Do not prescribe decongestants for cold to children under 12
Although colds are usually self-limiting, it is common to use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help relieve symptoms. However, decongestants should not be given to children younger than age 6 years and should be given with caution in those younger than age 12 years, experts conclude in a review published online in BMJ.

Study highlights:-
• Quality evidence to say whether over-the-counter treatments work for nasal symptoms of the common cold is limited.

• For adults, consider a trial of decongestants alone, or with antihistamines or analgesics to alleviate bothersome nasal symptoms.

• Do not prescribe decongestants to children under 12, as evidence of their effectiveness is limited and associated risks may exist.

For the present study, the authors searched the Cochrane Library for systematic reviews that investigate the effectiveness of treatments for the common cold.

For adults, the authors concluded that, low-quality evidence suggests that decongestants (either in monotherapy or in combination with antihistamines and/or analgesics) have a small effect on nasal symptoms. Harms include an increased risk of insomnia, drowsiness, headache, or gastrointestinal upset. Long-term use can lead to chronic nasal congestion. However, the recommended safe treatment duration for decongestants varies and seems to be based on expert opinion.

For children, Some products that contain decongestant may improve nasal symptoms in children, but their safety, especially in young children, is unclear. The authors did not find evidence to support the use of other common treatments and home remedies in children (such as heated humidified air or steam, analgesics, echinacea, probiotics, herbs, or vitamins).

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