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Medicine Cabinet Essentials All Parents Should Have

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Time flies as your little one gets bigger. Every month is rife with possibilities… including the potential for new pains and illnesses. Whether your child is facing swimmer’s ear in the summer or a cold in the winter, a well-stocked medicine cabinet will help be prepared for whatever comes your kid’s way. Just remember to store medicine out of sight and reach of children, and when giving your kid medicine, be sure to dose medications based on their age and weight (Always read the directions printed on the medication’s label and when in doubt, ask your pediatrician). Here are the medicine cabinet essentials you need for every ailment.

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To treat pain:

Ibuprofen helps reduce fever and pain, and it comes in several forms, including concentrated drops for infants, liquid syrup for toddlers, and chewable tablets for older children. Similar to ibuprofen, acetaminophen helps with pain, fever, and aches, including headaches and toothaches.

Acetaminophen is often used to help ease teething pain, although you should check with your doctor first before giving it to your kid. It’s also important not to accidentally double dose acetaminophen, which appears in many medications, so read those labels carefully. Finally, keep aspirin away from children, as it can lead to Reye syndrome, a rare but serious condition that harms the liver and brain.

To treat itching and irritation:

Petroleum jelly and zinc oxide ointment may help with diaper rash, acting as a protective barrier between the skin and the diaper. Ointments have high oil content, making them very effective at locking in moisture; in addition to soothing rashes, they may also be used to help with eczema and dry, itchy skin. Look for a fragrance free ointment to prevent irritation. If your little one’s itching is the result of allergies, keep antihistamines in your medicine cabinet. Antihistamines can treat allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and hives and might also help with itchiness due to chickenpox and bug bites.

To treat cough and cold:

While there’s no cure for the common cold, medication like Children’s Robitussin helps relieve cough, stuffy nose, and chest congestion for kids over the age of four. (Just be sure to check with your kid’s pediatrician first!) Another option for nasal congestion is nasal drops, which help reduce swelling in the sinus area to make it easier to breathe. And keep a thermometer on hand to monitor your child’s temperature; Digital rectal thermometers are the most reliable for babies and toddlers, but ear and armpit thermometers may work after 6 months of age.

To treat infections:

Prevent infections from taking hold when your little one gets scrapes and cuts with antibiotic ointment. Applying antibiotic ointment keeps the area clean and moist, which helps the wound heal. Bandages are also a medicine cabinet essential, too because they can help prevent wounds from getting dirty. If your child is prone to ear infections, keep ear drops on hand. Swimmer’s ear, a bacterial infection, is especially common among children, but ear drops can help restore the natural, healthy environment in your child’s ears.