About 7,000 children ages 11 or younger are treated in hospital emergency departments each year because of cough and cold medications, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly two-thirds of those cases were a result of children taking the medication without a parents knowledge.
The study, published online in the American Academy of Pediatrics journal Pediatrics, said children ages 2 to 5 years old accounted for 64% of all adverse drug events from cough and cold medications, and nearly 80% of those came from what researchers called unsupervised ingestions. Among all age groups, 93% of the children did not require hospital admission, but one-fourth needed additional treatment to eliminate the medicine from their bodies.
Researchers from the CDC analyzed 2004-05 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project to describe emergency department visits because of cough and cold medications. Parents need to be vigilant about keeping these medications out of their childrens reach, Denise Cardo, director of the CDCs division of healthcare quality promotion, said in a news release about the study. They should refrain from encouraging children to take medicine by telling the children that medication is candy, she said in the release, adding that adults should avoid taking adult medication in front of children. -- by Jessica Zigmond
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