How many times have you run out late at night to buy some sort of over-the-counter medicine for your child?
If you are anything like me, it’s more times than you care to remember. Not only are these trips inconvenient and stressful, but they can be expensive. Stocking up your medicine cabinet ahead of time allows you to watch for sales and coupons so you do not have to pay top dollar at the last minute. Before giving any medication to your child, be sure to speak with your pediatrician.
What medicines should you keep on hand?
• Fever reducers: For infants, keep acetaminophen on-hand for those first fevers. At 6 months of age, ibuprofen may be an option. Aspirin or medicines that have aspirin in them should not be given to anyone younger than age 18. Taking aspirin puts your child at risk for a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
• Decongestant/ antihistamine: An over-the-counter decongestant or a combination decongestant/antihistamine product is commonly recommended for a runny nose and congestion. These medicines should not be given to a baby younger than 6 months; call your doctor about proper dosage and use. A bulb syringe and saline drops also clear up congestion as well.
• Cough remedies: Cough syrups come in two types, expectorants and cough suppressants. An expectorant may be used to help loosen mucus so it can be coughed up. A cough suppressant may be used to help stop the coughing when it is dry and hacking. Always check with your pharmacist before giving cough-suppressing medications to children.
• Sore throat: Throat lozenges and mouth medications help relieve sore throats and mouth sores.
• Skin conditions: Skin care products are used to treat minor skin problems like rashes, bacterial infections, poison ivy and oak, athlete’s foot, skin irritations or inflammations, and sunburn. Some of these products include hydrocortisone cream, anti-fungal preparation, anti-bacterial ointment, baking soda, or aloe vera and zinc oxide powders or creams.
Before venturing out to fill your medicine cabinet, check store circulars and clip coupons. A recent glance at pharmacy/ department store sale circular found $5 off value-sized, store-brand pain relievers, and mucus relief medicine and 2/$6 for cold/allergy medicine. You’ll also save when you buy generic over name brand meds.
Bargain Beth is written by Memphis freelance writer and bargain hunter Beth Bartholomew.