"Give no medicine at all" for children with cough or cold, says new medical guidelines
Sniffle season is here, and when our little ones start feeling a little under the weather, it can be tempting to rush to the nearest chemist to stock up on a myriad of cough syrups and other over-the-counter remedies.
However, according to a new medical review, skipping medicine completely might actually be the best thing you can do for your kids.
A New York Times article, penned by pediatrician Perri Klass, M.D., highlighted research published in The BMJ in October 2018 that suggests there's very little evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) medications meant to treat cold symptoms like runny nose, sneezing and coughing even work.
This is what researchers had to say: "Evidence for the effectiveness of these treatments is limited and of low quality, and clear guidance is lacking."
The medical experts also warned against parents giving children under 12 any decongestants, since "long-term use of nasal decongestants is known to lead to chronic nasal congestion."
And never mind the fact that the effectiveness of these OTC treatments are unclear, what is worse is that they can actually pose a risk to children, warns study author Mieke van Driel, M.D., a primary care physician and head of the primary care clinical unit at the University of Queensland in Australia.
So what's a worried parent to do about colds in kids, you might wonder? Well, it looks like it might be best to let the cold run its course.
Dr. van Driel told the NYT that she recommends patients' parents trust in the body's ability to fight off sickness, rather than depending on medication. “I reassure the parent, this is a cold. A cold is a self-limiting disease. We have capable immune systems that will take care of it; it will take about a week.” She continued, “I would tell them, there’s not a lot we know that helps. Don’t give him anything you might give your older child or take yourself.”
Professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine, Ian Paul, M.D., agrees, and explains to he NYT that over-the-counter cough and cold medications have limited to no evidence of efficacy for any cold symptoms, particularly in kids under 6. Children who have the common cold are typically able to eat or drink, be alert and play without medication.
What do YOU think, parents? Are YOU quick to give your kids medications when they are unwell? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie