The school is in full swing, and with it comes a plethora of colds passed back and forth among the children. But parents who want to alleviate the suffering of a sick child would do better to avoid over-the-counter cough and remedies against.
should not be given to children under the age of 6 because there is no evidence that they do good, according to a new review published online on October 10th in BMJ .
Thesedo not effectively alleviate symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, but carry potentially dangerous side effects for children, said senior researcher Dr. An De Sutter. He is head of family medicine and primary health care at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
Some decongestants "can have serious side effects, such as hypertension, arousal and convulsions," De Sutter said.
additional weight to a 2008 warning issued by the US Food and Drug Administration that coughs and colds should not be given to children under 2 years of age, and should only be used with caution in older children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do not use cough and cold remedies for children under the age of 4, said Dr. Jeffrey Gerber, Medical Director of Stewardship's antimicrobial program at the Philadelphia Children's Hospital.
"In general, at best, the risks and benefits of adults are probably about the same, and in children the risks outweigh the benefits," Gerber said.
The common cold is usually caused by viruses and the symptoms usually resolve in seven or ten days, the study authors noted in background notes. Children get six to eight colds a year, compared to two or four colds a year for adults.
Current evidence from clinical trials shows that decongestants provide little or no relief for children, the researchers said.
decongestants or medicinal products containing antihistamines should not be administered to children under 6 years, and used with caution in children aged 6 to 1
The compromise simply is not worth it, Gerber said, too if the probabilities of a serious side effect are minimal.
"You can have interactions that can make your heart beat, for example," he explained. "If you had some kind of basic condition that you might or might not know, you could exacerbate it and cause an arrhythmia, which does not happen that often, but it's a possibility."
OTC remedies does not work much better for adults, the study found. The researchers said that using decongestants alone or with antihistamines or painkillers can have a small effect on clogged or runny noses for up to 3-7 days.
But adults run a greater risk of side effects such asdrowsiness, headache or stomach ache, the results showed. Ironically, the long-term use of decongestants can lead to chronic nasal congestion.
There is also inadequate evidence to support other commonly used OTC or household treatments, such as steam, heated air humidifiers, analgesics, steam rubbing, echinacea orreport says
L & # 39 Saline nasal irrigation or drops are the safest way to relieve a child's stuffy nose, according to the report, but may not work.
Parents can use acetaminophen (children's Tylenol) or ibuprofen (children's Motrin) to reduce fever, aches and pains in children, and a cold mist humidifier can help the nasal passages to shrink to allow more breathing easy, suggests the FDA. In addition, children should drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.