Posts Tagged ‘ benadryl ’

Why Can’t Kids Take Cough Medicine?

Friday, October 18th, 2013

I don’t want to wish away the time with my kids. I know it goes fast. But there is one thing I am seriously excited about when they turn 6: the ability to give them cough medicine.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like to medicate if I don’t have to. Or, if alternative therapies worked, I’d be all game. But at times, there is absolutely nothing that helps Fia’s chronic cough. Last week her cough turned into walking pneumonia. I’m convinced it’s because of her coughing that hard for that long, night after night, not sleeping, that wears the whole body down. So what is worse? Giving them a small dose of cough medicine or letting it turn into this? Now she’s been on hard-core antibiotics for five days. Yes, the cough is gone, but did it have to get that far in the first place?

I get the body is supposed to learn to fight on its own and during the day it can. But at night when a kid is puking because he or she is coughing so hard? It’s just wrong. I mean, we’ve managed to build the Hadron Collider, figuring out the physics of the universe and yet I can’t give my kid relief in the night?

I got so fed up with her cough last week. This, after she was gurgling in her throat from all the mucus. I did the nebulizer twice, both inhalers, and had the humidifier turned up so high the moisture made it feel like the Amazon Jungle.  Emmett then started to cough so hard he started throwing up. So while Phil slept with her propped up on pillows, I slept holding Emmett upright in the rocking chair.

The next night, as it all started again, I gave Fia Benadryl. She slept like a baby. Em and I had to just plow through because being under 2, I get that he’s too little to do much.

But generally speaking, it’s so f–king frustrating I want to scream.

Months back when her cough was bad, the Vicks Vapor Rub on her feet was an absolute miracle. I still use it on both kids, but the results aren’t as impressive.

Fia has asthma fits that become exacerbated when she gets a cold. I’ve been to a pulmonologist and the pediatrician countless times. Everyone just kind of shrugs, since there is nothing they can do.

So why can’t we give our kids cough medicine? Because in 2007 the FDA looked at the limited studies and said that the amount required to help a cough is too strong to give kids under 6, Many of the pharmaceutical companies voluntarily recalled it for infants (which, frankly, is impressive for an industry that is all about money). The kids cough medicine you see on the shelves today won’t give any dosing for kids under 5 or 6. Now part of this decision is due in part to people not following directions properly and overdosing kids to a fatal level.

The thing is, it is hard to distinguish between all the medicines. I have to read the dosing sheet from my pediatrician’s office at least 3 times to make sure I’m doing it right. There is a huge, potentially life-threatening issue if you don’t distinguish between a regular formula of Motrin or acetaminophen and the concentrated drops.  This American Life had a heart-wrenching report on babies dying from mistakes in acetaminophen dosing.

Back when they took the medicine from the shelves, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said the products were being pulled “out of an abundance of caution.”

It went on to say that…potential misuse of the medications, not product safety, is driving the voluntary withdrawal.

I asked my pediatrician about it and she said that all cough medicine has really been proven to do in young children is put them to sleep. Ack. Argh. That’s all I’m asking for: something where she can sleep and not be exhausted night after night from coughing. But she said if there is a cough that needs to work itself out and you are basically drugged asleep, it can be incredibly dangerous. So I’m not faulting all this, I’m just saying that for all of you who had kids before the rules changed, count yourselves lucky that you missed sleepless nights of aggravating coughs.

I’ve tried the homeopathic remedies and the humidifier. If’ it’s a minor cold they might work. But a major cough? She’s screwed.

So unless I decide to “go rogue” and just do it myself (which plenty of my friends have done, as did parents whose kids were born before 2007) I just have to wait 2 1/2 more years. Maybe on her 6th birthday I’ll do a goodbye cough-themed party.

Is anyone else frustrated about this? Or does anyone have any suggestions?

 

Pic of coughing kid via Shutterstock

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Milestone Monday: The Rash Continues to Confound

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Hives, but not too itchy

I wrote last week about Fia’s mystery rash. Am reposting the picture. It comes on in a fury, then a dose of Benadryl and it is gone within 10 minutes. I told the doctor last week that I thought it had gone away for two days. He said that was the key: figuring out what she didn’t have during that time or 5 days before hand. That’s how long an allergy can stay in your body. Well, I have a decent memory, but nothing that good. So moving forward, I’m trying to see if it goes away for any extended period of time. So far, it hasn’t.

She is seeing an allergist on Thursday for a consult, Friday for testing. I happen to be allergic to every environmental thing except mold: dust mites, pollen–even my transexual cat. I get shots. Phil is allergic to Penicillin. The doctor explained that our allergies combined give Fia a really good chance of having them. Even though ours aren’t food,  hers could be. And he reiterated the rash looks a food allergy, not environmental.

