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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ask a Pediatrician: Session 1

Every parent experiences some level of anxiety when their child is sick. We all worry whether our child is sick enough to see the pediatrician or just stay home and away from other children? Do we medicate them or not? In our first installment of ‘Ask a Pediatrician’, we’re providing several of the commonly most asked questions our pediatricians hear throughout the year and the answers you’re most anxious to hear.

1.    Is it ok to give my child cough and/or cold medicine?
The AAP along with other experts testified before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the safety of cough and cold medications for young children.  The FDA’s recommendation is that children under the age of 4 years should never use cough or cold medications due to potential serious side effects.
Furthermore, the FDA advisory panel does not recommend the use of cough and cold medications in children 4-6 years of age because there has been no proven efficacy for relieving symptoms.
As for children over 6 years of age, the FDA advisory panel has no recommendations. 
Concerning all ages, the best treatment for nasal congestion is nasal saline drops or spray.  Honey is recommended for children over the age of 1 in the treatment and relief of a cough.  Please refrain from using multiple ingredient cough and cold medicines to avoid the risk of overdose.

2.    Should I give my child Tylenol or Ibuprofen prior to vaccines?
We would prefer that you wait until after your child receives their vaccinations to administer Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
For children under the age of 6 months, we recommend that you bring Tylenol with you to your child’s appointment, but refrain from giving the medication until after an accurate weight is obtained and vaccines have been given. Children over 6 months may have Tylenol or Ibuprofen following the administration of their vaccines.

3.    Can my child still receive their vaccinations if he or she has congestion or a cold?
As long as your child has not had a fever in the 24 hours prior to their vaccines, he or she should be OK to receive vaccinations.  However, vaccines will be given at the discretion of the provider once he or she evaluates your child.

4.    Could my child have the Flu?
First and foremost, if your child does not have a fever, he or she probably does not have the flu.  It is most likely a cold or virus.
Along with a fever, the most common symptoms are runny nose, sore throat and cough.  Your child may also experience more muscle pain, headache and chills than with a usual cold.

5.    Can my child have Tylenol or Ibuprofen along with his or her antibiotic?
Yes.  Please continue to give your child Tylenol or Ibuprofen as appropriate for his or her age, if he or she is experiencing fever, pain, or other discomfort.  The antibiotic your child is taking does not immediately relieve your child’s symptoms, therefore you should continue the use of Tylenol or Ibuprofen until the antibiotic has time to treat the infection.

6.    How long should I expect my child to continue with a fever once starting an antibiotic?
Your child may continue to have a fever for up to 72 hours after starting an antibiotic.  Should your child remain with fever after 72 hours, we request that you call our office and speak with a nurse.  Should your child develop new or worsening symptoms at any time, you should also call our office with an update.

Check back for more frequently asked questions, you might also want to check out our post about common children's ailments. Keep in mind, these are simply answers to commonly asked questions and are not intended to replace a medical diagnosis or visit to the doctor.
Let us know what you think about our new ‘Ask a Pediatrician’ format in the comments below.

If you have questions you’d like us to feature, you can include them with your comment, or connect with us on Facebook.

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