Infant medicine explained
Brufen, Calpol, Fenisitil and more juvenile drugs explained
What is it: Brufen syrup is a non steroidal anti-inflammatory
Best used for: Reducing swelling, and relieving pain. Brufen is a good go-to if your child is also suffering from a fever as it has temperature reducing properties. It works well for illnesses like throat infections where inflammation is involved, as well as for minor injuries, joint pain, vaccination sore spots and even to relieve burn pain.
Cautions: It can’t be used for infants under one year, unless prescribed by a doctor. In rare cases it can also trigger allergic reactions, asthma and even blood clotting disorders. Because of this, pregnant women should also steer clear of it.
What is it: The active ingredient in Calpol is paracetamol
Best used for: Pain relief and fever. Paracetamol is considered one of the safest and most effective pain relieving medications available because babies aged two months and up can tolerate it. While Calpol cannot relieve swelling, it does reduce pain, and is often recommended for teething babies, post vaccination pain and fevers.
Cautions: Ensure your baby or child keeps their fluids well topped up as paracetamol can increase the likelihood of dehydration occurring. Making sure you stick to the recommended dose for the recommended period is also essential as paracetamol is known to cause liver damage and toxicity.
What is it: Anti-allergenic
Best used for: Nasal allergies and seasonal allergic rhinitis, rhinorrhoea, urticaria and pruritus. There are several brands of over-the-counter antihistamine medications available for children in the UAE. They can be helpful in relieving persistent coughs caused by a nasal drip, allergic reactions, and seasonally irritated sore throats.
Cautions: The latest advice is that antihistamines should be avoided in children under the age of two. This is because in rare instances, they have caused epilepsy and an enzyme-related condition called porphyria.
What are they: Cough medications work by loosening mucus and suppressing the cough reflex. A cough suppressant typically contains a chemical called dextromethorphan which acts on a part of the brain to actually suppress the urge to cough. Meanwhile, the active ingredient in an expectorant is guafenesin. It works by thinning and loosening mucus in the airways, clearing congestion, and making breathing easier.
Best used for: Cough medications can be used to relieve cough symptoms caused by a common cold or by bronchitis. However, in the case of a bacterial upper respiratory or chest infection, antibiotics will be required to treat the condition.
Cautions: Despite the fact that they seem fairly harmless, cough expectorants and suppressants are strong medications and must not be given to children under the age of six, unless advised otherwise by a doctor.
What is it: Fucidin is a topical, anti-biotic cream that contains fusidic acid.
Best used for: Minor bacterial skin infections, Fucidin can be used to a variety of conditions, including the highly infectious impetigo, often rife in schools.
Cautions: As it’s an antibiotic, it should be used sparingly, and prolonged use can result in hypersensitivity.
What is it: The active ingredient in teething gel is a mild, local anesthetic called Benzocaine.
Best used for: Temporary relief of sore gums in infants when they are teething. But teething gel is also remarkably soothing for other sore mouth complaints, such as oral ulcers.
Cautions: It’s not a cure, and should not be used on symptoms that last longer than seven days without consulting a doctor.
What is it: A topical antihistamine.
Best used for: Fenistil gel is designed to reduce skin irritation caused by insect bites, itching caused by allergic reactions, sun burn and even mild burns. It can be particularly helpful in treating stinging ant bites, especially in little ones who are always crawling on the floor.
Cautions: As with all medications, use cautiously as the active ingredient can cause burning and skin dryness.
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