Over the Counter Medicine

Updated on March 04, 2010
J.B. asks from Whittier, CA
12 answers

Hello Mommies, I need some helpful advise about safe cold medicine over the counter. My son is starting with a cold right now and before I run to the doctor as I usually do I would like to fight this cold off with over the counter medicine. I know there has been quite a bit of medicine pulled off the shelves. So Mom's any ideas on which one's that are still available that work well? Right now he has a clear runny nose and a slight cough.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all your replys! I noticed most of the Mommies do what I usually do and head to the doctors office. I honestly try to avoid running the the doctors everytime he has a sniffle, but unfortunately he got a fever right after the cough and runny nose, so I decided to take him to his pediatrician. All they did for him there is recommend Motrin or Tylenol to bring down his fever, which of course I was already doing. They gave him nothing for his other symptoms, and of course they are beginning to get worse, which may lead me back to the doctor's office. I did start him on some multi vitamins for children as some have recommened and I hope that will help with his immunity. Again thanks for the advise Mommies, but I felt safer having him checked by his doctor.

More Answers



answers from San Francisco on

My childrens' pediatrician, who is now the head of prediatrics at a Kaiser in California has told me that any over the counter cough/cold medicine is safe for children age 2 and up. Dosing should only be 1/2 tsp every 4-6 hours. He told me that the only reason manufacturers put the warnings on meds is because there are no studies done on children which show the side effects of over the counter medication. Only prescription drugs can do that type of testing. I was also told that the less ingredients the better. Cough suppressant OR expectorant OR decongestant. The more ingredients the less of each one there is.

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answers from Reno on

Hi. I don't know the age/weight of your son, but here's my advice. My son is almost 22 mos. and weighs a little over 28 lbs. He had a cold a few weeks back and our Ped. gave us samples of grape flavored Children's Dimetapp. Now I know that the directions will tell you not to give anything to a child that age. Our Ped. instructed we give our son 1/2 tsp. twice daily. It worked like a charm and he liked the flavor. Of course, consult your Pediatrician before giving your child any meds. :-)




answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know how old your son is, but there is one OTC cold remedy that is approved and labeled for 4 years and up...PediaCare. It is the only one I've found for children under 6 and the only one we use.

Younger than 4 we use chilren's Vick's on the chest, a humidifier, children's saline, an nose aspirator. I've heard Vicks on the soles of the feet (yes, FEET) with socks over helps cough. Some of my mama friends swear by it. I haven't tried it, though. I know our family doctors have at times given us dosages for younger than 4 years to provide some relief, but not until our little one was 2, that I can remember. And definitely consult a doctor before dosing a child younger that the label indicates.

Good luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

It all depends on his age. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued some pretty significant warnings against using cough/cold medicines in children under 6 years-old a few years ago.

I'd recommend first calling your pediatrician's office to see what they recommend, and secondly asking a pharmacist. As well-educated as a pharmacist is, they don't know your child's medical history as well as the pediatrician, so that's why I suggest that order.



answers from Dallas on

your best bet is to ask a pharmacist :) hope he is feeling better soon.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Lots of opinions here. I believe MY ped says NO OTC stuff under 7--EVER.

Ask YOUR pediatrician what he/she recommends...do not take advice on this site as medical knowledge, please!



answers from Tulsa on

I can tell you now a Pharmacist is going to take the safe route and tell you he can't tell you anything if your child is under 6 yrs. old. If he told you that it was okay for you to give your child "such and such" medicine and it killed your child he would be liable. They shouldn't take the risk.

What you need to do is call the pediatrician. They can call something in but chances are they are going to want to see them to rule out flu.

Now, if you are talking about achild over 6 yrs.old then I buy plain liquid Sudafed, the fake Sudafed does not work for our family. We get it at a family style pharmacy but every one of them in my town carry it. Wal-Greens or Wal-Mart usually don't carry it. I give the kids 1/2 dose to start with. The Sudafed causes the vessels in the sinus area to do stuff and makes the congestion easier to get out plus it thins the mucus. I looked up decongestants up on wikipedia and it's interesting.

I also use Tussin, Wal-Mart brand of generic Robotussin for chest congestion, an expectorant. ALL over the counter chest congestion meds all use the same drug, it's called Guafenisin, and it's in robotussin, mussinex, etc...ALL the same med.

I don't use OTC cough meds because they just really don't work. The stuff from the pediatrician works. It lasts for a long time and it isn't that expensive in the long run.

I hope you little one gets feeling better very soon. Ours has puss coming out of his left ear so I know lots of stuff is going on due to weather and virus' and other stuff too. The pediatric nurse practitioner he sees says she has been working until 6:30 or 7 each night just to get all the kids seen for the past week or so.



answers from Colorado Springs on

I would steer clear of otc meds. And antibiotics if possible (most of mine have never used an antibiotic or any otc drugs). Instead, I use Vitamin D3, which is a great immune booster, Vit C, and for runny noses, pulsatilla (homeopathic) or aconite (homeopathic). I suggest going to your local Vitamin Cottage, if you have one, and ask one of the people who work there. They should be able to help you out. Also, peppermint essential oil works great. Of course, it depends on how old your child is whether or not he will take the peppermint as it is strong (we use one drop in some water, but it is still very strong). Ecchenacia and elderberry is also good in a tincture, but you should talk to someone who knows your child or who you can give more specific detials to.



answers from Los Angeles on

OTC cold meds DO NOT actually fight a cold they only releive the symptoms. read the box and you will see. Colds are usually viral and do not have an actual cure. antibiotics will not help. but and otc med can make your child feel better. If the cold is bacterial then antibiotics can be used but they have to be perscribed by a doc.


answers from Dallas on

Push fluids, and get some vitamin c chewables, and give him a little every few hours. Humidifier was a good idea too. Let him rest a couple of days and watch videos while you ply him with this stuff if you can.

Alfalfa is a natural antihistamine. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and probiotics help build immunity.




answers from Denver on

Lots of liquids, vitamins, healthy foods (apples, grapes, veggies), saline and cut back on dairy to thin out (or keep it thin and clear) mucus. Also, a humidifier in the bedroom. I personally use a vaporizer w/ some vicks (very little) menthol added. Get out in the fresh air too.

I'd steer clear of the OTC - they don't really seem to work. I know they don't work for me as an adult (the adult versions that is!). I think a cold just needs to run it's course.

Hope it doesn't get worse...



answers from Los Angeles on

if your child isnt bothered by it i wouldnt dose meds. i dont know how old your child is but i would suggest benadryl for the nose. 1/4-1/2 tspn for a 1-2 year old and 1 tspn for a 2-5 year old. if you are weary about it ask your dr or pharmacy.

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