Medicine in Children – What Should Parents Do?

Children should be treated promptly with the appropriate medicine. Medication for the treatment of a severe asthma condition in a young child is usually carried out by a physician, under his care. But this responsibility is often assumed by the pharmacist, who may not have sufficient knowledge to recommend the proper medication and dosage. Often the pharmacist will fail to give the medicine and, if it is accidentally over given, this may result in the unnecessary development of sepsis. In this situation, a pharmacist may be held legally responsible.

The most common childhood diseases are acute hepatitis, tuberculosis, pertussis, otitis externa, eczema, falls and injuries. Almost all these conditions require immediate medical attention. And the most important thing is that the doctor must determine the right amount of medication needed. For example, in acute hepatitis, the doctor may need to administer a higher dose of Vitamin A than usual, to balance the body’s acidity. If this level is not balanced, the patient may experience liver failure, kidney damage or death.

The problem of giving the right amount of medicine in children is further complicated by other factors such as the child’s age, physical development and family background. Young kids cannot fully comprehend the implications of a medicine and can simply refuse to take it. This leads to a prolonged series of related symptoms, ranging from mild ones such as vomiting, nausea, sleeplessness, or changes in appetite to more serious ones like seizures, respiratory failure, electrolyte imbalance and brain damage. It is therefore important that the pharmacist knows the exact formulation of the medicine in children and the right dose for the child’s age. A family doctor or a nurse who is also experienced in treating children should be consulted for further advice.

There are several methods of dispensing medicines for young patients which include tablets, capsules, oral intake of tablets and liquid intake of medicines. Generally, medicines in liquids are easier to administer since the child can swallow tablets according to the requirement without having to worry about the strength of the tablet. However, it is recommended that a pharmacist ensures the correct dosing of medicines in children by measuring the exact weight of each tablet.

Another important reminder for a pediatrician or a family doctor is never to give medicine to a small child or baby under the age of two years without the expressed approval of a qualified and competent physician. Children as young as two are unable to make a decision and their resistance to medication can be gauged by their reaction to a drug. Similarly, doctors should never force a child to take medicines if they are not completely prepared to do so. The pharmacist can be of great help here and the doctor can explain the precautions involved.

Over-the-counter medicines should never be given to very small children. Same is the case with medicines containing alcoholic content. The age of the recipient is also a determining factor on the dosage. The ideal time to begin the medicine intake process is before the child is past the age of six months. Most importantly, always consult a doctor before administering medicine in children.

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