July 10, 2008

15 Essentials What Should Parents Stock in Their Medicine Cabinets?

By Pediatrician and Courier & Press columnist Dr. Betsy Neahring provides these suggestions.

1. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a must-have item for fever. Ask your doctor for the correct dosage for your child at his next checkup so you don't have to call in the middle of the night.

2. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) is another alternative for fever control. It has anti-inflammatory properties that also make it a good choice for treating muscle aches and pains.

3. Hydrocortisone cream can be used to soothe many types of skin problems from sunburn and bug bites to eczema and poison ivy.

4. Antibiotic ointments are essential for skinned knees and other minor scrapes and are available in over-the-counter or prescription forms.

5. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is important to have on hand to treat allergic reactions. It can decrease swelling and itching from bug bites and other skin rashes.

6. Pedialyte or Gatorade is nice to have on the shelf when the stomach bug strikes to prevent a vomiting child from becoming dehydrated.

7. A pair of quality tweezers can be used to remove ticks and splinters.

8.A digital thermometer is the most accurate way to track your child's temperature, although a mother can usually diagnose a child's fever just by touch.

9. Bandages, because every parent knows that the proper bandage, correctly and lovingly placed, will usually reduce boo-boo pain by at least 50 percent. Be sure to stock a variety of shapes and sizes. (Glitter is optional.)

10. Sunscreen, because winter can turn into summer almost overnight. Keep it on hand for outdoor fun.

11. Alcohol wipes, or a bottle of rubbing alcohol and cotton balls, will clean and disinfect equipment such as tweezers and thermometers. As a bonus, rubbing alcohol also is excellent at removing permanent marker from many surfaces.

12.Cough medicine is a must for an irritating cough that can keep the whole family from getting any sleep. Ask your doctor to recommend one appropriate for your child.

13.A medicine syringe may not work as well as Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar, but it can definitely help the medicine go down. Ask your pharmacist for one with your next prescription.

14. A cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer can help children breathe more easily when they have a respiratory infection.

15. A squeeze bottle of sterile contact solution makes a quick and convenient eyewash to flush irritants from your child's eyes in an emergency. 2 things to avoid

n Don't give baby aspirin to children younger than age 16. It has been associated with Reye's syndrome, a rare but serious illness that can lead to liver damage and neurologic problems.

n Don't use mercury thermometers. A broken thermometer can release toxins that are dangerous to children.

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