Even though product labels on most packages of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines state, "Do not use in children under 4 years of age," I generally recommend that parents not give cough medicine to children of any age. As a pediatrician, my main concern is the potential for rare but serious neurologic side effects involving the central nervous system, including confusion, irritability, and nervousness. The good news is that there are several safe, supportive measures parents can try to help alleviate their child's cough.
Coughing is our body's way of clearing the airway of mucus and other irritating substances, and it is important to first determine the cause of the child's cough. Most of the time, it's a virus or upper respiratory tract infection, in which case my colleagues and I at the Kravis Children's Hospital ...
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