struggle with choosing allergy medicine for their children
Medicine – University of Michigan
Dosing, labeling and a
seemingly endless range of allergy medication options can make picking the
right medicine a complicated task for some parents. More than half of parents
say seasonal allergies affect their kids, with some unsure how to choose the
right medicine and 1 in 7 giving allergy medicine labeled for adults.
Who parents say they receive allergy advice from.
Credit: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s
Tulips, songbirds and itchy little eyes — all are sure signs of
As allergy season kicks into high gear, many parents are likely
searching for over-the-counter medications to help relieve children of symptoms
like sneezing, coughing and congestion.
But dosing, labeling and a seemingly endless range of allergy
medication options can make picking the right medicine a complicated task for
some parents, suggests today’s report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan.
“Parents often face an overwhelming selection of allergy
medicine without clear guidelines on how to choose the right one for their
child,” says poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Gary Freed, M.D.,
“Some parents may be picking allergy medication based on
their interpretation of different advice they’ve heard, which may not always be
The Mott poll report is based on responses from a national
sample of 1,066 parents of children ages 6-12 who were asked about experiences
with giving children over-the-counter allergy medicines. Over half had given
allergy medicine to their school-aged child in the past year.
The majority of parents (85 percent) who gave children allergy
medicine used medication they already had in the house, with one in five (18
percent) not checking the expiration date first.
“While outdated medicines are unlikely to be dangerous,
they may have lost some of their effectiveness,” Freed says.
Most parents used allergy medicines labeled for children, but
one in seven (15 percent) have given their child over-the-counter allergy
medicine labeled for adults. A third of those using adult medications gave
their child the dose recommended for adults while two-thirds gave a partial
Adult medicines often contain the same ingredients as those
packaged specifically for kids but do not always have pediatric dosing
“If taken as directed, over-the-counter allergy medicines
are safe and effective for children, but parents should be very careful to give
their child the correct dose. Doses greater than recommended for children can
result in more severe side effects,” Freed says.
Freed advises parents to read the ingredients on the box to help
them shop for the best priced option that fits their child’s needs. A good rule
of thumb is to match a child’s symptoms to the medicine included in the
product. For example, antihistamines can help with runny nose and itchy eyes
while decongestants help with a stuffy nose.
Doctors are parents’ top source for advice about allergy
medicine (61 percent) but almost a third of parents (32 percent) say they turn
to a friend or family member and 38 percent ask a pharmacist. Overall, 21
percent of parents report that it is hard to figure out the right dose of
allergy medicine for their child.
“If parents are unsure how to navigate allergy medication
choices, they should always check with their child’s health care
provider,” Freed says.
Find more information at: http://mottnpch.org/reports-surveys/allergy-medicine-kids-dosing-and-labeling-can-be-complicated
Materials provided by Michigan Medicine – University of
Michigan. Note: Content may be edited for style and
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Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan. “Parents
struggle with choosing allergy medicine for their children.” ScienceDaily.
ScienceDaily, 17 April 2017.