Cold medicine for infants

[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]Children often have mucus and coughs. There is no need to use syrups and medicines, just a few tips for relieving them.

Colds heal themselves. Currently we do not have any treatment that prevents, cures or shortens the duration of the common cold or cold.

What are the effects of medicines to treat colds?

The medicines used to treat colds try to relieve symptoms as much as possible: fever, mucus, nasal congestion and cough. However, some anti-catarrhal medications have been shown to cause adverse effects in young children, such as increased heart rate, numbness, seizures, and even death in children under the age of two.

As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement in 2008 (link is external) warning of possible serious effects of using cold medicines in children, especially those under the age of two.

Therefore, the FDA recommends that anti-catarrhal and antitussive medications not be used in children under the age of 4, especially those under the age of 2. In Canada (link is external) the recommendation is not to use them under the age of 6.

France (link is external) banned mucolytic syrups in children under 2 years of age in 2010 because adverse effects had been reported using them at that age. Finally, the Spanish Medicines and Health Products Agency banned the use of cough suppositories containing terpene derivatives for children under 30 months in 2011 because of their relationship to an increased risk of seizures.

[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]As a summary, we can say that the beneficial effect of these medicines is doubtful and that there is a real risk of causing adverse effects in young children.

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What treatments can we use on children under the age of 2?

Treatment is not always necessary. Many times children with a cold and nasal congestion or cough are fine, play and live a normal life.

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  • If children have a fever and discomfort we can use antipyretics for a few days (acetaminophen or ibuprofen). Remember that the fever is beneficial, it is only advisable to lower it, using antipyretics, if the child is upset.
  • When the nose is blocked by mucus, washing the nose with physiological serum will help you breathe better. It can be repeated whenever necessary: at bedtime, when getting up, before eating or breastfeeding.
  • It is advisable to keep him well hydrated. Offer him liquids that are suitable for his age (water, broths, juices…).
  • If the home environment is very dry, a humidifier can be used for a short period of time. Humidifying the air helps to keep the mucus from thickening and helps to lubricate the track area. However, it can be harmful to some children who have bronchitis or asthma.


If medications are used to treat colds in people older than 2 years, their parents should:

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  • Know that these medications relieve symptoms, but do not cure or shorten the duration of colds.
  • Know the composition of the product and the effects it may have.
  • Avoid combining two or more anti-inflammatory preparations, as they may increase unwanted effects.
  • Follow the recommended doses for each product.
  • Preferably use medicines with a safety cap. Use the spoons provided with each product.
  • Do not use them as sedatives or to help children sleep.
  • Ask health professionals, doctors or pharmacists if you have any doubt about the use of cough or cold medicines in children over 2 years old.
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[box type=”success” align=”” class=”” width=””]And remember that colds last between 7-10 days, during which the child may be more tired and have less appetite. In that case, it’s a good idea to decrease activity. If he does not have an appetite, he should not be forced to eat. You may be offered liquids and the foods you crave the most.