Experts say children should not be given decongestants because there’s no proof they work and they might be doing more damage than good.
Researchers argue medicines used to relieve blocked noses should never be given to children under six years old, and only given with caution to under-12s, shares Daily Mail.
While decongestants can help adults, there is no proof they work for children and they might instead cause drowsiness or stomach problems, a study found.
Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Ghent in Belgium, made the claim in the British Medical Journal today.
They reviewed evidence on the suitability of decongestants for children – household brand decongestants include Sudafed, Vicks and Olbas Oil, but specific brands were not named by the scientists.
Professor Mieke van Driel, of the University of Queensland, said: ‘There is no evidence that these treatments alleviate nasal symptoms and they can cause adverse effects such as drowsiness or gastrointestinal upset.’
Children suffer around six to eight colds per year, the researchers said, while adults get two to four.
For adults, using decongestants for three to seven days could have a small effect on nasal symptoms.
But side effects may include insomnia, drowsiness, headaches or stomach problems.
And using them for too long can actually make the blocked nose worse and harder to get rid of.
‘Some products that contain decongestant may improve nasal symptoms in children, but their safety, especially in young children, is unclear.’
And they said: ‘Do not prescribe decongestants to children under 12, as evidence of their effectiveness is limited and associated risks may exist.’
Vapour rub may relieve congestion but could cause skin rashes, the research added.
In under twos the drugs have been assoc with convulsions, rapid heart rate and even death.
Saline drops are recommended to help with a block nose.
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