It seems that when the temperature drops, we find ourselves sniffling and coughing and the incidence of soar throats affect both children and adults. The common cold is usually a result of a virus and there are no medications we can take to get rid of the virus; the only treatment is to relieve the discomfort caused by the virus.
When a child gets a sore throat, you can try to buy an over the counter medication to relieve the pain. There are a few products available in the form of a lozenge, spray or drop. Using a spray on a child under a certain age can be quite an unpleasant experience, so may be better to use a throat lozenge, unless the child is an infant, than the oral drops would be the safer option.
The first thing to consider when purchasing a lozenge is that it should be palatable. A child will not be co-operative in taking a lozenge if it does not taste good. There are plenty of products on the market that taste good and help to relieve minor pain caused by a sore throat.
The second thing to consider is making sure the throat lozenges are alcohol free and sugar free. There are quite a few over the counter products that do not contain alcohol or sugar, so there should be no problem finding a suitable product. Most sugar free products contain “sugar alcohol”, this is an ingredient used in place of sugar and is derived from plant products such as fruits and berries, and provide fewer calories. Some sugar alcohols can be identified by the following names: Sorbitol, Mannitol, Lactitol and Isomalt
The third thing to look for is the “active ingredient” in the lozenge. Stay away from products containing aspirin. Aspirin taken by children with a fever can cause a potentially fatal nervous system complication called Reye’s syndrome.
Other Active ingredients in oral anesthetics are Benzocaine-Menthol and Dyclonine Hydrochloride. If taken too much, they may cause serious side effects such as, lightheadedness, drowsiness, unusual anxiety, nervousness or restlessness. Less common side effects can be large hives in the mouth; skin rash or burning that was not present before treatment.
Any oral anesthetic can be dangerous if not taken as recommended and may have possible side effects. It is important that you follow the directions exactly as described by the manufacturer, especially when children are involved, as they can be extra sensitive to any medicine. It is recommended that any over the counter oral anesthetic should not be use on a child under the age of 2, unless prescribed by a physician.
Check with your child’s doctor first before giving any over the counter pain relievers. Oral anesthetics are only used for the temporary relief of minor pain. If pain persists more than 3 days or is followed by a high fever, you should immediately seek the advice of a physician.