Best products to give your sick kid? Valley pediatricians weigh in

If your child's fever lasts longer than five days, it's time to take them into the doctor's.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 9:13 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 1:23 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s the holiday season but also the season of sickness with flu, RSV and COVID-19. These viruses are all circulating, making for a busy month for Phoenix pediatricians.

“Quite a bit of Influenza, specifically Influenza A, and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and even head colds like Rhinovirus. Pretty much the perfect storm of everything,” Dr. Kristin Struble with Camelback Pediatrics said.

So, if your child is feeling under the weather, what should you have at home? Dr. Struble’s suggests the following:

  • Chamomile tea with honey and lemon (honey for kids over 1)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Chest Rub
  • Children’s Tylenol or Motrin – generic brands are just fine!
  • Cough Drops for the teens
  • Nasal Saline
Children's painkillers are in high demand during the flu season, so Good Morning, Arizona is ready to help you know what to stock up on this year.

Dr. Struble recommends avoiding over-the-counter cough and cold medicine for children, especially if they are under the age of 6. “We don’t recommend products over-the-counter to treat the cold symptoms--the runny nose, the cough, we prefer natural methods,” the doctor said. “Those products potentially have side effects and often times they’re combined with Tylenol and Motrin, so we don’t want kids to have redundancy in what they’re receiving that can be dangerous. Those products really aren’t anymore beneficial than the natural stuff.”

Dr. Struble says remember the basics: fluids and rest. She also recommends steam showers and for babies, any product that helps in suctioning the nose. If you have a sick child at home, the doctor said to take them into your pediatrician if a fever lasts more than 5 days. “If a kiddo’s fever is prolonged more than five days, that would definitely be a reason to go in and see the pediatrician,” she said. “More importantly, if you’re concerned that your child has respiratory issues, they’re having trouble breathing.”

She also says if your child is dehydrated, extremely lethargic, and not drinking, you should definitely take them into a clinic. Dr. Gary Kirkilas with Phoenix Children’s Hospital also suggested natural methods as well as lots of fluids and rest. “Medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are great medications to reduce fever or to reduce pain but are not necessary. They don’t actually change the course of the illness and you don’t always have to give it,” Dr. Kirkilas said. “If you have a child that has a temperature of like 101/102, but they seem okay and they’re running around the house, you don’t necessarily need to give a medication to reduce the fever.”

The doctor also said that if a child doesn’t have a fever but still feels yucky with a sore throat, medication to help that go away can be helpful. Before administrating any medications, Dr. Kirkilas said to make sure you read the medication directions. “Acetaminophen and ibuprofen have very specific doses that you need to give and also age ranges,” the doctor said. If you aren’t sure how much to give your child, Dr. Kirkilas says to reach out to your pediatrician.

“All these medications are based on weight, so if you know, sometimes a one-year-old will weigh more than you might expect or less than you might expect them to,” he said. “That medication has been tailored perfectly for their weight.”