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Children under 12 should avoid cold meds

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Posted at 8:54 AM, Jan 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-03 15:12:35-05

MILWAUKEE - We're in the heart of cold and flu season and pediatricians are out with new recommendations for parents. 

"One of the wonderful things we get to share at the holidays is a lot of time together, but the unfortunate downside is the spreading of germs," said Dr. Kevin Dahlman, a pediatrician with Aurora Health Care. "Our kids often get lots of illnesses through the cold and influenza season." 

Parents are being told not to give over-the-counter cold and cough medications to children under the age of twelve.

"What we found is there's really not a whole lot that's beneficial from over-the-counter cold and cough medication and in fact, if you're under the age of twelve, we find there can be some risks that are quite dangerous."

Some of the key ingredients in those drugs can cause heart problems.

"And even though it's very rare, if there's really not a lot of benefit to be realized from those medications, it doesn't make sense to be taking that medication in the first place," said Dr. Dahlman. 

Instead, parents should look toward a more old-fashioned remedy: rest and fluids.

"To this day we have no cure for the common cold, so when our body needs to devote energy to getting better, then we need to rest at home and take it easy."

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