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5 year child having dry cough, fever, stomach ache. Is it safe to give pepto bismol?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
My 5 year old daugther had a dry cough and suddenly she woke up vomiting and has a high fever and a stomachache, she also has chills! I am controlling her fever and got and air purifier with eucalypto! I also am thinking if i should give her peptobismol?????? Please help
Posted Sat, 1 Sep 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 37 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
Pepto bismol can be given in minor stomach upsets to control the nausea and stomachache but it can have sideffects like constipation and is best avoided in high fever with chills or any infection.
Kindly mention any likely associated symtoms which can help me to pinpoint the cause of her illness . As there can be various reasons for her symptoms like minor indigestion following junk food consumption ,food allergies or any viral or bacterial infection. Sometimes respiratory infections causing sore throat , dry cough and fever can be associated with nausea and stomachache ( caused by throat irritation and constant coughing). In such case pepto bismol would not be indicated. It can be treated with an antiinflammatory antipyretic like acetaminophen or ibuprofen which can take care of fever and pain and an antitussive decongestant like chlorpheniramine and dextromethorpan (in most cough syrups ).
After 24-48 hrs of such supportive treatment if the child still has symptoms like fever, pain or has worsening cough or develops any new symptom like diarrhoea then you should get her evaluated by her doctor for appropriate management with antibiotics etc.
If you have administered pepto bismol along with antipyretics and cough medications it's ok to continue it but do keep the child well hydrated to prevent constipation.
Apart from this steam inhalations and warm salt water gargles taken thrice daily might provide some relief for her cough .
Please remember that if your child has very frequent cough and stomaches there could be an underlying airborne or food allergy ( especially if there is any such family history) or a tonsiloadenoid enlargement causing her symptoms . So it's best to consult her pediatrician to rule out any significant underlying cause if the bouts are recurrent and affecting her much.
Hope I have answered your query .
I'll be available for any follow up queries.
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