Over-the-Counter Medications and Keiki
By Jon Mikami, RPh, and Kelly Go, RPh, Molokai Drugs, Inc.
Giving drugstore medications to your keiki is no big deal, right? Well, it shouldn’t be, as long as you use them the right way. But just because a medication is sold over the counter doesn’t mean it comes with a risk-free guarantee.
If your child has ever had a bad reaction to an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, stop giving the medication right away. Tell the doctor and pharmacy staff about it. Keep a record of its name, dosage directions, the illness it was used for, and the side effects it caused.
To lower your child’s risk, remember to keep all medications out of reach of children. Also, make sure you’re using the right product for your child’s symptoms. We can advise you. Describe symptoms to your child’s doctor or our pharmacy staff. Also, tell us your child’s age, weight, medical conditions, and any medications your child is taking now or has in the past.
Here are some general guidelines that may also help.
• Don’t give your child any medications that are intended for infants or adults.
• Only use products that treat the symptoms your child has.
• Don’t ever give OTC medicine to children to make them sleepy.
• Give acetaminophen for pain relief.
• Avoid ibuprofen if your child is younger than six months old.
• Do not give decongestants, cough medicines, and cold medicines if your child is younger than age four. These medicines have caused serious side effects — even death — in this age group.
• Don’t give aspirin to children under age 18. Children and teens are at risk for a reaction to aspirin that can cause permanent brain injury.
Getting the right dose is very important. Read labels and follow directions closely. Compare medications if you’re giving your child more than one and be careful not to double dose on ingredients. Did you know that an overdose of acetaminophen could lead to permanent liver damage?
• Always use your child’s weight, not age, to determine dosage. We have an electronic scale at Molokai Drugs (back of the pharmacy) that anyone can use.
• Use the measuring device that came with the product, instead of kitchen spoons.
• If you’re using a measuring cup, put it on a flat surface, then pour.
• Bring us your measuring devices and we can show you the difference between a mL and a teaspoon.
• Remember: more is not better — be precise with measurements.
If you have a hard time keeping track of how much medication you’ve given your child, try keeping a simple log or write it on a calendar. In general, “every six hours” means that you give the medicine to your child four times a day.
If you have questions on any OTC medicine, call us at 553-5790 or visit the pharmacy from 8:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you cannot find a specific OTC, ask any of our staff if we have it in stock. As always, mahalo nui loa for your aloha and support of our business since 1935.