english medicine for children

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the first reflex of a British parent when their children are ill is to reach for the Calpol or Nurofen.

For non-Brits, I’m talking about liquid paracetamol, generally strawberry-flavoured, that comes with a syringe to administer straight into your infant’s mouth; like kids’ Doliprane in France. And most kids like it a lot, and by that I mean ‘would like it on tap, thank you very much’. Little Girl, upon spotting the bottle of Calpol, has been known to try to convince me she is at death’s door and say with a sad voice ‘maman, I’m not very well, I need some Calpol.’ Yeah, right.

What has always puzzled me, is the fact that there is no alternative over-the-counter medicine for children. So what do the parents of the refluxy-vomitty child do if he or she is not well on top of the refluxy-vomitty thing? Or in my case, what to do with a child who HATES Calpol? Luciole will go to quite some lengths to not ingest it. Let it dribble out, turn her head away, full body escape attempt, gagging if it as much as touches her lips; with a lot of wailing and general mayhem. It gives me stress-induced palpitations just to think about it. She really does hate the stuff, and there is nothing else to be had.

She’s been ill this past week with a really high fever and has dug her heels in at every attempt to get the meds inside her so I went to the GP and eventually got what I was hoping for: suppositories. I could have hugged her. I barely restrained myself from going ‘yesssss’ and do a fist-pump. She looked quite taken aback at the joy on my face, which is not surprising because I would bet she rarely gets this kind of reaction at the mention of suppositories.

There is this huge stigma around suppositories in this country. Literally everyone goes ‘ewww‘ and ‘only the French‘ when I talk about how suppositories are the best thing ever. And it drive me UP THE WALL. If you said or thought ‘eww’ when you read the dreaded word, know that right now, I am side-eyeing you and patronising the hell out of you because you know what, stop it this instant with the childishness. It is a perfectly acceptable way of administrating medicine and dare I say it, The Best Way when it comes to treating your sick child. It is safe. It is pain-free. It works almost instantly. And yes, it goes into the back passage. Big deal.

Right. Rant over. I think. Maybe.  I just don’t get the phobia at all when it solves so many problems in one smooth sweep (pun intended).

suppositories

Suppositories: putting the fear of man into every Englishman’s heart since forever

I’d never given anyone a suppository before yesterday, and let me tell you, after the histrionics we’ve had around the Calpol in the last couple of days, this was by far the easiest, pain-free, stress-free and also most anti-climatic event ever. There was no mess, she barely noticed it happened when I did it at the end of her nappy change, and she was, as expected, much better within 15 minutes, and so that was that.

The fever didn’t come back after, so I am now in possession of another 19 of these babies and I am going to use every single one of them. Not all at once though, obviously.