As a pediatrician, there are certain things I am sure to keep in my medicine cabinet. Knowing the common illnesses and symptoms that children suffer from, there are certain medications and over-the-counter products in my house at all times. It is almost guaranteed that by Sunday evening, I am trying figuring out how make my children’s school lunches with the one banana, half a bagel, and six strawberries that is left in my refrigerator. However, my medicine cabinet is never bare. Here are a few of the items that are always in my medicine cabinet.
Motrin and Tylenol. Both Motrin and Tylenol can and should be used to treat fever and pain. Motrin is a medication that can only be given every six hours. If you give Motrin and three hours later your child has a fever again, you should give Tylenol. It is important to understand that Motrin works differently than Tylenol. They both can and should be used to control fever. With a high fever, it is best to alternate Tylenol and Motrin every 3 hours. There are certain restrictions to using Motrin, such as the recommended age for offering Motrin, so it is important to consult your pediatrician.
Elderberry. I love elderberry! A lot of parents struggle with illness when their child is in school or daycare. Parents are always asking me if there is any supplement they can give their child to help prevent illness. Although there is no magic medicine to help prevent illness, elderberry has been used since the ancient times to help promote immunity and alleviate symptoms of the common cold. This can be used similar to a daily vitamin. There are many ways to incorporate this natural supplement into your child’s diet. I love the idea of making an elderberry syrup for pancakes and waffles. Please remember there are contradictions and limitations to elderberry syrup, so it is imperative that you discuss with your doctor whether it is appropriate for your child to start taking this supplement. Children under the age of 1 should not take elderberry. Please make sure your doctor goes over the appropriate dosing with you.
Eucalyptus Oil. A centuries-old natural remedy for nasal congestion and nighttime cough. When my children are sick with a cold, I always make a homemade vapor rub. I combined 1 ounce of coconut oil with 4 drops of eucalyptus oil and apply to their chest. Just remember eucalyptus oil can be extremely dangerous if ingested by a small child. This is a product that needs to properly stored in a area that is out of the reach of small children.
Nasal Decongestant. Many parents don’t know that nighttime cough is actually caused by nasal congestion. Benadryl is an absolute must in fighting nighttime cough. It eliminates the nasal drip which stimulates the cough reflex. Have your doctor calculate the appropriate dose. I always tell my parents, when you go for your annual check up make sure the nurse calculates and writes down the appropriate doses for Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl.
Nasal Saline and Suction. Boogie Wipes is one of my go to weapons for fighting nasal congestion and nighttime cough. I love the nasal mists. It is the only nasal spray my children will tolerate. My son’s nose gets extremely irritated and dry when he is fighting a cold. The normal saline in the Boogie Wipes helps to restore the moisture and keep his nose from getting cracked and sore.
Humidifier. Putting moisture into the air is one of the best ways to treat a congested baby. Nighttime is particularly hard because congestion is worse while laying down. Humidifiers provide a natural method to help alleviate congestion and get a good night’s sleep. Humidifiers not only relieve the symptoms of cough, cold, and flu, but they can work well to relieve sinus irritation, nose bleeds, and dry skin and hair. However, you have to make sure the water is fresh and sterile to prevent bacteria and germs from entering the air. Be sure to use a cool mist humidifier, rather than warm.
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