Choosing an over-the-counter allergy medicine for a child sounds easy enough.
But a new survey finds that the wide range of allergy medications, along with dosing and labeling differences, can make it a challenge to select the right medicine for kids.
"Parents often face an overwhelming selection of allergy medicine without clear guidelines on how to choose the right one for their child," said IHPI member and pediatrician Dr. Gary Freed. "If parents are unsure how to navigate allergy medication choices, they should always check with their child's health-care provider."
More than half of the parents had given allergy medicines to their children in the past year, the survey found. Of those, 85 percent used medications they already had in the house, and 18 percent of them did not check the expiration date.
Adult medicines often contain the same ingredients as those for children but do not always have dosing instructions for youngsters, the researchers pointed out.
"If taken as directed, over-the-counter allergy medicines are safe and effective for children, but parents should be very careful to give their child the correct dose. Doses greater than recommended for children can result in more severe side effects," Freed explained.