Sick kids sometimes need to take pills, but lots of kids (and many adults, for that matter) cannot or will not take a pill. About one in three people have problems swallowing pills.
With kids, part of the problem is that some pills and capsules are made with adult-sized throats in mind. Kids might also balk at a pill with a lousy taste. They may also start to fear the pill or the discomfort of swallowing it, which can make the whole process more of a struggle.
- Here are some tips for giving a child a pill or taking one yourself. However, as with cures for hiccups, some of these tricks work for some people and not for others.
- Don't take that lying down! Sit up straight. Sitting or standing up straight can help with the swallowing process.
- Turn your head to the side while swallowing the pill or tip your chin up.
- Use a special pill cup. One model has a spout that releases the pill when the water is sipped.
- If the pill tastes yucky, take it with a fruit juice to mask the taste.
- Adults can try the bottle method. Put the tablet or capsule on your tongue and then close your lips tightly around the mouth of a water bottle. Suck water from the bottle as you tilt your head back, which should help you swallow.
- Try leaning forward. Put the tablet and take a medium sip of water. Then, lean your head forward as you swallow.
Do not crush tablets without talking to your pharmacist or doctor first. Some tablets and capsules are extended release, which means that if they are crushed they will release too much medicine too fast. Also, some medicines taste awful when crushed.
If you or your child has a serious aversion to swallowing pills, talk to your pharmacist or doctor. Sometimes the prescription can be switched to a smaller pill or there is a liquid version you can take.