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Cold Remedies May be Lethal for Infants


Aired 4/19/09

The Centers for Disease Control is warning parents of young children to stay away from over-the-counter cold remedies, unless advised by a doctor. The CDC says over a two-year period, these medicines caused adverse reactions in more than 1,500 babies and toddlers. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.


Many over-the-counter cold remedies contain the decongestant pseudoephedrine. This drug can cause adverse side effects, including high blood pressure and insomnia. In fact, the CDC warns the ingredient may be lethal to infants.


Dr. Stuart Cohen is a pediatrician in San Diego.

Cohen: Children under six months of age, their parents, should avoid any use of the children cough and cold over-the-counter preparations, and on the rare occasion that they may need something six months and 24 months, they should consult their physician.

The CDC says over-the-counter cold remedies may be totally ineffective for children. Dr. Cohen tells parents to give sick infants lots of fluids, and to use a humidifier.  Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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