydrated or has asthma, do not give them ibuprofen.
Both of these medicines are called antipyretics and will reduce your child’s temperature and make them feel more comfortable. They will not treat the cause of the temperature, so that when the medicine wears off, the temperature will come back.
Children and Aspirin
Children cannot take aspirin and should not be given it. It can cause a potentially fatal disease that affects their nervous system (Reye’s Syndrome.) It is not available in paediatric formulas anymore.
There are many different brands of cough syrup that you can buy for your children. Whether they work or not is a different question. If your child has a persistent or nasty cough go and talk to your doctor.
Storing Children’s Medicines
Children’s Medicines are very useful when used appropriately. They are very dangerous when they are misused.
It is important to keep all medicines (adults and children’s) in a safe place. I recommend a locked cupboard or box that is too high for children to reach.
If you have essential oils in the house, you should keep them in the same place as they are poisonous when not used properly.
How much Medicine can you give your Baby or Child?
You can calculate the dose according to the child’s weight or age. The bottle will tell you how much you can take. It is important not to take more than the recommended dose. If you accidentally give more than advised, go to your doctor or hospital.
How to give Baby Medicine
Some children love taking medicine but many spit it out. If you can get them to take it easily, that's great. You can either put it on a spoon or in a syringe.
Sometimes your child needs medicine and they refuse to take it. If it is important that they take the medicine, this is the way many paediatric nurses do it.
- Use a syringe and hold your child firmly with their head tilted backwards.
- Put the syringe in their mouth with the open bit between their teeth and the inside of their cheek, towards the back of the mouth. They may bite down on it, but that’s fine.
- Squirt the medicine down bit by bit. You want to do it quickly but not so quickly that they choke.
- Keep the syringe in their mouth until they have swallowed. It’s quite hard to spit something out if your mouth is open.
I know it sounds cruel, but they will feel much better once the medicine starts to work.
There are many different children’s medicines that you can buy. I keep paracetamol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen in the house (safely locked away) for when my children have a fever or pain. They are very useful but it is important to use them carefully and only when needed.