Children's medicines

Children's medicines

Antibiotics are usually not needed for coughs and colds

Most illnesses get better by themselves and make your child stronger and able to resist similar illnesses in the future.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are often used to relieve the discomfort caused by a high temperature or pain. Some children, for example those with asthma, may not be able to take ibuprofen, so check with your pharmacist or GP. Ibuprofen should not be given to children with chicken pox as it may increase the risk of skin infection. Don't give aspirin to children under 16.

Antibiotics for children Children don’t often need antibiotics. Most childhood infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are medicines which kill bacteria. They work only against bacteria, not the viruses that cause the majority of sore throats, colds, sinus infections and bronchitis. For bacterial infections however, antibiotics work quickly and symptoms usually improve within 24-48 hours. Although children can feel completely better shortly after beginning the antibiotics, it is important that your child finishes the entire course as prescribed, as otherwise the illness may recur. If you’re offered a prescription for an antibiotic, ask about any possible side effects for example diarrhoea.

Repeated use and misuse of antibiotics are the main causes of the increase in resistant bacteria. Antibiotics are now no longer routinely used to treat chest infections, ear infections in children and sore throats.