3 Tips From a Pharmacist’s Wife

As Ned Stark would say, “Winter is coming,” which means cough, cold, and stomach bug season is upon us parents. We all do the best we can to protect our kids from the worst of the germs, but despite all the hand scrubbing and avoiding shared food and drinks, your kids will get sick. As a pharmacist’s wife, I have learned a few useful tips and want to share the knowledge. 

Infant Tylenol versus children’s Tylenol

Your baby gets a fever and you need Tylenol (acetaminophen). But beware. Infant Tylenol in the tiny bottle is a complete ripoff. Infant Tylenol has 160 mg per 5 ml of acetaminophen. Children’s Tylenol is the exact same concentration. However, children’s Tylenol costs significantly less. Retailers know parents will shell out the extra cash for anything labeled safe for infants. If you know your child’s appropriate dose by weight, you are safe to give them the children’s Tylenol. For accurate dosing, you should be using an oral syringe, which many pharmacies will give you for free.

As you can see in the picture below, both products are 160 mg per 5 ml of acetaminophen. The children’s Tylenol is a four-ounce bottle, the Infant Tylenol is only two-ounce bottle. The children’s product is double the amount of medicine for less than the price of the infant product.

Liquid or tablet?

My son and daughter will not tolerate any liquid medication that is a solution. Solutions tend to be bitter, and they make my kids gag. For example, when they need an allergy medication like Claritin (loratidne), we let them chew the tiny tablet with a few chocolate chips. But not all medications can be chewed. Always check with your local pharmacist or doctor to see what your options are. Never chew any medication that is extended release or delayed release. The other upside to choosing tablets over liquid, when available, is cost savings. Liquid versions of medications are typically more expensive than their tablet counterparts.

Allergic reactions to antibiotics — they may surprise you

Allergic reactions to antibiotics like amoxicillin may not happen immediately after taking medication. In fact, your child may not have a reaction until a second therapy of the antibiotic. For example, my 1-year-old son had an ear infection and was prescribed amoxicillin for 10 days. He had no reaction, and his ear infection cleared up. A month later he had another ear infection and was prescribed another 10 days of amoxicillin. He vomited and became completely lethargic within an hour. He also broke out with a rash all over his body. He was reacting to the amoxicillin and is now considered to be allergic to any medication in the “cillin” family. My husband and I knew immediately that our baby was reacting to the antibiotic because of my husband’s education and experience as a pharmacist. My son recovered after about 24 hours and was his chipper self. His rash, however, lasted about a week.

Always be honest with your pharmacist about other medications you may be taking, and always try to stick to one pharmacy. Did you know the effectiveness of oral birth control may be decreased while taking certain antibiotics? Inform your pharmacist about medications you take regularly or may be filling by mail order, as there could be drug interactions. You should always feel comfortable talking to your pharmacist about your medications. (However, they do not want to talk to you about your insurance plan.) Pharmacists are knowledgeable and professional, and they truly want to help. Especially when it comes to your kids.

 

Leah is a Massachusetts native who grew up in the MetroWest area. She met her husband in 2006 and they bonded over all things Boston. After moving to North Carolina for 4 years, they realized they had to move back to New England. (love that dirty water!) In 2011 they welcomed a son into their family. Then 2014, 1 week before having their daughter, their son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The last but not least little guy came in 2017. With three kids and special needs in their life, they rely on an amazing support system of friends and family. Leah is a stay at home mom, who is also growing a small business, and enjoying the independence and freedom it has given her. Loves: Great food (mostly made by her talented husband), playing with the kids, the beach, date nights, The Pats, The Sox, The B’s, new socks and bras, and American history, and movies. Can’t stand: Cotton balls, weeds, broken crayons, pollen, and vacuuming up Cheerios every half hour.