… apparently, it helps the medicine go down. Although, unfortunately, healthcare providers nowadays do not subscribe to Mary Poppins’ theory!
I have been thinking a lot about medicines recently. I am undertaking my Community Nurse Prescribers module at the moment (exam on Wednesday… Eek!) and so am looking at the legal aspects of prescribing, as well as ensuring I prescribe the right drug at the right dose to the right patient etc.
Plus the talented Clearly Bex wrote a piece on how she gives medicine to her kids (read it here) after she saw the news articles about how parents are, inadvertently, under- or over-dosing their children by using the wrong measurements for medicines (see that report here). As a children’s nurse, this seems so crazy to me. I have always used syringes at work (especially when a dose being off by 0.1ml could have a devastating effect) and obviously find them easy and accurate. Also, as the NHS article says, aren’t you less likely to make a mistake when you have to measure out mls rather than simply spoonfuls?
Of course, not all children will take medicine from a syringe. My own lovely Cracker doesn’t like having it like that, which is why the brilliant minds behind Spilly Spoon came up with their product. A non-spill, dishwasher and steriliser safe, child-friendly medicine ‘spoon’ that children are able to administer to themselves. We got ours at the Baby Show with their ‘ouch pouch’ (a pouch to keep in your nappy bag with room for plasters, cleaning wipes, an epi-pen etc) and both the twins took to it straight away.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Biscuit hasn’t been a well little girl recently with multiple admissions to hospital over the last 5 months. As these were for respiratory problems we have gotten very good at inhalers and nebulisers! The nurses and doctors are always amazed at how well Biscuit takes them, as they are expecting quite a fuss from her! She is, however, an absolute superstar with it. For other parents whose little ones need inhalers, but might not be as chilled out about it, I’d recommend a few things: let them play with the inhaler and the spacer (under close supervision) as this will take away some of the fear they have when it comes towards them, count out loud during their ‘puffs’ as they’ll start to recognise that it’s over quite quickly, praise them afterwards and keep your spacer nice and clean (ok, the last one might not change your child’s mind about it, but it is best practice).
Lastly, it is so important for some drugs (like antibiotics) to be given for a certain length of time and a certain number of times. If, like me, you have the severe baby-brain, or you share the responsibility with your partner and don’t want your child to either miss a dose or get double the amount, what you do is easy- get a sticker and draw out the number of doses needed (or the number of days it has to be given) and stick it on the side of the bottle. When you give a dose, put a tick through it. That way you can check, at a glance, if the dose has been given or not. Just a little something we once did when both the twins were on antibiotics and it worked out so well I wanted to share it with you!!
Don’t be scared about giving medicine to children when it is necessary for their health. There are many people (GP, HV, pharmacist) who can answer your questions and queries and many things to help you administer them (syringe, spilly spoon, medicine cup or (if you are careful) medicine spoon). Try not to get stressed, or your little one will pick up on it. And worst comes to the worst, a little treat always helps it go down!!