What Every Parent Should Have On Hand

When your kids get a cold or the flu, have the right over-the-counter medications and use them correctly.

By FamilyTime


We are fortunate to have access to high-quality, over-the-counter medications and home remedies for minor illnesses. Make sure you have them on hand when you need them.

Never give children medication of any kind without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Current thinking is that some kids, particularly very young ones, should never take these medications.

Take a few moments to review the contents of the family medicine cabinet. Discard what is old and re-stock with new products. Out-of-date prescription and non-prescription drugs can be harmful, especially if taken inaccurately or if they land in the hands of children. Take no chances.

A Sensible Supply 

Make a list of the medications you will need when your kids, your spouse or you get a cold, the flu, or an upset stomach.

These most likely will include:

Ibuprofen: Sold most commonly as Advil and Motrin. It reduces fever and alleviates pain. 

Ancetaminophen: This is known most commonly as Tylenol. It also reduces fever and alleviates pain.

Aspirin: This common pain revliever and fever reducer should never be given to children (unless a doctor approves).

Decongestants: These reduce congestion from stuffy noses and clogged sinuses.

Cough syrup: This temporarily reduces coughing and may soothe raw throats.

Antihistamines: These reduce stuffy noses and itchy, watery eyes. They are used to treat allergies as well as flu and colds.

Antacids or other mild anti-nausea medications: These may be chewable or liquid and work by coating the stomach and neutralizing acid.

As stated earlier, none of the above medications should be used without consulting with your doctor. Some of the above are available together in a single product. For instance, some decongestants contain cough syrup.  

Buy Only What You Need

Every household needs certain over-the-counter medications but buy only what you will realistically use. Do not overstock. Medication should never be used lightly and it should not be kept beyond its expiration date.

For children, buy over-the-counter medication specifically developed for children. Don't plan to reduce dosages of adult medication. Buy medication with child-resistant caps.

As earlier advised, check with your doctor or your child's pediatrician before giving anyone any medication. Read the label carefully and follow the directions exactly.

Safe, Not Sorry

Measure accurately, never over- or under-dose -- at best this can be ineffectual, as worst dangerous. Use the little cups or droppers that come with the medicine or use a kitchen measuring spoon for teaspoon and tablespoon amounts.

Never leave containers uncapped or loosely capped. Store all medication out of reach of children. If medicine requires refrigeration, put it on a high shelf in the back of the 'fridge.

Keep the medicine cabinet uncluttered. When you're searching for cough syrup in the middle of the night, you will be happy to have order.