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December 6, 2002

Other Medications

Question from :

What is the best over-the-counter cold medication for a toddler with type�1 diabetes?

Answer:

I cannot endorse any particular over-the-counter cough and cold medicine for anyone, diabetes not withstanding, but I can give some guidelines.

First of all, for the younger child, sometimes you don’t need to give any medication for colds at all. Keeping the nose cleaned out by using the bulb suction that you may have received from the nursery often works. Some plain salt-water nose drops (which you can buy these or your pharmacist can mix up) can be used to help keep the nasal passages moist. Consult your regular pediatrician about his/her thoughts on cold medicines for infants. Sometimes a 2-3 day course of Neo-Synephrine is used, but this should be used cautiously and sparingly. Talk with your doctor.

For older diabetic children and adults with coughs and colds, often they will be told that they “cannot” use over-the-counter medicines. I do not think that is true at all. Liquid preparations are often flavored with syrups, but the amount of carbs are minuscule. Besides, if you are carb counting, then just count the carbs in the medications. Avoid liquid preparations with alcohol. Decongestants can lead to “jitterness” as seen in hypoglycemia. So, be wise: if you take a medicine and you have diabetes, and you feel different, check your blood glucose –they way you would if you felt different and you weren’t on the medicine.

DS