The entire responsibility of self-medication lies on parents since children will take whatever is given to them by the parents. It is very important for parents to think before giving any medication to their children on their own.
It is very difficult to make the right diagnosis in small children because they cannot speak, nor can they express themselves properly. There are a great many chances of a wrong judgment while giving self-medication.
Dose must be according to child’s body weight
A dose of medicine to children is given according to body weight. If the dose is too large it can cause severe side effects and toxicity. Always know the weight of your child so that the dose can be calculated. Some mothers and grandmothers just out of love and affection, instantly give medicines at the slightest symptom of cough and cold.
You should not experiment on small children with allopathic medicines. Even slightest over-dose or wrong medication can prove dangerous.
It is very common that for any fever, mothers keep on giving ‘Paracetamol Syrup’ again and again without realizing that the fever could be due to many reasons. You should treat the exact cause of fever. Paracetamol will unnecessarily prolong the suffering.
Remember: Paracetamol is not the curative treatment but is a temporary measure to bring down the fever for the time being. You should go to a doctor and take proper treatment for fever according to its cause.
Excessive cough syrups are addictive
Cough and colds are very common complaints in children. Many mothers give different syrups for a long time without consulting their doctors. Some children may like the sweet taste of cough syrups and start drinking it on their own without the knowledge of their parents.
There are many toxic and addicting drugs like ‘codeine’ in some cough syrups. Many children become addicted to cough syrups. However healthy the child may be, according to an affectionate mother he is always weak and a lot of improvement can be made with tonics.
Syrups to increase appetite
Another common complaint by the parents is that the child is not eating his meals properly. They ask some tonics to increase the appetite. They do not realize that in between the meals how many sweets, chocolates and soft drinks their children are stomach is full at meal time.
Milk with Health Drink
Family doctors usually oblige their regular patients prescribing a number of expensive tonics. Some parents are seen forcing their children to drink milk 5-6 times in a day. This is not good.
Various baby foods and power milks are available in the market. Many mothers do not know how much water to be added to the powder milk. They, therefore, add less water. As a result the child suffers from diarrhea and stomach problems. You should take your doctor’s advice about baby foods in the market and how much dilution is to be done and at what age.
Baby less than six months of age
If a very small child say less than six months, gets severe diarrhea and vomiting you should never try to self- medicate him at home. A child can die of dehydration if time is wasted in trying out home remedies. Always seek a doctor’s advice or take the child to a hospital.
School going children
- If a child complains of symptoms only at a the of going school , you should always try to find out whether he has some problem in the school rather than giving medication on your own.
- These days capsules and tablets come in attractive colours. Small children may mistake them for sweets. Always keep medicines under a lock and key. Tell your child from time to time that these are harmful pills.