When your child is feeling sick, your instinct might be to do whatever you can to make them feel better. It might be tempting to offer pain medication for kids who are experiencing a bad headache or a sinus medication with a nasty cold. But it is important to always think twice before offering anyone, especially a child, medication that they perhaps don’t truly need. If possible, we want our little ones’ bodies to overcome their ailments naturally, using substances only when necessary to do the trick, making them feel much better! So to make these decisions easier for you, we have broken down when to use over-the-counter medications and when to see the pediatrician instead. 

Begin at the Basics

Let’s start with the basics! When it comes to children it’s all too easy to provide a dose too large or a substance too risky. This can have a very serious, potentially even fatal risk. So before you offer your little one medicine, seriously consider whether or not they really need it and whether it is appropriate for them. Check the labels carefully. Be sure to never offer anything that does not explicitly say it is safe for children. Look for your child’s age range to be sure, and follow the dosages accordingly. If in doubt, always offer your child less or call your pediatrician for expert advice. 

Cold and Flu

If your little one is feeling under the weather, watch their symptoms before offering them pain or sinus medication for kids. If your child has a high fever, always seek urgent medical care. For a headache, stomach ache or sore throat, you can try soothing remedies like tea first (for children older than one). If this does not work, a small over-the-counter dose can be offered to get them through the push to the good night’s sleep they need to get well again. But if the pain subsists through pain relievers or continues for more than one day, it’s best to go see a doctor. If antibiotics are needed, over-the-counter medications simply won’t solve it. So, if your child is persistently sick or their illness has worsened, come in to see a doctor.  

Important Injuries

Beyond small bruises or scapes here and there, all injuries are important injuries. If your child gets a boo boo, treat and dress the wound as you normally would. But if the wound is deep or if the bruises are large, it is best to visit the pediatrician right away. Open wounds can get infected and cause a serious problem. Have an expert take a look, assess the injuries, and offer you an appropriate treatment plan. Call your doctor if you are unsure, but always come in to have any significant injury or wound examined. A bone might need to be set, x-rays taken, or special anti-inflammatories offered. So, come visit us to make sure your little one gets exactly what they need to heal and feel better! 

Potty Problems

If your little one is having toilet troubles, it can go from uncomfortable to serious very quickly. Please always call your pediatrician if you notice persistent diarrhea. This can cause a loss of fluids that could put your child’s safety at risk. Letting a professional know early on can help them monitor the seriousness of the situation and assess it as it changes. If your child has mild, short term symptoms, you can offer a diarrhea medication for kids to see if the issue subsides. It is also ok to use gentle kids’ medications to ease constipation, but if the problem is recurring or if your child is unable to complete a bowel movement for days, see a doctor, it could signal a larger issue. 

Annoying Allergies 

Allergies can be an unwelcome annoyance but taking care of them is important! Kids allergy medication can be helpful in soothing pesky symptoms. But keep in mind that typical symptoms can often be unintentionally confused as allergies, so if you are unsure, ask a pediatrician. If your child has persistent symptoms it’s definitely a good idea to go to your pediatrician to get your child evaluated. In the office, a test can be conducted to gauge the allergens your little one is sensitive to so that you can potentially avoid them or better understand when medication is necessary and when it is not. If your child has a known allergy and is experiencing an attack, always use your epinephrine, or epi pen, to treat reactions.  

Understand the Illness

If you are offering medication to your child, always make sure that you understand exactly what their illness is and what they need to take to improve it. If you have any doubts, resist the urge to offer them something that might make them feel better. The wrong substance could make your child feel worse, so if you ever are not fully confident that a medication is appropriate for the symptoms your child is experiencing, do not hesitate to call. If you are unsure whether to see the pediatrician, let us know so your child’s doctor can help you decide.  

At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, our top priority is the wellness of your child. Pain, sinus, and anti-nausea medications for kids can be a serious decision, so please involve a medical professional whenever you are unsure. Let us help you feel the relief of knowing your child is getting the exact medication they need!