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Health Tip: Don't Play Doctor With Over-the-Counter Drugs

This is especially dangerous when treating your children

(HealthDay News) -- It's Sunday night, and your child as a cough. Should you run to the pharmacy and grab a bottle of cough syrup?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has some sound advice for parents who are trying to help ease their children's suffering without a trip to the doctor:

  • Don't estimate the dose based on your child's size. Instead, read the label and follow all directions.
  • Follow any age limits on the label.
  • Make sure you understand that some over-the-counter products come in different strengths.
  • Know the difference between TBSP (tablespoon) and TSP (teaspoon). They are very different doses.
  • Be careful about converting dose instructions. If the label says two teaspoons, it's best to use a measuring spoon or a dosing cup marked in teaspoons, not a common kitchen spoon.
  • Don't play doctor. When in doubt, call your physician.
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