Using Over the Counter Cough and Cold Medications Using over the

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					Using over-the-counter cough and cold medicines
 What are over-the-counter cough and cold medicines?
   These are medicines that you can buy without a prescription. They are advertised to help coughing, sneezing and runny noses, but
   can cause side effects. Research in Canada and the United States found that these medicines do not do a good job of improving
   cold symptoms.

 Avoid giving cough and cold medicines to your child if:
   • Your child is 2 years of age or younger. Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States have recalled
     several products due to a risk of overdoses in children under 2. If your child is 2 or younger, give these medicines to your child
     only when your doctor tells you it’s OK.
   • Your child or teen has a long-term breathing problem (for example, asthma or cystic fibrosis). If your child catches a cold, use
     the treatments recommended by your child’s health care provider (for example: physiotherapy if your child has cystic fibrosis or
     muscular dystrophy, or reliever inhalers for asthma).
                                                                             Understanding cough and cold medicines
 If I do decide to give my child cough                                       Expectorants are supposed to make mucous in the nose
                                                                             and lungs more watery, and easier to cough up. Research
 and cold medicine, which should I use?                                      studies found that these medicines make people feel like
  The medicines listed below seem to be generally safe to use in children    the mucous is thinner, but these medicines really don’t
  with long-term breathing problems. They still may cause side effects in    make any difference at all.
  some children. We can’t say for sure that these medicines will be safe     Saline nose drops contain salt and water. They make
  for every child. Please read all medicine labels and packages carefully.   mucous in the nose thinner so it can be removed more
 Expectorants                                                                Decongestants shrink the lining of the nose and
   All the medicines below contain only one drug, called guanefesin.         breathing tubes and dry up mucous. This can be a problem
   • Benylin™ ,or Benylin E (includes Extra Strength)                        for children and adults with long-term breathing problems
   • Calmylin® or Calmylin Expectorant                                       like cystic fibrosis and asthma, because their mucous is
   • Robitussin® (includes Regular & Extra Strength)                         already quite thick and hard to cough up. These medicines
                                                                             can cause side effects like higher blood pressure and heart
 Saline Nose drops                                                           rate. Decongestant nose drops are better because they
   • Hydrasense® Nasal Care (saline nose drops)                              cause fewer side effects, and don’t dry up mucous in the
   • Salinex ® Spray, Nasal Drops, Mist                                      lungs.

  Remember!                                                                  Antihistamines help to dry up mucous in the nose.
                                                                             This can be a problem for children and adults with long-
     Medicines change and new cough and cold medicines often                 term breathing problems like cystic fibrosis and asthma,
     come onto the market. Check the ingredient list, and ask the            because their mucous is already quite thick and hard to
     pharmacist for help. Make sure you tell her if your child has a         cough up. If this mucous gets thicker, it gets stuck more
     breathing problem like asthma or cystic fibrosis.                       easily in breathing tubes. This leads to more breathing
                                                                             problems and increases the risk of pneumonia.
                                                                             Cough suppressants reduce the urge to cough. Children
              Want more info?                                                and adults with long-term breathing problems need to
                                                                             cough to get rid of the mucous in their breathing tubes. If
                In Ontario, for more advice, call                            they don’t get rid of this mucous, it can block breathing
                                                                             tubes, leading to pneumonia. Children and adults with
                Telehealth at:                                               long-term breathing problems should never take cough
                1-866-797-0000                                               suppressants.
                TTY: 1-866-797-0007

401 Smyth Road, Ottawa K1H 8L1                                                     613-737-7600 •
                                                                                                          Form # 5326 A Sept 2008

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