"A lot of these OTC medications are a combination of everything, so if we are trying to suppress a cough, I probably don't need a decongestant, I probably don't need a anti-histamine even though it comes in a nice neat package," said Paul Flatley, a pharmacist. "I usually start with, what are we trying to treat?"
If you are treating a fever, it's not uncommon for a child to find relief from both Tylenol and ibuprofen.
Flatley said, "If it is the one straight dosage form like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, it is usually every six hours, but if I switch off and I give a Tylenol dose and I give a ibuprofen dose, I can switch to every four hours."
Another concern for many parents is if the medication you provide your child causes them to vomit. That's exactly why doctors and pharmacists suggest recording exactly when you gave the medication, and how much your child took.
"It's a tough call for us as well because you don't know long ago you took it and if you do, you still you don't how much was absorbed. All of these drugs are metabolized through the kidneys or through the liver and you don't want to increase or double the dose of something that you don' know if it was absorbed or not," said Flatley.
Read labels to be sure you know exactly what you need, and if you are not sure, ask.
Flatley said, "Basically the job of pharmacist is to go out and help people with OTC items. We are here as a reference source so you can pick our brain, that is what we are trained in, this is our specialty so that is what we are all about."