Coughs and Colds: Medicines or Home Remedies?

Medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines can cause serious side effects in young children. The risks of using these medicines outweigh any benefits from reducing symptoms. Therefore, in October 2008, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that OTC cough and cold medicines never be used in children younger than 4 years. 

From ages 4 to 6 years, they should be used only if recommended by your child’s doctor. After age 6 years, the medicines are safe to use, but follow the dosage instructions on the package. Fortunately, you can easily treat cough s and colds in young children without these nonprescription medicines.

Home Remedies

A good home remedy is safe, inexpensive, and as beneficial as OTC medicines. They are also found in nearly every home. 

Here is how you can treat your child’s symptoms with simple but effective home remedies instead of medicines:

1 Runny Nose: Just suction or blow it. And remember, when your child’s nose runs like a faucet, it’s getting rid of viruses. Antihistamines (eg, loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine) do not help the average cold. However, they are useful and approved if the runny nose is caused by nasal allergies (hay fever).

2 Blocked Nose: Use nasal washes.

◦ Use saline nose spray or drops to loosen up dried mucus, followed by blowing or suctioning the nose. If these are not available, warm water will work fine.

◦ Instill 2 to 3 drops in each nostril. Do one side at a time. Then suction or blow. Teens can just splash warm water into their nose. Repeat nasal washes until the return is clear.

◦ Do nasal washes whenever your child can’t breathe through the nose. For infants on a bottle or breast, use nose drops before feedings.

◦ Saline nose drops and sprays are available in all pharmacies without a prescription. To make your own, add 2 mL of table salt to 240 mL of warm tap water.

◦ Sticky, Stubborn Mucus: Remove with a wet cotton swab.

◦ Medicines: There is no medicine that can remove dried mucus or pus from the nose.

3 Coughing: Use homemade cough medicines.

◦ For Children 3 Months to 1 Year of Age: Give warm, clear fluids (eg, warm water, apple juice). Dosage is 5 to 15 mL 4 times per day when coughing. Avoid honey because it can cause infantile botulism . If your child is younger than 3 months, see your child’s doctor.

◦ For Children 1 Year and Older: Use HONEY, 2 to 5 mL, as needed. It thins secretions and loosens the cough. (If honey is not available, you can use corn syrup.) Recent research has shown that honey is better than drugstore cough syrups at reducing the frequency and severity of nighttime coughing.

◦ Coughing Spasms: Expose your child to warm mist from a shower.

4 Fluids: Help your child drink plenty of fluids. Staying well hydrated thins the body’s secretions, making it easier to cough and blow the nose.

5 Humidity: If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier. Moist air keeps nasal mucus from drying up and lubricates the airway. Running a warm shower for a while can also help humidify the air.

Treatment Is Not Always Needed

• If symptoms aren’t bothering your child, they don’t need medicine or home remedies. Many children with a cough or nasal congestion are happy, play normally, and sleep peacefully.

• Only treat symptoms if they cause discomfort, interrupt sleep, or really bother your child (eg, a hacking cough).

• Because fevers are beneficial, only treat them if they slow your child down or cause some discomfort. That doesn’t usually occur until your child’s temperature reaches 102°F (39°C) or higher.

• Acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (eg, Advil, Motrin) can be safely used in these instances to treat fever or pain.

Summary:

If treatment is needed for coughs and colds, home remedies may work better than medicines

Polio New York – 1916

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New York City Polio Epidemic

Health officials announced a polio epidemic centered in Brooklyn, New York. As was typical with polio outbreaks, infections surfaced in the summer months.

More than 2000 people would die in New York City alone. Across the United States in 1916, polio took the lives of about 6,000 people, leaving thousands more paralyzed.

Summer epidemics would come to be common in this era and would lead to widespread closures of pools, amusements parks, and other places where children gathered.

Colds-Flu-Strep-RSV

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We are seeing colds and Strep. Parents always ask how can they tell a minor cold from something more serious. You can not easily tell the difference. One child may have a minor cold and a sibling may have a more serious strep infection. Even a viral illness such as RSV and influenza can be life threatening. How to treat the cold symptoms are a common concern with most parents. Review my post on how to treat fever and Cold medications. Keep in mind that most uncomplicated colds will resolve within 10-14 days without any treatment.

