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ER visits among young kids plummet after removal of cold medicines, study says

ER visits for children younger than 2 years old who experienced bad reactions to cough and cold medicines plummeted since the products were removed from store shelves, media reports of a new study say.

These over-the-counter medicines are are no longer recommended for children younger than 4 because of accidental overdoses that sickened kids and even resulted in some deaths, this Associated Press story says. The study about emergency room visits appeared in the journal Pediatrics.

The problem isn’t limited to infants and toddlers.

Thousands of kids 12 and younger show up in ERs after having taken such medicines unsupervised, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Here’s what the CDC has to say about throwing out and storing over-the-counter cold and cough meds.

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Clearly a child overdosing on any medication warrants an ER visit. But when else should you take your kid to an ER? This advice from Kidshealth.org offers guidelines on everything from when to handle an emergency at home to calling 911. And this primer from FamilyDoctor.org includes how to tell when fevers in infants and children turn serious – particularly handy as we head into flu season.


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