I am so confused about the types medicine I am no longer allowed to give my children. Is Benadryl safe? What do I give my children without worrying about hurting them? Are there natural alternatives?
You’re absolutely right. Since the recall of cold meds for small children and the new FDA recommendations, parents have very little recourse to treat their sick children.
Most of the problems occured in very small children who were overdosed with various cold meds.
The problem we face is that the available over the counter cough/cold meds work minimally at best. Many of them may even create unwanted side effects. When looking at the many cogh/cold remedies you will see that there are four main types of ingredients (decongestant, antihistamine, antitussive, and expectorant). You will find a large variety with every possible combination. In the “old” days I would suggest that parents buy single ingredient meds and treat that specific symptom. But nowadays, a cold med with a decongestant and antihistamine is your best bet. Benadryl ,also know as diphenhydramine, is a very good antihistamine, it’s main drawback is that it will cause drowsiness. I currently use this type of med for my daughter when she gets cold symptoms.
Supportive care in the form of taking plenty of fluids, vaporizer, and proper positioning help a little. For very bad cold symptoms, there are a few prescription cold medications which I have found to be pretty effective in controlling symptoms.
The best way to treat colds is to prevent them. Steps like encouraging good handwashing, using disposable tissues, cover our coughs, and avoiding contact with sick persons help. I’m a big proponent of taking vitamin C for the prevention of colds. Some studies have also shown that certain forms of zinc (zinc gluconate) might also reduce the duration of colds.
If you find that your child’s symptoms last for two weeks or more or that they are getting worse, then a visit to your pediatrician is warranted to rule out any other illness.
Hope this helps.