Diphenhydramine – Benadryl dose

Usually as we approach Thanksgiving we start to see RSV infections. Around the Christmas holidays is when we usually start to see Influenza. There may be different strains of flu each year. Some years we will see both Influenza A and B. In 2009 we had quite a large outbreak of H1N1. The 2010 and 2011 were unusual in that they were mild and occurred later than usual. However 2012, 2013 , 2014 were very busy flu seasons. This year is just starting to peak and we are seeing both Flu A and Flu B

With most respiratory illness the most vulnerable are the very young and the elderly. Take precautions. Wash hands. Do not share drinks. Avoid crowded places. Do not take small children to gyms. Do not visit if you have cough or cold symptoms, even if you are “on antibiotics”. Be considerate of others.

Summer Colds

Cold Sores – Herpes Simplex

Mikhail Marianovich Germashev - Snow, (1897).
Oil on canvas, 91 x 127 cm. 
The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

Mikhail Marianovich Germashev – Snow, (1897).
Oil on canvas, 91 x 127 cm. 
The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

Cold Sores Cause and Treatment

The herpes virus, an ancient and unwelcome human companion, comes in more than one form. Herpes simplex 1 is almost always the culprit in cold sores or fever blisters that erupt around the mouth; herpes simplex 2 is generally responsible for genital herpes. But, in fact, both forms of the virus can cause eruptions on the genitals and around the mouth.
Herpes outbreaks are usually painful and unsightly, as well as contagious. Anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of us carry herpes simplex 1, probably as a result of childhood infection. Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Once you have the virus, you have it. It may lie dormant, but it doesn’t go away. And it can be spread, even if you have no signs of the infection.

Medication options for cold sores:

Fortunately, there are safe and effective drugs for herpes. Commonly used for genital herpes, they can also be used to treat cold sores as well as to suppress future outbreaks. The oral prescription drugs are acyclovir (brand name Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex) and famciclovir (Famvir), all available in generic form. Acyclovir is also available as a cream, as is another prescription drug, penciclovir (Denavir); the creams do not work as well as the oral medications. The cream docosanol (Abreva) is sold over the counter. These do not cure herpes in the sense that antibiotics cure bacterial infections, but do reduce the severity of outbreaks and have few, if any, serious side effects. And long-term daily oral doses can cut down on recurrences.
Final note: To head off cold sores, a sunscreen, applied to the lips daily, can be useful. Sunlight seems to activate herpes simplex 1 in some people

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/other-supplements/article/lysine-cold-sores

Seek the appropriate care for your child after hours. 

Should I Take My Child To The Emergency Center Or Urgent Care?

Go to the ER for Emergencies!
Urgent care after hours.
These are what we treat daily:
Abdominal pain
Allergic reactions
Asthma
Cough
Croup
Ear pain
Fever
Flu
Minor burns
Minor injuries from falls or sports
Pink eye
Rashes
Simple lacerations (we may evaluate and refer to the ER if necessary)
Sinus infections
Skin infections
Sore throat
Sprains and strains
Urinary tract infections
Vomiting and diarrhea

HOURS 

  

Monday: 8 AM to 5 PM

Tuesday: 8 AM to 5 PM

Wednesday: 8 AM to 5 PM

Thursday: 8 AM to 5 PM

Friday: 8 AM to 5 PM

Urgent Care is available at Gilbert Mercy Office
Saturday: 9 am to Noon

Urgent Care hours are also available evenings Mon through Friday at the Banner Higley Location. Go to the Banner Children’s Medical Group for other information.

The clinics are conveniently located throughout the southeast valley and Casa Grande. Learn more about the Banner Children’s – Banner Health Clinic in your community:
Apache Junction

Casa Grande

Gilbert – Baseline Rd.

Gilbert – Mercy Rd.

Gilbert – Power Rd.

Mesa – 6th St.

Mesa – Baseline Rd.

Mesa – Dobson Rd.

Mesa – Higley Rd.

Mesa – Vineyard