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Giving Decongestants To Kids With Colds May Cause More Harm Than Good

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Now that cold and flu season is officially upon us parents everywhere are stocking up on all the things they need to help their kids when the dreaded sickness hits. In addition to getting kids the flu shot, parents are doing everything else they can to try and avoid bringing those pesky colds home for as long as possible. Unfortunately no matter how much extra vitamin c you feed your kids and how much hand sanitizer they use, sometimes you just can't escape cold season.

The worst part about cold season has to be the stuffy nose that comes with it. As parents we know how frustrating it is to not be able to breathe through your nose, but it seems to be a million times worse when it happens to kids. It's not surprising that parents are willing to try anything to give their kids a bit of relief, and many purchase over the counter decongestants for the kids hoping it will make them feel a bit better.

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Credit: iStock / sunemotion

While the decongestant may make your child feel better temporarily, new research is showing that they may not be safe for kids under 12. The research shows that decongestants may actually not even be that effective in helping your child feel better but they can potentially present dangerous side effects.

“The common cold is very common and affects everyone all over the world,” lead author Dr. Mieke van Driel of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia said. Since the cold is caused by a virus, parents simply need to let it run it's course, which usually takes between a week and 10 days. While colds are generally harmless, any parent knows they can turn their otherwise happy go lucky child in to a miserable mess, so it's no surprise parents will do anything in their power to make their child feel better.

While decongestants were found to be mostly ineffective for adults, there is little research on how these products affect children. "Do not prescribe decongestants to children under 12, as evidence of their effectiveness is limited and associated risks may exist," the researchers stated after looking at multiple studies, according to the BMJ.

There is nothing more frustrating that seeing your child suffer through a cold, but there are some home remedies you can do to try to make them feel better. WebMD suggests giving your child lots of fluids, use a cold air humidifier in their room and even try saline drops in their nose. You can even run a hot shower and have them sit in the room where the steam may make them feel better and act as a natural decongestant.

Colds are frustrating and it's often hard to avoid them, but teaching your kids good hygiene practices like frequent hand washing can go a long way in keeping those nasty colds away.

READ NEXT: Pediatricians Are Urging Parents To Get Their Kids' Flu Shots ASAP

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