Benadryl can be safely used to treat allergy symptoms in children of appropriate age, but parents should be aware that it should never be given to a child to help them fall or stay asleep. If you’re wondering how much Benadryl a child should take for allergies, read on for some important safety tips.
Because trees and plants finally start flowering in the spring after being dormant all winter, this is the height of allergy season. Even though they are a welcome sight, your children may have to deal with some less-than-pleasant allergy symptoms if they are allergic to the pollen. Benadryl can alleviate the symptoms, but the medication is extremely hazardous if it is not administered in the correct doses to children of the appropriate ages. Everything a parent should know is outlined here.
What does Benadryl Consist Of?
According to Jeffrey Tan, M.D., a pediatrician at Stanford Children’s Health with Peninsula Pediatric Medical Group, “Diphenhydramine (commonly known by the brand name Benadryl) belongs to a class of medications called antihistamines that block the activity of the chemical histamine in the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, and the blood vessels.” Benadryl is a common brand name for diphenhydramine.
And it is these histamines that are to blame for the symptoms of an allergic reaction. According to Kristi Redlich, M.D., a pediatrician at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, “Histamines are naturally occurring substances in the body that can cause common allergy-type symptoms, such as hives, itching, and nasal congestion, or a cough related to allergies.” Histamines are naturally occurring substances in the body that can cause common allergy-type symptoms. “By blocking the receptors for histamines, antihistamine medications prevent histamines from exerting their action and alleviating the symptoms.”
Use of Benadryl in Infants and Young Children
Benadryl should not be administered to children younger than two years old, according to the recommendations of Dr. Redlich, unless the parents have been given explicit instructions to do so by a qualified medical professional.
Antihistamines should not be given to children younger than two years old, according to a warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States in 2007. The FDA stated that antihistamines could cause potentially fatal side effects, including convulsions, rapid heart rates, and decreased levels of consciousness.
A total of 1,519 children under the age of 2 were treated in emergency rooms in the United States for adverse events related to cough and cold medications in 2004 and 2005, prompting the warning. These events included overdoses.
“When administering Benadryl to children, it is critical to adhere to the recommended dosage strictly. The administration of incorrect doses can be extremely hazardous, and in some cases even fatal, “says Dr. Redlich.
Unfortunately, numerous deaths in children have been associated with Benadryl overdoses due to improper dosing. One of these deaths was that of 7-month-old Abi Lobisch in Hawaii, who was given a dose of Benedryl that proved to be fatal by her babysitter.
How to Determine the Appropriate Dose of Benadryl for Children
Their weight will determine your child’s correct and safe dosage of Benadryl. Dr. Redlich states, “I like to have parents refer to a dosing chart, and we recommend this link from the American Academy of Pediatrics.” “I like to have parents refer to a dosing chart.” I would advise parents to consult their pediatrician before administering medication to their children if there is any uncertainty regarding the matter or if they have any questions.
Concerning Benadryl’s Side Effects, Information for Parents
In addition to this, you should be aware of the other potential adverse effects. It is possible for Benadryl to cause in your children, as well as in people who already have certain health conditions.
According to Dr. Tan, “Benadryl can cause drowsiness in addition to other side effects such as dry mouth, thickened sputum (mucus), and can also cause paradoxical excitation (hyperactivity) in some young children.” Use caution in children who have asthma or are also taking other sleep-inducing medications. Even though glaucoma, liver disease, and cardiovascular disease are not common in children, parents should check with their doctor before giving Benadryl to their children who suffer from these conditions.
How to Avoid Overdose
Benadryl can be given to children of the appropriate age to help alleviate the symptoms of allergy attacks; however, its use should only be intended to be temporary.
According to Dr. Redlich, “Benadryl is intended to be used primarily for use in the relief of allergy symptoms for a short period of time, and it is not recommended that it be used as a long-term allergy medication.” Claritin and Zyrtec are two examples of the types of antihistamines that fall into the category of “other types of antihistamines that would be preferable for long-term use because they have fewer significant side effects.” These are probably safe for use in the vast majority of children aged two and older, but parents should always consult with their primary care physicians before giving their children any new medications.
In recent years, allergists have begun to recommend cetirizine (brand name Zyrtec) more frequently as a second-generation antihistamine due to its longer duration of action (up to 24 hours) and much less sedation, as stated by Dr. Tan.
Benadryl Should Never Be A Sleep Aid
In addition, Benadryl should not be used as a sedative or sleep aid under any circumstances. According to Dr. Redlich, Benadryl should never be given to children as a sleep aid, and it should also never be given to children on extended trips (whether by plane or by car) in order to keep them calm.
Experts have known for some time that Benadryl has an effect on wakefulness due to its ability to induce significant drowsiness. Many people believe that Benadryl is a risk-free sleep aid for the following reasons: since it does not cause addiction and is not a narcotic, what possible risks could there be? Benadryl keeps a person in a light sleep state and prevents them from entering deeper, more restful, and restorative stages of sleep, which, as it turns out, affects REM sleep. Studies are being conducted to see if long-term use of Benadryl reduces quality of sleep, which may increase the risk of dementia.
Benadryl is not an appropriate sleep aid for infants and toddlers who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Instead, parents should examine their children’s bedtime and naptime routines more closely to identify more effective ways to assist their children in falling asleep and staying asleep.
The Heart of the Matter
Benadryl, like any other medication, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, should only be used when necessary, with careful consideration given to the correct dosage and any potential adverse effects.
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