Cold medicines are not a good idea for kids


February 10, 2002|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q. My 3-year-old and my 6-year-old keep trading colds. It seems as if we have had nonstop sniffles all winter. I never know which cold medicine is right for children this age. Is there anything that's really effective?

A. No. Most cold medicines are designed for adults and haven't been tested thoroughly in children.

The antihistamines that are common ingredients in cold remedies make many adults sleepy but can sometimes stimulate children and keep them awake. Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine can also make kids jumpy. Pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen might actually increase nasal symptoms and might make people more infectious. Stick with chicken soup.

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