Getting Kids to Swallow Pills
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Getting Kids to Swallow Pills
My 15-year-old son has such an exaggerated gag reflex that he
cannot swallow pills. He takes cough medicine, Tylenol, etc.
in liquid form at home but I am worried about when he goes to
camp this summer. He doesn't have trouble with any specific
food and eats a wide variety of food but says he feels like he
will choke when he tries swallowing over-the-counter Claritin,
I had the same problem when I was that age. Couldn't swallow any but
the tiniest of pills. I was also mortally terrified of stinging
insects. Both phobias went away by the time I was 17. My parents never
bothered me about either phobia. Shoulder shrugs and ''oh well'' was
about all they ever said.
I have difficulty swallowing pills, with water, too. It's really bad
when they're gelatinous and get stuck in my throat! Yuch. Instead of
swallowing them with water, I chew up a little bread, and insert the
pill in or alongside of the chewed-up, soft, doughy ball, and swallow.
Works great for me. Crackers work, too.
Don't worry. There is a a claritin tab that you put on your tounge
and it melts. Very easy to use. Look carefully at the boxes to find
teh right one.
If he is motivated to learn to swallow pills, start with mini m-&-m's.
Take a sip of fluid first so the mouth is moist, then the m&m (with
more liquid or not - see which works best for him), then another sip.
Some find it easier to put the ''pill'' way back on the tongue, others
prefer to place it mid-way back and then wash it down. If even that
is tough, see if it makes a difference with different liquids, - plain
water, chocolate milk, cold vs warm, etc. Or even something thick
like honey. When he's mastered the mini ones, move on to regular
ones. And it isn't the end of the world if he takes liquid meds.
Does anyone have tips/techniques/methods for teaching a sensitive
9-year-old to swallow pills? She needs to take medication and
this is a hurdle. Thanks!
I taught my son to swallow a pill thus:
- open your mouth wide & stick out your tongue as far as you can
- put the pill as far back on the tongue as you can (you may have
to do this for him at first)
- draw the tongue back into the mouth
- drink a glass of water
My mom used to crush the pill with two spoons on top of each
other (like spooned together, har har), add a teaspoon of sugar,
give it to me, and I'd wash it down with some water. You can also
dissolve the pill in water but it means it takes longer to get it
all down. I found the sugar counteracted the bitterness of the
pill and made it somewhat tolerable. I know one person who cannot
swallow pills and she is an adult! So it may be that your
daughter just has a severe gag reflex. I hope this helps,
I taught my kids to swallow pills by letting them practice with
tic-tacs. They had some concern re choking/having it go down the
wrong pipe, I explained the pill would float down with the drink
just like their cookie crumbs float down the right pipe with
their milk. This worked great for us. If taste is an issue, you
can coat the pill in peanut butter or that hardening syrup used
for ice cream (just put in the freezer a minute or so to harden
on the pill) or whatever your daughter might like. If all else
fails, Solano Avenue Pharmacy is a compounding pharmacy and can
make up most pill meds into chewable ''troches'' (sp') in a variety
of flavors. This works better for some meds than others. Tiny
pills/dosages are harder to make into uniformly dosed chewables.
this page was last updated: Nov 20, 2009
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