Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Natural Treatments for Toddler and Baby Colds After FDA Warning

As if mothers and fathers of today don’t have enough on their plates.

Now the FDA in a Public Health Advisory has issued its strongest warning yet over the danger of using over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications for toddlers, two and below. They are not only ineffective but might lead to an overdose or fatality.

Medications with the warning include decongestants, expectorants, antihistamines and antitussives (cough suppressants) that you can buy at any pharmacies and supermarkets, including Wyeth's Robitussin, Novartis, AG's Triaminic and Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol Plus Cold.

The FDA is considering whether to extend the warnings to include children under the age of 12 since the action of many powerful OTC medications cannot be predicted in children.

So what’s a mother (and father) to do?

Back to some tried and true remedies that parents and doctors swear by.

Researchers find a saline nasal wash made from Atlantic Sea water helps minimize cold symptoms and may minimize the reoccurance of infections.

Dr. Mercola, the number one online natural/complimentary medicine doctor tells IB News, “One of the best tools I know of for treating colds and flus is simply putting a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ears. This can be used for children and adults. It’s safe, very effective and inexpensive -- simply use the common 3% hydrogen peroxide you can find in any drug store.

Remember also that colds are triggered by viruses, and using antibiotics to treat a viral infection is useless -- it will not work. So you should definitely avoid giving your child antibiotics for a common cold.

Also, although a virus may be a contributing factor in catching a cold, it's a weakened immune system hurt by stress, a poor diet and not enough sleep that is the underlying reason your child actually has the infection.

So make sure your child is eating well -- and not consuming a lot of sugary foods and drinks like soda -- getting plenty of sleep each night and not under a lot of stress. This will help him or her to stay healthy and avoid catching a cold in the future."

Don’t ignore the child’s cold because there are some things that can make her more comfortable.

* Breastfeeding boosts immunity in your baby and extra protection against colds
* Smooth salve around a raw nose that’s running and chapped
* Never give aspirin because of its link to Reye’s syndrome
* Encourage hand washing with soap to reduce the spread of germs
* Use a rubber suction bulb to remove excess mucus from infants
* Saline drops help a baby breath easier
* Warm liquids help hydration and sooth a sore throat, yes chicken soup too
* Warm water and salt gargles reduce soreness in the throat
* Check for excess stress at school, home that can contribute to a run down child

Kellymom recommends remedies including steaming with herbs in the water.

Others swear by Zinc formulations such as Zicam, which is carried in all pharmacies, non prescription and homeopathic, and Vitamin C which Dr. Linus Pauling wrote about in “Vitamin C and the Common Cold” in the late 1970’s and he discusses in this last interview.

Mothering Magazine has many suggestions for homeopathic remedies that are often used in Europe.

When should you see a doctor?

Dr. Flavia Marino is an instructor in pediatrics at New York University Medical Center and a pediatrician in New York City. He says as long as your child has no fever, is eating and sleeping well, there is no reason to see the doctor.

However when a fever shoots up to 100 or 101 that may indicate a bacterial infection rather than a cold from a virus. And if after 10 days the cold symptoms are not getting better, your child may have a sinus infection.

Dr. Michael Macknin at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio says ''For a child under age 6 who's had a runny nose with or without a cough for ten days and isn't getting better, chances are close to 90 percent there's a sinus infection,'' Dr. Macknin says. For 6-to 12-year-olds, chances are 70 percent. Unlike a cold virus, a sinus infection should be treated with doctor-prescribed antibiotics, he adds.

Finally, Peggy O’Mara, editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine, talks about trusting your own instincts as a parent. So often we rely on experts, studies, authorities, when we really know more than we give ourselves credit for when it comes to our children. Trust your instinctual nature she tells mothers (and fathers too!).

It's amazing the healing power of parents.

According to the Consumer Health Products Association (CHPA), the cough and cold medicines that were withdrawn are:

* Dimetapp(R) Decongestant Plus Cough Infant Drops,
* Dimetapp(R) Decongestant Infant Drops,
* Little Colds(R) Decongestant Plus Cough,
* Little Colds(R) Multi-Symptom Cold Formula,
* PEDIACARE(R) Infant Drops Decongestant (containing pseudoephedrine),
* PEDIACARE(R) Infant Drops Decongestant & Cough (containing pseudoephedrine),
* PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Decongestant (containing phenylephrine),
* PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Long-Acting Cough,
* PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Decongestant & Cough (containing phenylephrine),
* Robitussin(R) Infant Cough DM Drops,
* Triaminic(R) Infant & Toddler Thin Strips(R) Decongestant,
* Triaminic(R) Infant & Toddler Thin Strips(R) Decongestant Plus Cough,
* TYLENOL(R) Concentrated Infants' Drops Plus Cold,
* TYLENOL(R) Concentrated Infants' Drops Plus Cold & Cough.