Cold medications

Parent always ask for dosages of cough and cold medication.  Keep in mind that most OTC medication do not work.  There are some allergy medication that may help lessen some symptoms.  Please review the following information from Dr Barton Schmidt.

 This is dated material that I had previously posted on my website.

Cough and Cold Medicines

You may have noticed that all the liquid cough and cold medicines for babies and infants(the ones with droppers) have been taken off the pharmacy shelves. That’s a gooddevelopment.  First, they never worked well in children.  More importantly, they were potentially dangerous, especially for young children. Because of deaths and other adverse outcomes, in January 2008, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory that they never be used under 2 years of age.

Cough and Cold Medicines: What Do They Do?

Antihistamines  (such as Benadryl):  No help for colds. Helpful for nasal allergies or allergic coughs caused by pollen or cat dander. Also great for hives or itchy rashes.

Diphenhydramine – Benadryl dose

Decongestants  (such as Pseudoephedrine and Phenylephrine): May help reduce nasalcongestion in some children with colds, but only lasts for a few hours and can cause elevated blood pressure and restlessness.

Dextromethorphan (DM): A cough suppressant that doesn’t do much for children.  Over 1 year of age, honey has been proven to work better (recent research).

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil): Useful for treating pain or fever.  See post on fever.

Antibiotics  : Never helpful with colds (which are caused by a virus) unless they are complicated by a secondary bacterial infection such an an ear infection, pneumonia or sinus infection.

How to Make Your Child More Comfortable with Home Remedies

Try the following home remedies to manage your child’s illness without any cough or  cold medications:

Runny Nose

: Suction or blow! And remember, when the nose turns into a faucet, it’s washing out the virus invaders.

Blocked Nose

: Use nasal washes.  Use saline nose drops or spray to loosen up the dried mucus, followed by blowingor suctioning the nose.

Do nasal washes at least 4 times per day.

Coughing or Coughing Spasms:  Use homemade medicines and warm mist.  Warm clear fluids (e.g., water or apple juice) to treat the cough (if over 1 month of age). Dosage: 1-3 teaspoons (5-15 ml) four times per day when coughing for kids under 1 year of age. Over 1 year of age, can offer unlimited amounts.  Expose to warm mist (e.g., foggy bathroom).  Honey (or corn syrup if honey not available) 1/2 to 1 tsp (2 to 5 ml) as needed as a homemade cough medicine  (if over 1 year of age)  Cough drops (or hard candy) to coat the irritated throat. (if over 6 years of age)

Increase Fluids:  Drink plenty of fluids. Staying well hydrated thins the body’s  secretions, making it easier to cough and blow the nose.

Increase Humidity:  Humidity can reduce nasal congestion and coughing

In summary, home remedies work better than medicines for treating coughs and colds.


“Barton Schmitt MD, Copyright 1-28-2008”   Permission granted to make copies for patient care purposes.


This is for the information and use of my patients.   If you have questions or are  concerned about your child or relative,  contact your physician or seek medical care.

No honey or syrup is to given under 12 months of age.

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