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New Varieties Make Cold & Flu Meds Easier to Swallow

New Varieties Make Cold & Flu Meds Easier to Swallow: Main Image
Tiny flavor bottles improve the chances your under-the-weather little ones will down the whole dose

If it's been a challenge to get your kids--or yourself--to down a nonprescription antihistamine, cough medicine, or pain reliever, check the pharmacy shelves. Cold and flu aisles offer a lot of new options to get those drugs into the bloodstream.

Beyond the spoonful of sugar

Look for one of these new styles:

  • Cold and flu powder that is added to a hot drink, giving you the drug and a warm, soothing feeling. (Be sure to drain the cup to get every drop.)
  • Cold and flu strips, which look just like breath strips. They dissolve on your tongue, but instead of freshening breath they deliver a dose of medicine, right from the tongue to the bloodstream.
  • Quick-dissolve cold and flu tablets that melt right away on the tongue.
  • Easy-to-take cold and flu medicine tablets that disintegrate as you chew.
  • Pain relievers that come in tiny flavor bottles--including watermelon, bubble gum, and strawberry--to improve the chance your under-the- weather little one will happily down the whole dose.
  • Analgesic lozenges that remove the sting of a sore throat.

Remember these are still meds

While these options do improve the chance of getting the medicine in, as with any medication you'll need to do some careful label reading. Some products contain multiple ingredients, so you'll want to be sure you or your child needs everything in the mix. If not, look for options with just a single ingredient, such as only an antihistamine, or only a decongestant.

Despite the novel approach, never forget that this is medicine, say experts. "Always remind children that although the drug may taste good or come in an easy-to-take form, it's medicine and should only be given by a parent,'' says Leila R. Mohassel, PharmD, BCPS, director of Clinical Specialists and Scientists at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Adds Mohassel, "Store the medications in a safe area, out of the reach of children."

Fran Kritz is a freelance writer in a suburb of Washington, DC, who, when sick with the flu, prefers to drink her remedy in a warm, comforting cup.
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