TODAY | October 11, 2012
>>> this morning on "go healthy today," remedies for the flu. on average, adults catch a cold about two to three times a year. but for kids, it's a lot more than that. the pediatrician and spokesperson for the american academy of pediatrics . good to see you again.
>> thank you for having me.
>> so kids can catch up to ten colds a year?
>> sometimes even a few more. especially if they're around other children. that's why we teach kids to cover their cough, use a tissue when they blow their nose and throw it away. wash their hands frequently and in classrooms, make sure teachers are wiping and cleaning surfaces.
>> just to be clear, there's a difference between the cold and a flu?
>> there is. they're both caused be i viruses, but many cold viruses and there's several flu viruses. the best way to decrease your chance of getting either one is to get a flu vaccine and wash your hands frequently.
>> let's say your child gets home, sneezing, coughing, there are medications you don't want to give your kids.
>> right. so cold and cough medications are not recommended for children under age 2. and that's according to the american academy of pediatrics and the fda. between age 2 and 6, it's really best not to use them. and use them with caution and only when directed by your pediatrician because they haven't been shown to be effective and there may be unpleasant side effects .
>> they offer specific symptoms, specific relief. so the big thing we're worried about is overdosing, right?
>> exactly. and if you look at a multi-symptom cold medicine, often you'll find several ingredients. so the mistake i often see parents make, they'll give their child tylenol and an hour later give them a cold medicine that may also have it in there and they're double-dosing their child. you want to read the ingredients on the box and follow the direction.
>> and recently they changed the dose, haven't they?
>> it's used to reduce a fever. and you don't need to treat all fevers, but if it's making your child uncomfortable, give an appropriate dose. there used to be two concentrations. the infant concentrated drops and the children's liquid. and that was often confusing for parents. they changed it to one concentration. the children's concentration, but it will be dosed for infants with a syringe and for children with a measuring cup . and make sure you always use the measuring device that comes with the medication you're giving.
>> what about ibprofen. some parents like it because it lasts a little longer than other fever-reducing medications. i like to use it at night because who wouldn't like an extra hour or two of sleep where your children are comfortable?
>> right. and antihistamines?
>> it can help to dry up a runny nose or a cough if the cough is due to the runny nose . but be careful since a lot of antihistamines can cause sedation, especially in children. and once in a while , you'll get a child that gets hyper on it.
>> my son is one of those. you see on some packaging d.m., what does that mean?
>> usually it's the most commonly used over-the-counter cough medicine . and you'll find it in many multi-symptom cough medicines. a study was done that shows that honey which you can only use over age 1 may actually be more effective in treating a cough.
>> and if your kid has mucus?
>> there's different medications. look for a common medication to help break up the mucus. fenal ephrine, but again, you always want to talk to your doctor.
>> thank you so much.