Since it’s back to school time, you can bet it’s also back to germs time. I’m looking at you, kid that keeps coughing and refuses to cover his mouth, and you, kid that keeps picking his nose behind a book. You’re not fooling anyone! As those big yellow buses pull away from the bus stop and you realize you didn’t put your kid’s PB&J into his superhero lunch box and your hoping no one sees you are still wearing your PJs during preschool dropoff, let’s all send up a silent prayer that all those coughs, colds, sniffles, goopey eyes, and other strange illnesses stay far-far-far away from our kids.
Even though we will try and try very hard, someone is going to get sick in your house this school year. But it’s all cool because you’re a mom that knows what your family needs when they’re sick: a little rest, a lot Mom TLC, and if they need medicine to help them feel better, you’ll find the right ones. But let’s talk about putting those reading skills to good use when it comes to choosing and dosing medicines for your family. Reading the drug labels before you give medicine is something that my friends at Know Your OTCs knows all about. Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, here are the key things to remember:
- Reading active ingredients- When you or your kids aren’t feeling well, you might feel tempted to grab several different medicines to help you knock out all of the symptoms, but be sure to read all of the active ingredients in each medicine. You might not realize it, but you might be taking or dosing too much of the same medicine. Taking a pain reliever and a cough and cold medicine at the same time may seem simple enough, but these medicines might have the same active ingredients so this means you have doubled the dose of medicine without realizing it. Double the dose could be harmful to you or your kids. This just means we need to read those medicine labels to make sure we know which active ingredients we’re dosing.
- Uses – You know which OTC meds work well for your kids when they have fevers and which OTC meds can relieve your worst headaches, but we have to remember that most OTC meds only treat symptoms and do not cure illnesses. Also, make sure you are choosing OTC meds that only treat the symptoms your kids have. If they don’t have sinus pressure, you don’t need the medicine for sinus pressure, right?
- Warnings– Keep it simple: Keep that medicine up and away from tiny hands. An easy way to remember all the dosing info is to set an alarm on your phone. And finally, if an OTC medicine gives a warning that is might make your child sleepy, just put it down and find another. We all love a good nap, or a napping child, but it’s best if that nap comes from some snuggles from mom and not an OTC.
- Directions- Even if it’s a medicine you have used a million times, read those directions! Some medicines just aren’t made for your youngest patient. Cough and cold medications are labeled for children ages 4 and over. If you have questions, always call your doctor.
- Other Information- To refrigerate or not refrigerate, that is the question. Check the labels for all this info!
- Inactive Ingredients- Now that you are checking all the active ingredients, do a quick check of the inactive ingredients too (especially if your child has allergies).