Parents alerted to ineffective cures

Dr Anthea Rhodes, director,

AUSTRALIAN parents are spending an estimated $67 million on cough and cold medicines known to be ineffective and in some cases potentially harmful.

The Australian Child Health Poll found that a third of children aged under six were being given cough and cold medicine even though they were not recommended for this age group.

What is particularly disturbing is that among parents who are giving these products to their young children, 74 per cent said they were told to do so on the advice of a pharmacist, and 64 per cent on the advice of a doctor.

Parents of young children who are advised to use an over-the-counter cough or cold medicine should challenge the advice; if your child is under six years of age, do not buy it.

The health poll also found that an estimated $74 million a year is spent on vitamins and supplements even though there is no proven health benefits for children on a normal diet and with no nutritional deficiencies.