Your medicine cabinet should include first-aid treatments; cold, flu, and cough soothers (remember, you can't cure them); and other items that keep a body healthy. You should have the following on hand:
• Adhesive bandages of all shapes and sizes
• Antibiotic cream and antiseptic wipes
• Antifungal cream and anti-itch cream
• Diaper rash ointment
• A thermometer (digital thermometer as well as mercury/rectal one)
• Saline spray
• Syrup of ipecac
• Pepto-Bismol and gas reliever
• Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher
Be sure to tell your pediatrician about any medicines you give your baby. If she gives you a prescription, be sure you follow the instructions. Once you have administered the medicine according to the instructions, throw any that is left over away.
As you've read, low-grade fevers are not necessarily dangerous and don't need to be treated if your child isn't uncomfortable. However, you should always have fever reducers on hand just in case. They should include ibuprofen and acetaminophen as opposed to aspirin or aspirin derivatives, which can make children very sick. Always check the expiration dates on medications. Beyond those dates, they won't help your child.
Most fever reducers, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are also painkillers. You should use these if your child has growing pains and is very uncomfortable, or if she has hurt herself and can't ignore the pain.
Growing pains are real and usually occur at night. A child may wake up with pains in his legs or hips. If your child has pains that make him limp or otherwise curtail his daily activity, take him to the doctor for an evaluation.
One-year-olds don't yet know how to cope with pain and illness, so you are doing your child a favor if you talk her through the experience, explaining that relaxing, doing something to keep her mind occupied, and taking long deep breaths can do a lot to alleviate any feelings of discomfort. You don't want to give your child medicine too easily or for every small thing. For one thing, overmedication is dangerous and can cause other complications.
Decongestants and Cough Remedies
Medicines that reduce cold and flu symptoms by drying up the nasal passages have many side effects and should only be used as a last resort. They don't cure the underlying problem, which is a virus, and they often don't have a clear and effective way to help the body to do what it needs to in order to heal.
Very few cough “remedies” actually work, and many have ingredients that have unpleasant side effects, such as edginess and irritability. Look for cough remedies that do not contain pseudoephedrine. Often, the most soothing remedies for a cough are frequent sips of warm water with honey and lemon, sitting upright, and plenty of rest.
If you do need to give medicine to your child, you'll most likely find it in flavored liquid form, such as grape or cherry. This makes the medicine appealing to your child, and he won't put up a fight to avoid taking it.
New forms of medication include strips that melt on a child's tongue, which are fine for most one-year-olds, but others may have an allergy to leuketrines, which is one of the ingredients that make the strips melt. Check to be sure, too, that the over-the-counter remedy you give your child doesn't contain alcohol. Always check the package directions and follow the dosage recommendations based on your child's weight, a more exact method than following age recommendations. And if you are giving your child more than one type of medicine, speak to your doctor about whether there is a danger of complications resulting from the mixed medicines.