Getting Kids to Take Medicine

7 Things Every Mom Must Know

  1. In general, medicine isn't absorbed as quickly when it's paired with solid food or milk, explains Tom McGinnis, a pharmacist and deputy associate commissioner for health affairs at the FDA. "But if this is the only way you can get your child to take the medicine, it's fine," says McGinnis. Some exceptions: penicillin G and erythromycin lose their potency when mixed with acidic foods like applesauce, orange juice, or soda.
  2. Check with your pharmacist to make sure it's okay to crush a tablet. Some medications may irritate the stomach if you destroy the protective coating, or they may fail to do the job they're meant to do.
  3. Make sure your child swallows -- and doesn't chew -- a tablet after it has been crushed. Chewing can interfere with a time-release feature; a nonchewable medicine may be especially bitter; and some of the medication could stick to your child's teeth, preventing him from getting the full dosage.
  4. Don't overdo it. If you mix the medicine with too much of a particular food or beverage, your child might have trouble getting it all down and therefore won't receive the full dosage.
  5. Don't freeze the medicine or warm it up to make it more palatable. Temperature changes may alter the efficacy of the medication.
  6. Don't call the medicine candy. Emphasize to your child that you are giving him medicine, not a treat. And store all medications out of sight and reach.
  7. If you can't convince your little one to cooperate, let your doctor know he isn't getting the prescribed medication.

Copyright © 1999 Ann Field. Reprinted with permission from the April 1999 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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