When parents see their children coughing they are sure to feel anxious. They are tempted to give cough syrups to give instant relief to their little ones. Most parents believe that cough syrups and cold medications are the keys to relieve their kids from cold symptoms and coughing. Is this belief right? Are cough syrups really effective? Are they safe to be used in children? You should know the answer to these questions before you give your child cough syrup next time.
Are cough syrups safe?
- Cough medications are not recommended for children below 4 years. They provide just a little effect but may cause many side effects. Overdose of cough syrups in kids below 2 years can be fatal at times.
- Cough syrups that contain codeine as an ingredient should not be used for children below 12 years of age because slowed breathing or difficulty in breathing is one of the important side effects of codeine.
- Antihistamines like Benadryl cause sleepiness, drowsiness and agitation. Sometimes it may cause hallucination. They are not safe to use in children. Many types of cough syrups are available over the counter.
- Side effects of cough syrups include convulsions, nausea, uneven heart rate, drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision and allergic reactions etc.
Cough syrups are of different categories including cough expectorants, cough suppressants and cough decongestants and antihistamines. Do they all help in treating coughs? The answer is a big NO. The over the counter cough medications are effective in giving temporary relief from coughing but are not effective in treat the underlying cause. Cough medications neither treat the cause for cough nor reduce the time of infection. Coughing is a symptom of cold and is caused naturally to clear the airways and get rid of phlegm. It will go on its own and does not need any medications. As cough syrups cause more side effects and are of little use in treating the underlying disease, they are not recommended.
What can you do instead of giving unsafe cough syrups?
- Give natural cough suppressants like honey.
- Use nasal aspirators to clear the nasal passages. Cough is a symptom of cold. When the nasal passage is cleared of mucus cold symptoms including cough improves.
- Give warm liquids to sooth the sore throat and to keep your baby hydrated.
Home remedies may not give instant results but they are free from side effects.