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  1. Turkoski, Beatrice B.


Having a sick child can be stressful for parents, even if the illness is a mild cold or gastrointestinal upset. Part of that stress may be related to uncertainty about when to seek professional help and when to choose an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. When choosing to use an OTC medication, parents are faced with another uncertainty-which agent to use. The variety of available agents, many with pictures of children on the labels or names that indicate "for children" makes a wise choice challenging. Knowledgeable nurses, who interact with sick children and their parents in any setting, can do much to relieve some of this uncertainty and stress by talking to parents about the treatment and medication choices they make. In the following discussion, examples of medications used to treat common problems in younger patients are discussed. Contraindications, safety concerns, potential drug-drug interactions, and safe administration guidelines are identified for each example. Part III of this series will address examples of medications used to treat more complicated childhood problems, such as asthma, allergy, attention-deficit disorders, and obesity.