Confusion Reigns Over Cough and Cold Medicines
Sue Hubbard, M.D.
Coughs and Colds
At our practice, we recommend classic treatments like extra fluids and vaporizers over commercial cold products.
The confusion over cough and cold medications continues, and I must admit I'm a little confused, too.
Looking at the little research on these products, two things come to mind:
1. There have been multiple studies done on these products (in adults) that do not show them to be efficacious for treating common cough and cold symptoms.
2. The research among children using these products shows that dosing errors and accidental ingestions are the leading cause of adverse events.
This kind of leaves me thinking, why use them at all in children?
I've never been much of a cold medicine giver in general, as I personally did not see my own children getting better any faster by using such products.
We continued to use the good old grandmother-tested remedies: like lots of rest, freshly-squeezed orange juice (sometimes in pays to be sick), chicken noodle soup (canned or homemade), and a vaporizer or humidifier in their rooms at night.
I also know that younger children get more colds than anyone else. But miraculously, as kids get older they get fewer colds and seem to tolerate them a little better.
So, for this winter, in our practice we're not recommending the use of any cold products for kids and trying the gold standards: rest, fluids, cool mist humidifier and tincture of time. We'll see how it goes.
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