It can be worrisome when our kids start coughing. Whether that\u2019s from the flu, pollution or some other reason. So, we scour the drugstore aisles hoping for something quick to help our kids' sore throats. But parents, beware. Not all cough medications are created equal. To help parents learn more about how to choose the right cough treatment for children, we sat down with Nazatul Amira Hamzah from Primabumi Sdn Bhd. Nazatul is a pharmacist with 10 years of experience in both hospital and community settings. Nazatul Amira Hamzah, Pharmacist and Key Account Manager at Primabumi Sdn Bhd Q1: Why are some cough medicines displayed on the shelves while some at the pharmacy counter? Cough medicines come in two types: over-the-counter (OTC) and pharmacy ones. They're sorted by what's in them, what they're for, and how safe they are. You can find OTC cough medicines on store shelves in different shops. They often have gentle stuff like herbs. Pharmacy cough medicines are only sold by licensed pharmacists. They might have stronger or riskier stuff in them that can make you feel drowsy. So, some people, like little kids and pregnant or breastfeeding mums, should avoid these. A pharmacist can help you choose the right one for your child. Q2:\u00a0Are OTC medicines safer than those dispensed by pharmacists? Pharmacists play a vital role in recommending the most effective and safest cough syrup for the patient and advising on its appropriate intake. Over-the-counter products are usually safe enough for the public to choose for themselves without consultation with an expert. However, some medications do carry certain risks to our health. Hence, we still need to be careful when selecting an OTC cough syrup and administering it to our children and ourselves. Q3: How do I know which cough treatment will suit my child? To pick the best cough medicine, figure out if your child has a wet (chesty) or dry cough. Wet coughs happen when there's mucus, usually from a cold or asthma. Dry coughs are more like a scratchy throat, often from allergies. Listen to how your child's cough sounds and how it feels. Wet coughs are deeper and make the chest feel heavy, while dry coughs are more ticklish. Go for a medicine that matches your child's cough type and age. If you're not sure, ask a healthcare expert. Q4: If my child has a cough, can I just get medicine from a pharmacy instead of seeing a doctor? For regular coughs from allergies or a common cold, you can usually use medicines from the pharmacy. But if your child's cough gets worse very quickly, it's time to see a doctor for a proper checkup. Especially if the coughing is accompanied by wheezing, trouble breathing, fever, strange-coloured mucus, or lasts more than 4 weeks. Q5: How long can I administer cough syrup to my child? There's no exact number of days to use cough syrup. However, you'll often see your child feeling better in 5 to 7 days after starting it. You can stop giving them the syrup when the cough is completely gone. If the cough doesn't get better after 5 days, talk to a healthcare expert. Q6: Can I administer the cough medicine to my child together with other medicines? It's usually safe to give your child cough syrup along with other cold medicines. Some medications that are okay include paracetamol and antihistamines, as well as common supplements. But if your child is taking other medicines, ask your pharmacist about the right way to give them all together. Q7: Is there a single product that can help with a fever, cough and cold? So far, there's no one medicine that can treat all three symptoms at once. Some herbal cough syrups claim they can, but they might not work for everyone. However, there are cough syrups made with regular medicines that can help with coughing, runny, or blocked noses. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the right cough syrup for your child. Q8: Should I keep cough syrups in the fridge? No! You don't need to keep liquid medicine in the fridge. People often think it's a good idea, but it can actually harm the medicine and make it expire faster. When it gets really cold, tiny ice crystals can form inside the bottle. This might make the medicine not work right and even render it unsafe. Most cough syrups should be stored at room temperature. Preferably in a cool, dry place, away from heat, humidity, and light. Just follow the instructions on the label or the package. Q9: How long can I keep excess opened cough syrup? Discard any unused cough syrups 3 months after the first opening or if expired, whichever is sooner. Q10: My child tends to get a cough every now and then. What can I do to help improve my child's health? If your child often has coughs, it might mean a weak immune system or other health issues. Boost their immunity and reduce contact with allergens. If you suspect a problem, see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. They can find out what's going on and give the right treatment, if needed. Source: Nazatul Amira Hamzah, Pharmacist at Primabumi Sdn Bhd Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice from Motherhood. For any health-related concerns, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or medical practitioner. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!