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Tips to Help You Give Your Child Medicine continued...

Choose the right drug. Pediatricians recommend children's versions of  acetaminophen or ibuprofen for   fevers and aches.

You can give acetaminophen to children 2 years and older. For kids under 2, ask a doctor for the correct dose. Children 6 months or older can take ibuprofen.

Never give a child  aspirin, because it raises his risk of a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.

Don't mix  medications. Switching between acetaminophen and ibuprofen raises the risk of accidentally giving your child too much medicine. Unless your pediatrician tells you it's OK, stick with one drug, and follow the directions carefully.

Give the right amount. Only buy medications that are specially made for kids in your child's age group. Measure the dose carefully in a well-lit room. Use the dosing device included with the medicine instead of a kitchen spoon. Never give your child an adult drug.

Make a note on a piece of paper each time you give a dose. That way you can keep track of when your child last got medicine -- and you won't accidentally give too much or an extra dose.

Avoid cold and  flu remedies in young kids. You shouldn't give them to kids under age 4. In older kids, it’s unclear how well they work. If you decide to use cold medicine, read the label and pick the medicine that most closely matches your child's symptoms.

Don't beg your doctor for  antibiotics. The flu is caused by a virus.  Antibiotics only work for infections that are brought on by bacteria.

Tips to Help Comfort Your Sick Child

Ever notice how children like to put bandages on the tiniest scrape or cut? That's because they make them feel better, even if they don't need one.

Use the same idea when your children feel crummy with the flu. You could:

  • Set aside a special cup to use only when your child is sick.
  • Make sure his favorite stuffed animal or blanket is with him on the couch.
  • Bring down a toy doctor's kit so he can give his stuffed animal a check-up.
  • Have a stash of special foods -- like Popsicles -- on hand for times when he gets sick.
  • Reserve a few special toys or puzzles in the closet for sick days.