I worked for a pharmaceutical company during early part of my career and did my share of sales, training, brand management and mismanagement. Soon I acquired the cult status amongst my friends and they would ask me for medicine for everything from their sore throat to the pain in the knees of their aunt.
I was very happy to recommend them medicines made by my employer in most cases and even of other companies when my company did not make it. All this changed when as part of a training program we were taken through ethics and responsibilities of an employee of a pharmaceutical company.
Though I did not evolve from Siddhartha to Buddha but I did stopped recommending medicines to people. What I am mentioning in this post further needs to be taken seriously though it is not coming from a Doctor. Also please note that I no longer work for pharmaceutical company so I have no vested interest now.
With the advent of internet almost anything one can research on the internet. We Indians were and are always very keen for self medications. But this is a very dangerous trend more so if you are trying to do the same with your kids. While my aim is not to make you worry unnecessarily, it is also important that one does not indulge in self medication for kids.
Let me dispel some myths about common things in self medication
1. A fever is a fever: No not correct, it could be malaria, dengue, viral, or simply a symptom of something else and giving a fever tablet for fever is not correct. If the fever is above 100 for a kid, please visit a doctor and don’t do self medication.
2. A cough is a cough: No not correct at all. It could be dry cough, it could be productive with sputum, it could be allergic, and it could be exercise induced. Please don’t give the cough syrup you have in home for it could be expired and for a totally different kind of cough and can lead to further complications. If the cough persists for more than 2 days you must consult a doctor.
3. Don’t break the tablet: “Doctor said give him 250 mg of tablet I have 500 mg so I will just break it and give to kid”. Please don’t do that, as a lot of higher dose tablets are slow release and will not be effective at all if broken or crushed. Also not just the dose but also the basic compound for medicines for kids could be different even if the brand name is same for kids and adults. So please don’t do the same unless you have checked with the doctor and she has said OK.
4. It is the same disease as last time: Please refer point no 1 and 2, though the symptoms may look same to you it could be a totally different ailment. Even if it is the same ailment, the doctor may want to give a different medicine to check what suits best to your kid. So please do not give the medicine that was given by doctor last time. Same applies for medicine given to one sibling. It need not be what is needed by the other even if they fall sick at same time.
5. Old Home remedies : A lot of old home remedies are not accepted by modern medicine and there is high probability your parents or grandparents may insist you to follow them e.g. Kajal in eyes, oil in ears etc. they are best avoided and use your doctor to say no to what is not accepted by modern medicine today. You may have unhappy in-laws or parents but you will have smiling kids.
6. Tonics and Vitamins: A lot of young parents are very bullish on giving tonics and vitamins to the kids, thinking what harm they can bring and they will soon have Usain Bolt in family. This is a big mistake as all vitamins and minerals given in more dose than needed will actually harm the baby and some of the damage done could be irreversible. If you are giving a healthy balanced diet to your baby/kid there is no need for any supplement unless specifically prescribed by a doctor.
7. Delaying in Vaccination: A lot of vaccinations today are available for various communicable diseases, but a lot of parents due to either being busy or just thinking that the kid is OK delay the vaccines. Their logic is why to go now and make the kid cry. This is not a good thing at all for all vaccines are best given at the appropriate age as defined by World Health Organization, a UN body. If you delay the same the child might get infected in the mean time as the child is susceptible to certain disease at a certain age. So please do not delay the vaccination of your baby and make sure you get her the shots as per the recommended chart that you would have received on the first visit to the doctor.
I hope I have not scared you as that is not the intention at all, but with information or should I say misinformation available almost everywhere it is important that we do not try to do self medication in kids and consult a doctor before things get serious.
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess (11 yrs in Feb 13) and Pinkette (4 yrs next month). He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and an investor in startups with unique concepts. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.