OTC Medicine & What Parents Need to Know

March 15, 2018
OTD Medicine

Over-the-counter medications can be godsends for parents who are desperate to ease their children's discomfort. Unfortunately, these medicines also come with serious risks, when parents fail to properly read warnings and directions. Before you give your child an OTC medication, read the following guidelines to avoid a serious medical emergency.
Using over-the-counter medicines

  • Read the label and follow directions.
  • Choose medicine designed to treat your child's exact symptoms.
  • Do not use cold, cough of allergy medications to make a child sleepy.
  • Do not give your child or teen aspirin-containing products for chickenpox, flu-like symptoms or other viral illnesses.
  • Check the label to make sure the medication is appropriate for your child's age.
  • Always check with a medical provider before giving cough or cold medicine, and never give cough or cold medicine to young children.
  • Know your child's weight, since many medications base dosage on this physical trait.
  • Use an accurate dosage device and never make do with an ordinary kitchen spoon.
  • Be very careful not to inadvertently give a child two medications that contain the same active ingredient.
  • Enter the Poison Help Line phone number (800-222-1222) into your phone.

Storing your over-the-counter medicines

  • Make sure medications are hidden up and away from a child's sight and reach.
  • Remind family and guests not to leave their medications in easily accessible places, such as coats or bags.
  • Double check to make sure child safety caps are properly sealed.
  • Never try to motivate your child to take his or her medicine by calling it candy.
  • Watch your child carefully when you visit someone else's home, especially if they do not have kids of their own.

Disposing of OTC medicines

  • Mix medications in coffee grounds, dirt or kitty litter.
  • Never crush capsules or tablets.
  • Place the mixture in a zip-top plastic bag or other sealed container.
  • Throw the bag or sealed container in your household garbage.

If you have any questions about your OTC medications, contact our expert healthcare providers at PhysicianOne Urgent Care.

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