Medicines for children: which ones to administer and when

There are few medicines that are normally used in pediatrics and each of these should always be administered after consulting the pediatrician. This applies in general, but not for paracetamol, the first choice antifebrile for little ones, which all parents should learn to administer correctly on previous instructions from the pediatrician. Here are the medicines that you are likely to have to use in the first year of life.

  • antibiotics: are to be administered only in case of bacterial infection. They must be strictly prescribed by the pediatrician, who is responsible for evaluating the advisability of administering them. They are very well tolerated by children but should not be abused to avoid the problem of resistance, in the presence of which they are no longer able to carry out their therapeutic action.

  • antifebrili (paracetamol and ibuprofen). They are the drugs used to lower fever. Paracetamol is the first choice in the first months of life, but many pediatricians also recommend it afterwards (in this regard, see also the paragraph dedicated to fever, in the 10th month chapter).

  • broncodilatatori e idrocortisone in cream: the former are used in the event of an asthma crisis. They are also indicated in all other cases of bronchial hyperactivity, that is, difficulty in breathing due to an abnormal narrowing of the bronchi. The second should be applied to the lesions that characterize the most severe forms of dermatitis.

It can happen that you accidentally administer an expired drug. Contrary to popular belief, no medicine becomes toxic after expiration. The danger is only linked to the possibility that its therapeutic effect is no longer guaranteed. In fact, the effectiveness of a drug tends to decrease as the time following expiration passes.

But beware: a medicine that has expired for three days almost certainly performs its action adequately, while it is possible that a drug that has expired for years no longer has any power. In principle, a drug that has expired less than seven months can still have a satisfactory curative effect, provided that it was only opened at the time of intake. In fact, expired medicines that have already been opened lose their effectiveness more quickly. The possible appearance of stomach ache and / or vomiting after taking an expired drug orally may instead depend on the fermentation of the excipients, which are the substances that improve the taste and absorption of medicines. This can happen especially if there are sugary substances among the excipients. The symptoms are however destined to disappear in a short time, without consequences.

(consultancy by Leo Venturelli, family pediatrician, author of numerous publications on outpatient pediatrics and co-author of popular books for parents including A child is born, The great encyclopedia of the child, From 0 to 6 years, a guide for the family )

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