Every parent has been there: Your kid is sick with a fever, sore throat or sniffling nose, so you give them medicine to help them feel better.
While it might seem like a no-brainer, giving a child any kind of drug can carry certain risks. That’s why, whether the medicine was prescribed through your child’s pediatrician or was picked up over-the-counter at the local pharmacy, you need to take a few precautions to keep your child safe. First, it’s important to determine if your child’s symptoms can be treated with an over-the-counter medication or if you need to make a doctor’s appointment.
For example, if your child has a cold, you can take certain measures to help them feel better, like resting, drinking clear fluids, using saline nose drops or keeping a humidifier running. It’s time to seek medical care if your child is experiencing a high or persistent fever, breathing problems, persistent pain or thick eye discharge.
If you’re home, at work, traveling, or can’t make it to your child’s pediatrician, Blue Cross Online Visits provides care from U.S. board-certified doctors when you need it. The doctor will be able to write a prescription for your child or offer other treatment plans for minor illnesses such as:
- Sinus and respiratory infections
- Colds, flu and seasonal allergies
- Eye irritation or redness
- Strains and sprains
Getting the prescription is just one step, though. You should then make sure you’re giving it to your child correctly. Consider these tips to be as safe as possible distributing your child’s medication:
Read the instructions carefully. Make sure you know your child’s prescribed dosage and how to measure it. If you’re not sure, you can talk to the pharmacist when you pick up the prescription. For instance, with liquid medicine, don’t just pour it into a spoon, make sure to use the measuring cup or dropper that accompanies the prescription.
Understand how often the medicine needs to be given and if it has any specific instructions, like if it must be taken on an empty stomach or with food. It’s also important not to assume it’s fine for them to stop taking a medicine once their symptoms go away. Always finish the recommended doses as prescribed, even if your child starts to feel better.
Know how to store and dispose of unused medications. Make sure all medications are stored in child-proof containers, out of sight or reach of children. Also make sure you store medications at the proper temperature (e.g., refrigerator or room temperature). If you’re done using a prescription, but there are pills left over, drop them off at a local pharmacy. Check out our list of drop off locations for safe disposal.
Know what to do in case of emergency. Despite taking every precaution, accidents can still happen, like your kid taking the wrong medicine, taking too much of it or accidentally getting a hold of a prescription bottle. Prevent this kind of thing from happening by storing medicine properly and reminding children they’re not snacks or candy. If your child accidentally ingests a medication or harmful substance, call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 or call 911.
For more information on handling sickness in children and young adults, check out these other blogs:
- Do You Know Enough About Giving Children Medication?
- Parents: Do You Really Know When Antibiotics Are Needed?
- The Young Adult’s Guide to Doctor Visits
Photo Credit: Bess Hamiti