April 11, 2010
It isn't often that your pediatrician gives you a prescription for 'magic' medicine. Especially for something as common as a sore throat. I thought I had heard everything... and tried it, too. Aside from wondering if our doctor was crazy, I couldn't imagine that I've had this "remedy" in my medicine cabinet my whole life - right under my nose - and have never heard of it. Just think of all those miserable sore throats that went untreated. The shame of it!
I have to admit, I was skeptical that a "Magic Mouthwash" would help make a wicked sore throat more tolerable - even numb. However, the doctor insisted that it would
help, and my daughter was suffering. I figured trying it wouldn't hurt. When you or your kids are in that much pain, you'll try anything.
She told us to mix 1 part Maalox, 1 part Children's Benedryl and gargle with the solution. I thought I had both on hand, so I didn't buy any Maalox. When I got home, I discovered that I only had Milk of Magnesia. Lucky for me that the active ingredient in Milk of Magnesia is actually the same one that works in Maalox - there's just a little more of it.
After researching online about the "Magic" mixture (still uncertain), I discovered that there are many different recipes for the mouthwash. The usual concoction contains diphenhydramine (the active ingredient in Children's Benedryl) for pain relief, and an antacid for coating the mouth and throat. Some even have anti-fungal or corticosteroids to prevent secondary infections (such as Hydrocortisone, or Tetracycline). If you try something with a prescription medicine, be sure to clear it through your doctor, though... and beware - the Tetracycline caused complaints of stained teeth.
I read through all of the comments and recipes I found on a mouth ulcer website that was supposedly written by a pharmacist, and found that the recipe my doctor gave me was the least strong of the bunch. Many of the people commenting said that the doctor even told them that the child could drink part or all of the brew after swishing with it. Since Morgan had taken a Zyrtec and I wasn't sure how two antihistamines would work in her system, I only let her swallow a tiny bit of it so that the very base of her throat would be coated (usually where the pain is the worst).
Before she took it, I had her drink 8 oz of water (required by the medication if you drink it), and had her gargle with hot salt water to clean and comfort her throat. She protested, but was thankful I made her do it - saying that it really felt good (a huge thing for someone who couldn't sleep because of throat pain). Then I mixed the "Magic Mouthwash" and let her gargle most of it and drink the last swig.
She complained after she did it that it made her tongue numb and her throat was stinging, tingling, and more painful. We thought maybe the 'magic' mouthwash was just a snake-oil hoax. However, within five minutes, she could hardly feel her throat ... which gave her the peace she needed to get uninterrupted sleep... and let her throat have time to heal. This morning she said she only has a scratchy throat and feels a lot better. The pain is gone.
I tried the stuff on myself this morning since I awoke with a scratchy throat again (the oak pollen around here is thick enough to cut with a knife). I wasn't thrilled with the taste of the stuff (Cherry flavored kid medicine has always grossed me out), but the Milk of Magnesia really makes the flavor more mild. Morgan says it almost tastes like 'bubble gum', but I didn't think so. I can say this: after a few minutes, I was GLAD I used it!
Here's the recipe for our Magic Mouthwash:
1 Part Milk of Magnesia (2 tsp - for her weight and age. She could have swallowed up to 1 tablespoon of this, but to create the mixture we only needed 2 teaspoons.)
1 Part Children's Benedryl (2 tsp - for her weight and age. This was the maximum dosage she could have swallowed if she hadn't taken a Zyrtec.)
1 Part (or a little less) of water (1.5 tsp - to make it easier to stir and mix)
I guess it lives up to it's name. I think having your sore throat eased really is magic. I sure wish I had known about it a long time ago. These over the counter remedies are always around in my house. Now that we know how to make it, we'll be saving ourselves a lot of money on throat spray and cough drops.
Note: I'm not a doctor and you should always check with your physician or pharmacist before taking any medication or giving it to your children. Please be careful!