Q I have read that cold medicines for children continue to be sold even though they have not been thoroughly tested. Sadly, some businesses are quick to put out OTC medications just to turn a profit (and a rather large one at that). After all, if it promises a miracle, what parent of a sick child wouldn’t spend money for it?

Unfortunately I work in a business that uses that trick time and again. I definitely don't like the lack of standards for children’s OTC cold products.

A. For years, millions of young children have been dosed with ineffective and potentially harmful cough and cold remedies. Pediatricians have been lobbying the FDA to crack down on the manufacturers of these medications. Under this pressure, the companies recently agreed not to market these products for children under four.

We’re not confident that older children will benefit either. In lieu of drugstore nostrums, home remedies may offer a safer approach. Some pediatricians are now suggesting chicken soup for colds or honey and lemon for coughs. For an interesting discussion of natural ways to boost the immune system for fighting off colds, you may want to listen to a podcast of our radio show #664 with Tieraona Low Dog, MD, at www.peoplespharmacy.com.

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  1. Kima B.

    My doctor told me years ago not to waste my money buying over-the-counter cough remedies for myself but to get a script from him. I gather this is not possible for a child. Actually what brought me here was to search for a cough remedy to help sooth a friend’s current problem.

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