Not sure what to do now that many children's liquid medications have been pulled from drugstore shelves? Pediatrician Jennifer Trachtenberg, MD, RealAge's children's health expert, has some ways to cope with bad colds, fevers and a red-alert allergy season.
Many moms and dads with sick kids are doing a little hand-wringing about giving up their trusty bottles of liquid Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl. As you likely know, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which makes some 43 liquid products for kids, and the U.S Food and Drug Administration have advised families to stop using the products, which disappeared off pharmacy shelves in a gigantic voluntary recall.
It looks to be lapses in meeting required quality standards. While tests by the FDA found the actual finished products were not contaminated, raw materials used to make some of the medications were. There were also instances of some products having too much of the active ingredient, while others were found to contain "tiny particles" that shouldn't be there. It's still being investigated and, yes, it's worrisome, but so far there are no reports of any child anywhere getting sick from the medications. Still, McNeil and the FDA are obviously taking the recall seriously, and so am I. I've told my parents to return or dispose of the meds immediately.
Here's the bigger issue, though. American parents—and with three kids, I'm one of you—often have a kind of fever phobia. If our children feel a little warm to the back of our hand, we reach for the Motrin or Tylenol. At the first sniffle or sneeze, we break out the Benadryl or Zyrtec. If we're honest, a lot of the time we medicate our kids for our comfort, to dial down the worry meter a notch. But it's usually not necessary. Often, a cold or fever will go away on its own.
Get Dr. Trachtenberg's 7 ways to deal with a sick child.