Tips and natural cold and fever remedies for when your child is sick

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Cases of RSV, influenza, and COVID-19 in children have caused high demand for pediatric cold and flu medications, resulting in shortages or limited stock at some pharmacies.

Why is it important?

Fever, cough, and congestion are symptoms of all three viruses, and parents may be looking for ways to make their child more comfortable during their illness.

What does it mean to you?

In addition to pain medications, there are other ways you can relieve your child’s symptoms. This is what the experts say.

Respiratory syncytial virus and Flu They have joined COVID-19 and created a perfect storm of viruses this season. The kids, especially, were hit hard early on RSV chapter, and some parents report that their Families have been sick for weeks.

In response, CVS Health and Walgreens have announced limits on how much they can buy over-the-counter children’s medicine as demand for the drug increases amid a winter full of respiratory illnesses.

CVS has a two-item limit on pediatric pain relief products. This applies to all pharmacy and online locations, a spokesperson confirmed.

Walgreens does not have an in-store purchase limit, but does have an online limit of six per transaction “to discourage overbuying behavior,” the company said.

Walmart, another pharmaceutical giant, has seen “greater demand for OTC pediatric pain relievers” this year, but has not changed its purchasing policies online or in-store, a Walmart spokesperson told CNET.

Here’s what we know about baby medicine shortages in some stores, including what products are affected and what parents can use instead.

What is pain medication?

Pain relievers, such as cold and flu medications that are limited in some pharmacies, can be used to relieve symptoms of respiratory viruses in children, including fever and cough. Often included Child-sized doses Acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which reduce fever. Some common brand names for these medications include Children’s Motrin (which contains ibuprofen) and Children’s Tylenol (made with acetaminophen).

A baby sits in his mother's arms while getting a vaccine

The flu vaccine, which reduces the risk of severe flu, is available to everyone from the age of 6 months. The covid-19 vaccine is also available for 6-month-old babies. Researchers are working on a vaccine for RSV.

Hero Images Inc/Getty Images

Why the purchase limit?

High demand for cold and flu medications due to high rates of RSV, influenza and COVID-19 — all of which have overlapping symptoms — is likely a major factor leading to shortages in some stores or locations. CNN reported According to the Consumer Health Products Association, sales of children’s pain relievers this year are up 65 percent over last year.

Along with over-the-counter drugs, antiviral drugs that require a prescription (such as Tamiflu) were also in unprecedented demand. According to a 2022 report from SingleCare, a prescription services company, antiviral drugs are filled at the company. It grew by 92% Compared to 2021. In SingleCare there was a 773% increase in oseltamivir phosphate (generic Tamiflu) prescriptions, indicating Tough flu season this year Across the United States, compared to last year, when flu numbers were unseasonably low.

An alternative to common pain relievers

Because many common pain relievers contain ibuprofen or acetaminophen, it’s important to check with your pediatrician about what’s safe for your child, based on their age and weight. In general, guys You should not take ibuprofen under 6 monthsand children He should not take acetaminophen under 3 monthsBased on dosage information from the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you can’t find the brand you’re looking for, check out the store’s generic equivalent.

And if you’re looking to comfort your child but don’t seem to have everything, there is Natural remedies available which can relieve cold or flu symptoms. Dr. Steven Ablowitz, medical director of Coastal Children’s Medical Group, said via email that there are many alternatives to treating fever in children.

“A lukewarm bath, light clothing, keeping the child hydrated and having a fan nearby all work to help reduce a child’s fever when over-the-counter options are not available,” says Abelowitz.

Other methods to reduce common respiratory symptoms include the use of a menthol rub The AAP says that on the baby’s neck and chest, which is safe for children 2 and older, helps them breathe easier while they sleep. Some people swear Honey to relieve a sore throat or coughAnd it is safe to give to children older than 1 year. It is not safe for young babies because they The digestive system is not yet mature enough To remove bacteria Saline drops and nasal moisturisers According to the AAP, there are other tools that may relieve a baby’s stuffy nose and congestion.

Children can sometimes get headaches from coughing too much, Ablewitz said.

“If your child has a headache, make sure he’s well hydrated and take appropriate measures to help soothe his throat,” which could include ice cream or honey if he’s old enough.

When should we worry about fever?

A fever is a sign that our body is fighting an illness, such as a respiratory virus. In children, fever can be common and in most cases it is nothing to worry about and resolves as the child fights the illness.

“A low-grade fever is defined by most experienced clinicians as between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit, and not all low-grade temperatures require treatment, especially if the child does not seem very uncomfortable or ill,” Abelovitz said. “Most fevers do not cause discomfort until they rise above 103/102 degrees Fahrenheit.”

However, if your child does, you should contact your pediatrician He is less than 3 months old and has any degree of fever 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And Regardless of the age of your childyou should contact their doctor immediately They have a temperature above 104 degrees.

According to the AAP, you should get help if they’re experiencing more severe symptoms or if another factor is involved, including:

  • convulsions
  • Being unusually sleepy or extremely groggy
  • stiff neck, breathing problems, unexplained rash, severe headache, severe ear or throat pain, and frequent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Having a history of heart problems or conditions that suppress the immune system, including sickle cell disease and cancer
  • You should also call if they have a fever after being in a very hot place, such as an overheated car

Unsafe substitutes for child painkillers

If cold or flu medicine is not available, aspirin is not a safe substitute for children. According to the AAP, it can cause complications including intestinal bleeding and disease that affects the liver and brain.

You should Never rub alcohol on your child’s headBecause it can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, it can be dangerous, the association says.

Also, avoid “sponging” your child with cold water to help with his fever, according to the AAP. While this may seem like an intuitive way to cool them down, it can cause them to shiver and actually raise their temperature.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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