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Children's medicines do not necessarily make them better and we need to remember that before we give them over the counter medication. They may lessen the symptoms or alleviate discomfort but they won't make them better any quicker or cure them. If your child remains unwell for a couple of days you should take them to the doctor.
Expectorants contain an ingredient called guaifenesin and is often used to loosen mucus. There is much debate whether it is even effective in children and it has been suggest should not be used for children under 4.
Cough Suppressants can help at night time in order to allow the child to sleep. Dextromethorphan is the active ingredient and is usually found in a prescribed medicine rather than an over the counter medicine.
Decongestants are supposed to relieve a runny nose. The active ingredient is phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine. Although decongestants can be helpful, it has been reported that they can make children hyperactive or irritable.
Antihistamines are mostly used to treat symptoms caused by allergies. Sneezing, runny nose etc. can be helped by using an antihistamine.