Dose of the right ad­vice

He­len O’Cal­laghan re­ports on a new cam­paign by the IPU

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Parenting -

YOUR one-year-old has a fever and is due a dose of medicine, but he’s asleep. Should you wake him? Your child is vom­it­ing, which is best: Calpol or Nuro­fen?

These kinds of med­i­cal co­nun­drums can be dif­fi­cult for par­ents try­ing to man­age their sick child’s symp­toms. For this rea­son, the Ir­ish Phar­macy Union (IPU) has launched a cam­paign urg­ing par­ents to seek ad­vice from phar­ma­cists about their child’s health and to avoid com­mon, po­ten­tially se­ri­ous medicine mis­takes.

A key re­spon­si­bil­ity for phar­ma­cists is en­sur­ing medicines are be­ing safely ad­min­is­tered, says IPU pres­i­dent Daragh Con­nolly. “When it comes to chil­dren and ba­bies this is even more im­por­tant, as guide­lines vary depend­ing on age and weight,” he says. “Most par­ents don’t know their child’s weight — yet there can be big vari­a­tions even be­tween chil­dren born on the same day.

Con­nolly says wellmean­ing par­ents, anx­ious to help a sick child, can make mis­takes in pro­vid­ing med­i­ca­tions. He cites com­mon er­rors such as: Wrong dose Medicine dose varies depend­ing on child’s age/weight. Even for com­mon med­i­ca­tions like parac­eta­mol or ibupro­fen, this can be con­fus­ing. Too lit­tle med­i­ca­tion can be in­ef­fec­tive, too much harm­ful. Your phar­ma­cist will ad­vise on cor­rect dosage for child. Wrong time Ac­ci­den­tally re­peat­ing a dose/pro­vid­ing med­i­ca­tions too close to­gether is com­mon. Par­ents should read med­i­ca­tion la­bel and record time of each dose. Wrong medicine Many par­ents of­fer medicine that’s in­ef­fec­tive for spe­cific ail­ments, such as parac­eta­mol or ibupro­fen for cough or blocked nose. “In ab­sence of pain or fever, this isn’t rec­om­mended — ask your phar­ma­cist to rec­om­mend more ef­fec­tive med­i­ca­tion,” says Con­nolly. Wrong place Not all ail­ments are best treated with oral med­i­ca­tion — eye drops/creams/nasal sprays may be more ef­fec­tive for spe­cific con­di­tions. It can be dif­fi­cult to as­sess ac­cu­rately — again, phar­ma­cist can help. “Par­ents can be re­luc­tant to use sup­pos­i­to­ries, yet they’re good if you don’t want to waken a small child to ad­min­is­ter medicine or if your child’s vom­it­ing,” says Con­nolly.

The IPU warns par­ents to never give chil­dren med­i­ca­tion in­tended for an adult, and “only pro­vide pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions to the in­tended re­cip­i­ent”.

Down­load IPU’s handy leaflet for par­ents on manag­ing most com­mon child­hood ail­ments, in­clud­ing ad­vice on medicine safety at ipu.ie

LIS­TEN UP: Dar­ragh O’Lough­lin, CEO of the Ir­ish Phar­macy Union, with Thomas Whe­lan and Han­nah Whe­lan.

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