When your child is sick or injured, he or she must take medicine to get better. However, most medicines don’t taste good, so kids resist taking them. Even the most understanding pediatrician is not always aware of alternatives to unpleasant medicines.
If getting your child to take medicine is a battle, United Pharmacy offers solutions. Unlike most doctors and pharmacists, we tailor our medications to fit individual needs. We keep children’s sensitivities in mind when compounding formulas for their illnesses. We promise your child will take our medicine without a fuss and feel better sooner than you expected.
Why Won’t My Kid Take Medicine?
Your child’s illness is no guarantee he will submit to taking medicine. Young children are notorious for engaging in power struggles, even when they are ill. Their weakness and crankiness worsen the situation. Some kids spit out medication or refuse to open their mouths. Many parents give up and turn to alternative cures, such as baths or ice pops, which help in the short run but make the illness linger. Other parents have been reduced to tears or shouting over their children’s refusals to swallow medication.
Believe it or not, your child doesn’t like this power struggle any more than you do. When she refuses to take medicine, she’s trying to tell you the taste and texture are too much for her. Young children are extremely sensitive to tastes and textures – it’s why so many preschoolers are also known as picky eaters. Crushing chewable medicine in food or stirring medicine into juice or water doesn’t always help. Your child’s taste buds will zero in on the foreign, sometimes gritty, texture. His or her body will reject it.
Some illnesses, such as chronic constipation or muscle disorders, require suppositories, injections, or other inserted medications. These are often painful or traumatic for young children, who will resist them even more than a traditional pill or liquid. Many parents give up on these methods, which worsens symptoms and sometimes causes severe complications.
Most parents don’t have any better luck with liquid medicines. Some liquid medicines burn the throat, an open invitation for your child to spit them out. Many over-the-counter liquids are flavored, but the flavoring doesn’t cut the alcohol or menthol taste of medicine completely. Additionally, some children are sensitive enough to notice the smell of medicine. That alone makes kids turn up their noses, no matter the cherry, grape, or orange flavoring promised on the label.
In severe cases, doctors and parents turn to antibiotic shots. They assume the shots’ pain will give children incentive to take medicine next time. This works for some children, but others end up resisting medicine even more. Additionally, antibiotic shots are negative reinforcement. They teach the child, “If you don’t do as you’re told, you will be in pain.” This message is harmful and may leave your child thinking he will get a shot every time he misbehaves.
Pediatric Medication Dosages
It’s easy to make mistakes with medication, especially if you’ve never used a certain kind and your child is uncooperative. The most vigilant parents over- or underestimate doses depending on children’s ages and weights. Always double-check the label, or call your doctor if you’re still unsure. Under-dosing your child can make symptoms linger. Overdosing may make your child feel better for longer periods, but increase her resistance when it’s time for the next dose.
Remember your child doesn’t relate to dosage measurements as you do. To him, a teaspoon can feel like a huge amount of bad-tasting medicine. Try to explain the dosage in relatable terms. If you’re mixing powder or liquid medicine with a drink, say, “See, this is mostly juice.” If you’re using a chewable, say, “You only need to take one.” Offer a favorite food or drink with the medicine as a “chaser.” Sometimes the incentive helps.
Tips For Getting Children To Take Medicines
Doctors encourage parents to think about technique when giving medicine. Never hold a struggling child down and force medicine into her mouth. She could vomit or choke. Give medicine while your child is sitting up, not lying down. Otherwise you’ll tower over him, which is scary for a little one.
If your child is especially uncooperative, two adults can give the medicine. However, doctors warn not to bring in a second person if the medicine is non-essential. Try it on your own first. Have your child sit down in a comfortable spot. Use a plastic syringe or dropper – your pediatrician can provide one if needed. Put the syringe safely beyond the teeth and gum line, and simply push the plunger. Some kids prefer to hold the syringe themselves, as it gives them some control over when they take the medicine.
If you must bring in another adult, do so without force. Have the second adult hold your child on his or her lap, and gently hold the child’s hands so he won’t move. Meanwhile, hold the syringe in one hand while opening your child’s mouth with the other. Push down gently on your child’s chin, or run your finger along the inside of his cheek and push down on the lower jaw.
Once your child’s mouth is open, insert the syringe between her teeth and carefully drip the medicine onto the back of her tongue. Never squirt the medicine directly into the back of her throat. Do not bend her head backward; this makes swallowing difficult and may cause choking. Instead, keep her mouth open until she swallows. Since she’s sitting up, gravity may do the work for you.
Don’t shame or punish a child for refusing to take medicine – it only reinforces that medicine is negative. Say something like, “That wasn’t fun, was it? If you help me next time, I won’t have to hold you.” Add positive reinforcement, such as a hug. Telling your child she is helping you and giving her positive feedback helps her associate medicine with good things.
How Compounding Pediatric Pharmacy Can Help Make Giving Your Kids Medicine Easier
Some children refuse to take medicine no matter their parents’ techniques or patience. Other children refuse medications because of underlying disorders, such as sensory processing disorder (SPD). Disorders like SPD make medicines taste much stronger, and much worse, than they do to typical children. In these cases, you need a pediatric compounding pharmacy.
United Pharmacy endeavors to make our medications child-friendly. We are here to combat every illness and injury, whether it’s a winter cold or a chronic condition requiring daily medication. We offer custom medication forms to make the medicine go down more easily. If your child has trouble chewing and swallowing, we will create custom liquid medicine. If he suffers from chronic constipation but dreads suppository insertion, we’ll create a gentle oral laxative.
Author: Kirill Vesselov
Kirill Vesslov is our resident writer about health and wellness as well as our pharmacy services.