Doctors warn of cold, flu medicine overdoses in children


(NewsNation) — Health officials are urging parents not to give their kids adult-strength pain and cold medicine, after a number of overdoses have been reported in at least one state.

Doctors say the concentrations and dosages needed can vary based on the brand of medicine, and size of the child.

Many parents have been unable to find medicine for children on store’s shelves as they deal with increased transmission of COVID-19, the cold/flu and Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. But now, experts from Arizona’s poison centers say they’ve seen an increase in calls because kids are being given too much medicine meant for adults, according to 3TV/CBS 5.

Dr. Daniel Brooks, the medical director for Banner Poison and Drug Information Center and the Outpatient Toxicology Clinical in Phoenix, says over the last two months or so they’ve noticed a significant increase in calls to their poison center about children, suffering from virus-like illnesses, using adult over-the-counter medications.

“These medications and products can vary greatly, andd it’s very, very easy to give the wrong dose to a child,” Brooks said. “When we extrapolate our numbers from our poison center to the 55 Poison Centers across the country, we realize that this is a public health issue.”

The most common symptom of a cold or flu medicine overdose is nausea and vomiting, as well as an altered mental state, because some of these medications are considered depressants, which help people sleep at night, Brooks said.

Very large doses or repeated large doses can lead to significant organ dysfunction, especially in the liver with Acetaminophen, or the kidneys, with Ibuprofen, he warned.

“We really want to encourage parents to use medications as directed and when they have questions, to call their poison center,” Brooks said.

The posion control center can assist people with helping their kids at home, or if needed triage them to the appropriate care.

“It’s really really important for people to stay out of the emergency departments because we’re swamped,” Brooks said. “Please use medications as directed, get vaccinated, use masks and when you’re sick, please stay at home.”

You can contact Poison Control by calling 1-800-222-1222.

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