Have got children at your home? I’m sure you would have faced this problem one time or another—children won’t swallow those bitter pills.
A lot of children especially early in their life find it difficult to swallow medicines pills. The main reason is that they do not know how to swallow properly. When the child cannot swallow appropriately, the medicine is bound to touch hind part of the tongue that has the receptors for bitter taste. That, and also, the medicine touching the throat and stimulating a gag reflex would make it impossible to gulp the pills down the throat.
Although, syrups and other methods of drug inoculation may be considered, often that is either not possible, or not appropriate. Thus, teaching the children how to swallow pills becomes important. There a few methods that can be employed to make the children swallow the pills easily, such as:
Practice with sweetened pills
The trick is to start small, accompany the pills with a lot of water and of course practice. It’s just like the birds. They don’t learn to fly, unless they are forced to fly by throwing them down the nest. So to learn swallowing, they must swallow. Practice until they can do it naturally. However, the parents mustn’t wait until the child is sick, and find that it’s almost impossible to get the medicines down their throats. Teach them beforehand with placebos, with sweets, something like tic-tacs, peppermint would do the job.
Flavored throat sprays
Another strategy would be to use a throat spray before the pills. The throat sprays are available in different flavors, and you can choose the one that your child loves the most. It will mask the taste of the pills, numb the throat and reduce the reflexes making it easier for the child to swallow the bitter ones.
One of the most common and important reason why the children are unable swallow is apprehension and anxiety. The children are too scared that they are ready to puke it out, even before the pills goes inside the mouth. To get rid of this problem behavioral therapy can help. It’s important to comfort them. Talk to them and let them relax. Getting the fear out of them is mandatory.
Demonstration and instructions
Demonstrate the whole method to the children by doing it yourself. Also, give them verbal instructions and if they can read written instructions. They can run the instructions through their mind, following by practicing with sweet pills.
— Zigverve.com (@zigverve) October 7, 2015
Several head positions are better in making swallowing easier. Researches have proven that lateral head rotations improve swallowing dynamics by increasing the crico-pharyngeal opening and decreasing the upper esophageal sphincter pressure.
Specialized pill cups
Many specialized pill cups are available in market which can help the child swallow better.
Studies have shown that a good proportion of children would be able to swallow after a combination of any of the methods and, of course, practice.