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Over-the-Counter Medicine continued...

And no matter your child’s age, you should call if your child is not acting normally, has a fever that lasts more than three days, or has a fever that continues to rise.

For body aches, doctors generally recommend OTC acetaminophen, ibuprofen  or naproxen sodium. Children should not take aspirin when they have a fever because it’s been associated with Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal illness that affects children and teens. To avoid stomach upset when taking ibuprofen, take it with food.

OTC cough medicines are not recommended for children under the age of 4 as there are no proven benefit in kids. Homemade cough remedies containing honey have been shown to help. After age 1 year only, you can use  ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey as needed. It can thin the bronchial secretions and loosen the cough. 

Multi-symptom over-the counter flu medicines, which contain more than one medication, can help relieve several symptoms. However, if you have only one or two symptoms, you may not need a medication that combines an antihistamine, cough suppressant, decongestant, fever reducer, and pain reliever. Try to target your medicine choice to your symptoms. This can also help avoid unpleasant side effects.

Prescription Medicine

There are two prescription antiviral medications that are recommended by the CDC this season which may prevent the flu and ease the severity of flu symptoms. Studies show that these medications can shorten the course of illness if taken within the first 48 hours of having symptoms. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is an oral medication, and zanamivir (Relenza) is inhaled. Your doctor may be more likely to prescribe one of them if your symptoms are severe or if you fall into certain risk groups. This includes children under age 5; adults age 65 or older; people with asthma, diabetes, and some other chronic medical conditions; women who are pregnant or within 2 weeks of delivery; nursing home residents; American Indians/Alaska Natives; people who are etremely obese; and people with weakened immune systems.

Herbal Remedies

The homeopathic mixture oscillococcinum is very popular in Europe, where it originated, and has gained increasing popularity in the U.S. Studies have shown that oscillococcinum may reduce the duration of the flu and the severity of some symptoms, but there is no evidence that it prevents the flu.

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