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Cold: Some over-the-counter medications can have serious side effects
Some over-the-counter medications, which are relatively harmless in adults, can often cause serious side effects in children. Especially if the offspring is younger than six years old, parents should be careful when using common cold remedies. Simple home remedies often work better anyway.
Don't take medication for colds
In autumn and winter, colds are widespread: children in particular mostly show a particular susceptibility to infections. If they then have symptoms such as coughing and runny nose, parents should not take medication straight away. Because some of the over-the-counter preparations that are relatively harmless in adults can often cause serious side effects in the little ones. Home remedies for cold symptoms often work better anyway.
Dangerous side effects in children
Parents who want to alleviate the suffering of their cold child should best avoid over-the-counter medicines for cold symptoms.
And children who are younger than six shouldn't be given decongestants like decongestant nasal sprays because there is no evidence that they are doing any good.
This emerges from a report published in the specialist magazine "BMJ".
According to the Health Day portal, Dr. To De Sutter of the University of Ghent in Belgium that these non-prescription medications do not effectively relieve symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, but do have potentially dangerous side effects in children.
Certain decongestants "can have serious side effects such as high blood pressure, agitation and cramps," said De Sutter.
Risks outweigh the benefits
Health experts in the United States recommend that children under the age of two should not be given cough or cold symptoms.
And they should be used with caution in older children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also speaks out against the use of over-the-counter medicines for cough and cold in children under the age of four, said Dr. Jeffrey Gerber from Children's Hospital in Philadelphia.
“In general, the risks and benefits in adults are roughly the same at best. And with children, the risks outweigh the benefits, ”says Gerber.
In principle, some medications should not be given to children
The cold is usually caused by viruses and is usually over in seven to ten days.
Children get about six to eight colds a year, adults two to four.
According to the researchers, current evidence from clinical studies shows that children's decongestants bring little or no relief.
The authors concluded that decongestants or drugs containing antihistamines should not be given to children under the age of six and should be used with caution in children between the ages of six and twelve.
"They can have interactions such as a racing heart," said Gerber.
“Certain underlying conditions that you may not know about yet could be exacerbated and cause cardiac arrhythmias. It doesn't happen that often, but there is a possibility. "
Home remedies for cold symptoms
The study also found that the over-the-counter medications examined did not work much better in adults either.
According to the researchers, nasal irrigation with salt is the best way to clear nasal congestion. But they also point out that they do not work for everyone.
What basically helps with colds is drinking a lot. Due to an increased fluid intake, the stubborn mucus dissolves better and the secretions in the nose are diluted.
In addition, this gives the body more fluid, which is lost due to excessive sweating due to the disease.
Experts recommend warm water or herbal teas, such as thyme or sage tea. These also work against annoying sore throats.
Ginger tea is also a popular home remedy for colds.
However, if the symptoms cannot be controlled by such means, parents should go to the doctor with their child. (ad)