Friday, October 23, 2015

Children's Pain & Fever; How to Save the Day the Safe Way!




Choosing a medication for your little one is no small matter! Luckily, there are safe over-the-counter options.  With cold and flu season on the horizon, we’re here to provide a trustworthy guide for treating your little one’s pain and fever.

Let’s start with a medication that should NEVER be given to kids less than 14 years old. Aspirin, or any other medications containing aspirin, are not safe for kids. Aspirin increases the risk of Reye’s Syndrome, a rare disorder associated with brain and liver damage that can occur during viral illnesses such as colds or the flu. Reye’s Syndrome usually only happens in kids who are given aspirin during sickness. You can protect your child from Reye’s Syndrome by avoiding aspirin.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and Ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) are safe options to provide relief of pain and fever for kids. Acetaminophen is especially good for treating fevers, and ibuprofen is especially good for pain and inflammation.  It’s important to remember the following when using these medications for kids:
  • Although the dosing directions on the box are often based on age, it’s best to choose the dose based on your child’s WEIGHT. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for help determining the correct dose when needed.
  • Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are both dosed every 4-6 hours as needed.
  • Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used together if they are staggered. For example, you can give acetaminophen at 8:00AM and NOON and give Ibuprofen at 10:00AM and 2:00PM. As long as you wait at least 4 hours before giving the next dose of the SAME medication, you will be able to give your child something for pain relief every 2 hours.
  • Pay attention to the formulation. Infant’s Tylenol Drops and Children’s Tylenol Suspension are the exact same medication, whereas Infant’s Ibuprofen Drops are more concentrated than Children’s Ibuprofen Suspension. Read labels carefully to avoid dosing errors.  
  • Children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen are also available as chewable tablets. These work just as fast as the liquid formulations and may be a better option for older kids.
  • Always use either an oral syringe or medication dosing cup to give your child their medicine. Never use household spoons, as there is no way to ensure your child is getting the right dose.
At Topeka Pharmacy, we are always happy to answer your questions and help with over-the-counter medication selection. We have free resources available at our store to help you determine the correct medication dose for your child. Stop in and pick yours up today!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

FLU SHOT FACTS


Have you ever heard someone say that they got a flu shot and then got the flu and so they were not going to get any more flu shots?  This month we want to help explain why that is not possible and what the possible reasons are for people thinking they got the flu from a flu shot.
WHAT IS THE FLU SHOT?
Another name for the flu is influenza.  Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease spread mainly by coughing, sneezing and close contact. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against the most common three or four influenza viruses.  It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination and protection lasts through the flu season.  A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all children 6 months and older and all adults.
The flu shot contains inactivated flu virus.  There is no live virus in the shot and so it cannot cause the flu.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU?
Many people do not know that the flu shot only protects against influenza which is a potentially serious respiratory virus. The flu shot does not protect against the stomach flu, which is a completely different type of virus. 
The symptoms of influenza include:
  • Fever/chills
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose
Each year thousands of people in the US die from influenza or flu-related complications, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  Complications of the flu can be pneumonia, blood infections, and worsening of chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart failure.
WHY MIGHT PEOPLE THINK THE FLU SHOT GAVE THEM THE FLU?

  1. They have an immune reaction to the flu shot. Symptoms of this include: sore arm, slight fever and malaise (generally feeling bad) for 24 hours.  This is a reaction to the shot, it is not the flu.  See flu symptoms above. 
  2. They develop the stomach flu, including symptoms of nausea and vomiting or diarrhea.   This is not related at all to the flu shot, which does not protect against stomach flu.
  3. They develop influenza symptoms.  While very rare, the only explanation could be that the person already had been exposed to the influenza virus before they got the shot.  The flu shot contains inactivated virus and so cannot cause the flu to develop, and the flu shot takes 2 weeks to provide full immunity.