Dexamethasone for treating croup among toddlers
Croup is a condition caused by a virus. It is usually mild, and toddlers will get well without undergoing any medical treatment. However, sometimes a toddler will experience difficulty in breathing.
Dexamethasone reduces inflammation and will enable them to breathe easily. Quite often only a single dosage is required to help them breathe normally, but some toddlers may need an increased dosage.
What forms does dexamethasone come in?
• Liquid medicine: 10mg or 2mg or 5ml
• Tablets: 500mg and 2mg. tablets contain lactose
When should I administer dexamethasone?
Normally a single dosage of dexamethasone is required—your doctor may administer this to your toddler right away.
Your doctor may also give you another dosage of dexamethasone to take home in case your toddler continues to experience breathing problems. Give your child the second dosage 12 hours after the first one, only if he or she is awake and still continues to experience distress and difficulty in breathing
How much dexamethasone should I give?
Your doctor will work out the right amount of dosage to give your child. The medical packaging label will also show the amount of dosage.
How should I administer dexamethasone?
Tablets should be accompanied with a glass of water, juice or milk. Make sure your child doesn’t chew the tablet.
Alternatively, you can pound the tablet to powder and mix it with some honey, yogurt or jam. Make sure your child swallows without chewing.
Liquid medicine: Measure the right amount with an oral syringe or medicine teaspoon. These you can get from a pharmacy. Don’t use the kitchen spoon as it won’t have the right measurements.
When will the medication start working?
Dexamethasone normally starts working within an hour or two after administration, and may take up to 4 hours to cure your toddler’s breathing problems. During this time, try as much to keep your toddler calm. They may or not prefer cuddling, and may find it easier to breathe while sitting upright than laying down. You can also help distract them by playing some soft music, watching TV or reading stories. In all you do, avoid distress as it will only worsen their breathing.
Should your toddler’s breathing deteriorate even after administering the medication, take them back to your doctor.
What if my toddler vomits after using dexamethasone?
- If your toddler falls sick within 30 minutes of ingesting dexamethasone, repeat the same dosage.
- If your toddler falls sick after 30 minutes of ingesting dexamethasone, don’t repeat the dosage.
What happens if I overdose?
Two doses of the medication will unlikely do any harm. If however you are concerned about the amount you administered, contact your doctor or the nearest health institution.
What are the possible side-effects?
Chances of side-effects from just two doses are minimal. Your toddler may however experience hiccups, stomach pain, or may vomit.
Can other medications be taken the same time as dexamethasone?
Medications that contain ibuprofen or paracetamol may be taken.
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