Administering medication, or meds for short, to a child is sometimes the biggest battle in fighting the war against common childhood illnesses. To begin with, most young children have not developed control of their gag reflexes enough to swallow a tablet or capsule and must be given medicine in liquid suspension form or rapid dissolving tablets. This means the medication can be tasted, hence the resistance most kids put forth. Regardless of the fight your child may give you, it is important to understand prescription meds and their role in the treatment of common childhood illnesses.
The most commonly prescribed medication for children is the oral antibiotic. These prescription meds are used to treat a variety of infections from ear to upper respiratory to sinus. They come in both tablet and suspension form but are filled most often as a liquid for young children. There are four classes of oral antibiotics with penicillin being the most commonly used. For those who have shown an allergy to penicillin, there are also cephalosporins, which are closely related to penicillin and can produce the same reaction as penicillin in a small percentage of kids. Then there are sulfa antibiotics, which are commonly used to treat urinary tract infections and finally, macrolide antibiotics, such as Zithromax.
Each one has proven effective at treating infection, but without the proper dosage and consumption, may not be at all effective at treating your child’s illness. There are several things you can do to make these prescription meds go down just a little easier.
Most antibiotics can be mixed in with a small amount of liquid. While parents do not often favor the offering of sodas to their children, carbonated beverages can often disguise the medicine better than plain juices or sugary drinks like Kool-Aid. If this tactic fails, try blending the dosage into a bite of plain yogurt, ice cream, or applesauce. Remember not to use too much of a good thing. If you mix their dose in a six ounce glass of pop or an entire pudding cup, they will need to consume all of it to get their full dose of meds. Use only the bear minimum and try to keep it to one gulp or one bite.
Another option for disguising the bad taste of liquid prescription meds is to ask the pharmacist to flavor it. Believe it or not many pharmacies now offer a full menu of flavor additives from bubble gum to orange, cherry, and grape. It may not turn your child’s prescription into candy in a spoon, but it does help improve the taste to some kids, making the task of taking a complete dose easier and thus more productive.
As difficult as it may seem at times to fight with an already sick child over taking their medicine, remember that if they don’t take the full dose exactly as prescribed there is less chance the medication will take care of the problem. A relapse can then easily occur, making it necessary to go through another round of medication. Make sure to always follow the directions for measuring and storage of liquid medication and to follow the dosage exactly as prescribed by your child’s physician.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.