(NaturalNews) Despite years of warnings from the medical establishment about the dangers over-the-counter medications pose for young children, it is alarming to know that as many as 40 percent of parents are still giving their kids these harmful substances.
The latest University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health found that 40 percent of parents have given their young children (under the age of four years old) medicines they should not be giving. Among others, these parents reported administering cough medicine, as well as various multi-symptom cold and cough medicines to their kids.
In addition, the survey found that 25 percent of those parents also gave their children decongestants.
Parents have been forewarned
A news release from the University of Michigan Health System said kids can get as many as five to 10 colds a year, so it seems understandable that parents would try over-the-counter cough and cold remedies in order to mitigate the children's symptoms.
But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said clearly that such over-the-counter meds should not be given to babies and kids who are younger than two years of age. In fact, according to Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital poll, those medicines can have very serious side effects on children who are under four years of age.
In 2008, manufacturers of these over-the-counter medicines were advised by the FDA to change their labels, warning parents that they should not be given to young children. Davis says these medicines not only fail to shorten the duration of the illness but also that over-the-counter meds can often be labeled as "children's" medication, but the back of the box contains a small-print warning for parents.
He says that, among other side effects, the cough and cold remedies include allergic reactions, drowsiness or sleeplessness, nausea and constipation. Davis says parents should read the directions or consult their family doctor before giving their young children any over-the-counter medications for these common ailments.
"These products don't reduce the time the infection will lasts and misuse could lead to serious harm," Davis says. "What can be confusing, however, is that often these products are labeled prominently as 'children's' medications. The details are often on the back of the box, in small print. That's where parents and caregivers can find instructions that they should not be used in children under four years old."
"Products like these may work for adults, and parents think it could help their children as well. But what's good for adults is not always good for children. Because young children often suffer from cold-like symptoms, more research is needed to test the safety and efficacy of these cough and cold medicines in our littlest patients."
Try these natural remedies
Indeed, there are better, natural treatments for colds and coughs:
Garlic. It's not just for seasoning your food. Garlic is a strong immune system enhancer and strengthener, but it also is effective as an antibacterial and antiviral. One of the best ways to "administer" this herb is to drink fresh garlic tea. Add raw honey, a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Raw honey and lemon. Cough and cold got your throat sore? Try a combo of raw honey and lemon. This combination helps stop the "tickle" in your throat caused by drainage. The honey contains helpful enzymes and nutrients that kill bacteria and viruses; the lemon contains vitamin C and antioxidants to boost immune system function.
Chicken soup. Your mother was right; chicken soup really does soothe and treat common colds and coughs. Just remember to use all-organic ingredients.