Monday, December 26, 2011

How do you get a kid to take icky medicine?

While not an official reader question, I discussed this today with the nurse practitioner at a local walk in clinic while she was trying to prescribe medicine to my sick kid, (we'll call her "Princess," she's 10) She's asthmatic and now has pneumonia. The NP was trying to decide what to give her and Princess was critiquing her medicine choices. "Is that a big pill? I don't like big pills...Is that a liquid? Does it taste gross? I hate gross liquids" While I encourage the kids to play an active part in their medical care, since they need to be willing participants, especially with medicine, this was getting crazy. Because I knew there were 7 other people on the waiting list and this nurse hadn't had lunch yet, I suggested we just go with the traditional zithromax and prednisone. I suggested orapred, which isn't so bad, but Princess said no liquid steroids. (one course of prelone in one's lifetime will make anyone scared of liquid steroids. I'm 42 and I can still taste the horrific liquid my mom gave me when I was about 7!) I told the NP to just rx the tablets and I'd 'fix them' so she'd take them. Princess was happy with that. The NPs ears pricked up and she wanted to know my secret for making prednisone tolerable!

Over the years, I've been told various 'secret tricks' from doctors and pharmacists. One said to give the kids a spoonful of jelly before the medicine, one claimed the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries before and after the medicine would block the taste, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, pancake syrup, soda, I think I've heard them all. I've also tried them all. Heck, one year I gave my oldest kid $1 for every dose of prelone he didn't throw up on me! The closest we've come to really masking the taste is chocolate. Letting the kids suck on a chocolate kiss before and after the medicine helped a little, but a few years ago, I took it to the next level. Chocolate coating!

This is awesome for prednisone, but also works with other chalky tablets like penicillin. It makes them more slippery to swallow and keeps the nastiness hidden from the taste buds just long enough to get it down. More after the jump, including pictures! Please ignore my dinner dishes waiting to be washed!

Start by opening the medicine and popping out the pills you need. This is a dose pack. She's had 3 already, she needs one with dinner and 2 at bedtime. I'm going to fix up all 3 and save my self some trouble at bedtime.

Then get some chocolate chips.

Melt them in the microwave. They won't liquify, they hold their shape but get really soft. Give them a poke every 10-20 seconds. You want them mushy, but not molten. My microwave takes about 30 seconds.

Dip your finger into the chocolate and smear it onto the tablet. Roll it over and around as needed to cover all of the tablet. The first time I did this, I used a paintbrush and artfully coated the tablets on one side, let them dry, flipped them over and did the other side. It took forever and wasn't any better than the dip and smear method. Set the tablet onto some parchment paper or a silpat, something nonstick. On my parchment paper I wrote 'dinner' and 'bed' because one chocolatey glob is one pill and one chocolaty glob is 2 pills and I didn't want to mix them up.

Toss the whole mess into the freezer for a minute to harden. I also toss the dish with the remaining melted chocolate into the fridge to use for the next dose.

And then find a sick child willing to be goofy for mom's blog.

Note the silly grin and the lack of panic and terror! She knows it won't taste disgusting.

allow one silly "I did it" moment!

Then bask in the glow of happy children who cheer for your awesomeness!

And that, dear readers, is how I get a kid to take icky medicine!

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