It is worth noting that, in general, over-the-counter medications for the treatment of influenza are ineffective in curing the disease; they only relieve the symptoms. However, it is considered that some may be harmful, particularly in children under two years of age. Therefore, Anti-influenza medications are not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
Precautions when using flu medicines in children:
The flu can cause stress and worry in parents. And there are many myths about childhood flu. In this order of ideas, it is understandable that adults consider administering medication to their children as an alternative.
However, the flu tends to get better in most cases, and medications do not alter or accelerate the natural course. Over-the-counter flu medicines are also often thought of as an alternative to help relieve symptoms.
In this regard, the United States Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) issued an alert on using anti-flu drugs in children. It mentions that most problems with these drugs occur if they are given too often.
It can happen, in particular, that formulas intended for adults are used in children. Therefore, it is not even advisable to try to reduce the dose. However, it is somewhat risky and not consistently accurate.
In addition, there are chances of side effects when giving flu medicine to children. For example, minors recovering from chickenpox or respiratory illnesses should avoid taking it.
Types of flu medications in children
Different medications are used to treat the flu; for example, see below which are the most commonly used in children:
Antibiotics are prescribed when there are bacterial infections. Although some give them to their children when they have colds or the flu, they don’t affect them in those cases. But on the other hand, prolonged administration enhances the chances of contracting a resistant infection later.
It is given to reduce fever and relieve other symptoms, such as pain. However, the problem with this component is that it is present in different anti-flu drugs.
In this way, the dose can be doubled when taking it in tablets and a granulated anti-flu, for example. Some deaths have even been reported in investigations.
As the name implies, decongestants are used as drugs to relieve a stuffy nose. They would help reduce nasal discharge by narrowing the blood vessels in the nostrils. Although practical, side effects of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (their main components) include reactions of hyperactivity and irritability.
Antihistamines seek to minimise allergic reactions and treat various symptoms of colds and flu. Many over-the-counter Cold and allergy formulas combine decongestants and antihistamines. Side effects of the latter can include blurred vision, drowsiness, nervousness, and dizziness.
4. Antitussives or antitussives:
Antitussive or antitussive are the terms used to refer to the drugs prescribed to calm the cough. They act on the central nervous system, helping to suppress such a reaction.
They are usually used when coughing fits affect rest and other activities (such as staying in school). Now, cough suppressants with opioids (codeine) can cause various reactions, such as drowsiness and slow and difficult breathing.
Codeine is not recommended for use in flu medications for children under 12.
5. Mucolytics and expectorants:
Contrary to the previous ones, expectorants seek to stimulate productive cough, understood as one that helps eliminate bronchial secretions. For their part, mucolytics modify the characteristics of these secretions, making it easier to expel them.
Cough syrup in children with the flu:
Over-the-counter cough syrups don’t always make sense in a treatment. However, many are contraindicated at certain ages.
Lastly, different combination formulations are also used in anti-flu medications for children. Most anti-flu include several types of components:
- Vitamin C.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
With these presentations, you have to be very careful. The interaction of the active ingredients could lead to adverse effects and unexpected reactions.
Influenza medications can be used in children as long as a doctor prescribes them. Otherwise, it is not at all advisable to administer them on your own.
Take into account the following general recommendations:
- Follow the dosage guidelines in the letter. For example, if the container includes a syringe or dropper, use the medicine measure and not the spoon for food.
- Do not use paracetamol in children under three months, ibuprofen in children under six months or aspirin in children under three years.
- Avoid the use of medications that are for multiple symptoms.
- Do not give flu medications to children if they are vomiting or showing signs of dehydration.
- Remember that honey should not be given to children under 12 months due to the risk of botulism.
- Instead of administering anti-influenza medications to children, their symptoms can be relieved using other mechanisms and strategies. For example, you can suction the nose with a pear to remove the excess mucus in children under one year of age.
- It would help if you gave him plenty of fluids to keep him hydrated. The paediatrician will tell you if it is necessary to add drugs and what to check for vital signs to identify a complication early.