Fighting Baby Bugs without Medicines

With infant cold and flu medicines pulled off the shelves earlier this fall, many parents are wondering how to get their little ones through this winter.

"As parents, we want to feel like we're doing something to make our child more comfortable," said Dr. Sridevi Donepudi of Topeka's Cotton-O'Neil Clinic. "But studies show these medicines really haven't made any difference."

Dr. Donepudi says the concern didn't come so much from the medicine itself, but in the potential for overdose in infants under age two, which could have serious consequences. She says children taking too much of the medicines can get irregularities in heart rhythm, seizures and hallucinations.

With cold medicines not an option, Dr. Donepudi suggests things like saline nasal drops. She says you can put a few drops in the nose, with or without bulb suction, to help thin out the mucus and clear their congestion. She says a cool mist humidifier can also be helpful as can regular plain Tylenol or Motrin - not the cold forumlas - in children over six months old to ease general discomfort.

Dr. Donepudi also recommends frequent hand washing to keep bugs at bay and flu shots for children over six months and any grownups in the home. She says, often times, it is the adults who are out and about picking up germs, then bringing them home and exposing their children to them.

If your child's symptoms aren't getting better or come with a high fever, see your doctor. Dr. Donepudi says it could be a sign of a bacterial infection that needs further treatment.


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