Health + Wellness

Do Your Kids Really Need Cough & Cold Meds?


cold medicine

When children have colds, parents may want to hold off on using cough and cold medicine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests.

Most children get better on their own, and cough or cold medicines won’t change the natural course of a cold or make it go away faster.

Also, some cough and cold medicines can have serious side effects, such as slowed breathing, which can be life-threatening, especially in infants and young children, the FDA warns.

The agency doesn’t recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for cough and cold symptoms in children younger than 2, and the products’ labels advise against giving them to children younger than 4.

RELATED: 5 Foods to Help Fight Back this Cold and Flu Season

How medicine can harm children

These products can harm children if they get more than the recommended dose, take the medicine too often, or take more than one product that contains the same drug. For example, taking both a pain reliever containing acetaminophen and cough and cold medicine containing acetaminophen.

Don’t give children medicines that are packaged and made for adults because adult medicines may overdose a child, the FDA says.

The FDA also notes that there are no approved homeopathic cough and cold medicines for children, even though they can be found online and in stores.

RELATED: 5 Natural Remedies for Restless Cough

How to relieve cough and cold symptoms in children naturally

It is important to note that treatment may not always be necessary if your child doesn’t have a bothersome cough and isn’t feeling uncomfortable or having trouble sleeping. Fevers also help your child’s body fight infections. So they should only be

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