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Tips for Giving Children Medication

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Parents and caregivers of young children sometimes lose patience when it comes to giving children medicines. There are so many on the market with terrible tastes and unpleasant administration routes that some children refuse to take them. All of this combined makes for harried parents and caregivers alike.

Make sure children understand the reasons they need to take medications. Some children may have fears about medication changing their personality or making them different. By explaining the type of medication and the part of the body or disease that it needs to affect, children are more likely to comply with doctorís orders by taking their medicines.

Here are some tips that should help with giving children medication. Keep in mind that not all tips are applicable to your personal situation. Find out from your childís doctor whether or not some medicines can be crushed or administered with food or juices. Your pharmacist can help with this too.

Liquid Medicines:

Liquid medication is the standard for many children until they are old enough to swallow pill form medication. In order to give the correct dosage, make sure youíre using either a measuring cup for liquid medicine or a dosing spoon or syringe from the pharmacy. For example, if you need to give 5 ml (1 tsp) of medicine, donít just pour it into a teaspoon from the kitchen drawer. Many of these spoons contain slightly more than one teaspoon and some contain less. You can request a dosage spoon or syringe from the pharmacist, usually without cost. Most childrenís over-the-counter medicines come with a small cup that measures medicine in several different units for parents and caregivers to use.

There are many liquid medications on the market today with unpleasant tastes. Luckily, pharmacists have worked hard to develop flavors to help mask the unpleasant tastes of some of these medicines. The good news is that most children like these flavors. The bad news is that not all flavors work well with medicines and once you mix a flavor with it (such as grape or banana), you canít ďundoĒ it. If the child still hates the taste of the medicine, they still need to take it despite its foul taste.

Many small babies need a little coaxing to swallow medication. Usually blowing a light puff of air in their face will cause them to blink and swallow reflexively. Sometimes chilling medication helps too. Check with your pharmacist before you do this since refrigeration can reduce the effectiveness of some medications. Finally, you can try mixing the medication with a small amount of liquid or food if it doesnít alter the medicationís effectiveness. Your pharmacist can tell you whether or not this is possible.


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