The only consistent thing about it is the timing. It appears in a few spots right after her nap, typically around 3 pm. Random spots on her body. I put cortisone cream on and they go away. Then right before bed, around 6:30-7, it comes on strong, taking up whole swaths of her skin. That’s when I bring out the Benadryl.

It can’t be her crib. We have washed her bedding twice in detergent, once in just hot water. We put all her stuffed animals in the dryer. We are using the dye/perfume free kind–we have used it for years.

For the last 3 days we have eliminated dairy, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Plus, doesn’t a dairy allergy usually involve diarrhea? I’m now going to eliminate nuts/peanut butter.

Here is her basic menu from the past 6 days (don’t judge me on some of the things like pickles for breakfast. She asked!):

Wed, April 11th:

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with milk, partial granola bar

Lunch: macaroni and cheese, hot dog (no bun)

Dinner: ham, rice, pea soup, Lactaid instead of milk (now we’re doing straight rice or soy milk, as I learned Lactaid still has the milk protein)

6 pm: rash appeared (gave Benadryl)

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Thursday April 12th: (still waiting to hear from her school what she had for lunch that day)

Breakfast: Oats and Honey Cereal/Lactaid, cheese stick

1 pm–(pre-nap) rash appeared in a big way. It’s the picture I took above–and took it with me to the doctor to show him what it looked like. Gave her Benadryl, so it didn’t appear the rest of the day/night. I’m sure the antihistamine was still in her system at bedtime and kept it at bay. If it came during the night, I wouldn’t know.

Snack: Ella’s Squeeze (made up of sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apple, blueberry), Avocado, 2 cherry tomatoes

Dinner: chicken nuggets, black beans, pea/rice/ham soup, small piece of pepperoni pizza, chocolate chip cookie

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Friday April 13th:

Breakfast: cereal and milk, pretzels, shortbread vanilla cookie (not the most nutritious of breakfasts, I know).

Snack: apples, Swiss cheese, turkey

small rash @ 3:15 pm

Lunch: rice/pea/ham/spinach soup, smoothie (banana, yogurt, blueberries, OJ, milk), half sandwich on whole wheat bread with ham/turkey/lettuce/ranch dressing

4 pm rash appeared in a few spots

Early Dinner: half sandwich on whole wheat bread with ham/turkey/lettuce/ranch dressing

5:15 pm: spots began popping up. Gave Benadryl before they spread.

6:45 pm: bottle (8 oz of milk)
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Saturday, April 14th:

Breakfast: dill pickles (lord, she eats like she’s pregnant!), granola bar, flax seed waffle

Lunch: tortilla chips, rice and black beans, smoothie with a tiny bit of yogurt in it.

Dinner: chicken nuggets, avocado, an orange

At 6 pm, rash began. By 6:30 it spread on her arms, then legs then lower back. Gave Benadryl.

7 pm–bottle with rice milk (6 oz)

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Sunday April 15th:

Breakfast: peanut butter puffins & rice milk, eggs w/spinach and turkey, whole grain toast w/strawberry jelly

Lunch: half peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain, Ella’s purple squeeze

2:30–small cluster of rash on back and on wrist. Put on cream.

Post nap snack/early dinner:  rice/black beans/carrots, orange-banana squeeze, key lime soy yogurt (2 bites).

7 pm–cluster of rash all over shoulder blades. Gave Benadryl, put her to bed.

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Monday, April 16th:

Breakfast: apple/cinnamon organic oatmeal, Oaty Bites organic cereal w/ soymilk

Snack: blueberry-banana squeeze

Lunch: turkey, carrots, veggie chips

No rash yet. But she is napping. Any ideas anyone?

 

 

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Fia’s Mystery Rash

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Welts, red skin, itchy

Update: since writing this a few hours ago, I am now back from the doctor. He says it looks like a food allergy. We need to start a food log to try and track what it could be. Then, the next step is to take our list of foods and timing of the rash into an allergist and they’ll do some testing. 

Here is the original post:

Fia keeps developing this mystery rash. I’m totally worried. Benadryl makes it go away almost instantly. But then it comes back on different parts of her body. It’s been on her stomach, her neck, her back, and her legs so far.

No common thread with foods she’s eating, clothes she’s wearing, grass she touches, etc. We’ve been using the same laundry detergent for a year. It’s free of perfumes and all that jazz.

The rash is going on a week now, which is why I’m making the doctor see us (she has no fever, no other signs of illness. She does seem to itch a little bit though). It pops up first as one little welt/hive. It looks like a small mosquito bite. Then it begins to pop up on another nearby area and patches like this one above start to form. When I spoke to them over the weekend they said that kids can have viruses for weeks that appear in the form of rashes and as long as Benadryl makes them go away, just keep on dosing her with it. (Not a real satisfying answer).

I am taking her in an hour. However, does anyone out there have any advice? I find pediatricians to be vague on this stuff (ie: frustrating), but moms know what’s going on. I’d love to ask them about some specifics.

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