Zyrtec For Kids: Dosage, Uses And Side Effects To Consider

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Zyrtec for kids is available for oral intake as tablets, dissolving tablets, chewable tablets, and syrups. It is also available as grape- or bubble-gum-flavored chewable tablets or syrup for convenience. Effects of Zyrtec in children may begin within an hour after intake and last for about a day (12-24 hours).

Zyrtec, commonly known by the generic name cetirizine, is a non-drowsy antihistamine prescribed to reduce the effects of the chemical histamine in the body. Histamine causes symptoms such as swelling, itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes that are commonly seen in allergies and colds. It is also used for treating chronic urticaria (hives) in children.

Read this post to know more about the dose, safety, side effects, warnings, and other common concerns about Zyrtec for children.

At What Age Can Cetirizine (Zyrtec) Be Given To A Child?

Seek a pediatrician or doctor’s prescription before giving Zyrtec to two- to six-year-old children

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Zyrtec can be safely given to children aged two years and above. The FDA disapproved of its use for infants and children younger than two years. Seek a pediatrician or doctor’s prescription before giving Zyrtec to two- to six-year-old children (1).

Cetirizine (Zyrtec) Dosage For Children

You may seek a primary care provider or pediatrician’s advice for the appropriate doses of medication based on your child’s age, weight, and health status. The following table may help you understand the dosage of cetirizine (Zyrtec) for allergy in children (1).

Child’s age (years)2-66-1112+
Liquid 5mg/ 5mL2.5mL5mL10mL
Liquid 5mg/ 1tsp (teaspoon)½tsp1tsp2tsp
Chewable 5mg tablets1 tablet2 tablets
Tablet 10mg1 tablet

The dose mentioned above is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for doctors’ prescriptions or advice.

Consult a pediatrician before giving medications to a child for allergic symptoms such as runny nose and hives. The doctor may prescribe Zyrtec based on your child’s age and the severity of symptoms.

Safe Use Of Cetirizine (Zyrtec) For Children

You may use measuring spoons to measure the medication.

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The safety and efficacy of Zyrtec are not guaranteed for children under two years of age. Take the following safety measures when giving Zyrtec to children (2):

  • Do not give cetirizine to a child with previously known hypersensitivity or allergic reactions.
  • Children with renal (kidney) impairment and liver impairment may require dose adjustment according to their condition. Zyrtec is not recommended for children with poor renal function.
  • Give the medications as per the doctor’s prescription to avoid overdosing.
  • Use syringes or droppers to measure the dose of liquid (syrup or solutions) medications.
  • You may use measuring spoons to measure the medication. Regular spoons may not be reliable.
  • Store the medication at room temperature. Do not store in hot and moisturized places.
  • Do not freeze the liquid medications.
  • Seek the pediatrician’s advice to know how often, how, and how much to give.
  • Check expiration dates while purchasing medications.
  • Read the manufacturer’s information to know about drug interactions, side effects, and warnings.
  • Do not give medications to siblings following another person’s prescription.
  • Give medications until the prescribed duration. Seek medical advice if the symptoms do not improve.
  • Keep Zyrtec out of the child’s reach.

Over-the-counter treatment is not recommended for a long duration. It is recommended to seek pediatric consultation to identify the cause of allergies and the best treatments.

Cetirizine (Zyrtec) Side Effects And Warnings In Children

Weakness could be a side effect of Zyrtec

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Some children may develop side effects such as vomiting and stomach pain after taking Zyrtec (2). Seek emergency medical help if your child shows any of the following signs of an allergic reaction after taking Zyrtec (3).

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of tongue, lips, throat, or face

Stop giving Zyrtec or cetirizine to children and contact the doctor if your child develops any of the following side effects (3).

  • Uneven, pounding, or fast heartbeat
  • Hyperactivity
  • Severe restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Sleep issues (insomnia)
  • Uncontrolled shaking (tremors)
  • Oliguria or anuria (reduced or no urination)
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems

Other common side effects of cetirizine may include (3)

  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness or lightheadedness
  • Sweating and feeling hot
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Burning pain
  • Reduced sense of taste
  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Dry mouth

Some children may experience other signs and symptoms after taking Zyrtec or cetirizine. Seek medical advice if your child has any unusual signs and symptoms after taking the medication. You can also report the side effects to the FDA (in the US) or an equivalent organization in your country.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens if my child misses a dose?

You may give the medication as soon as possible if the time for the next dose is hours away. However, skip the missed dose if it is almost time to give the next dose. Follow the prescription timings and never give two doses at the same time (4).

2. Can my child take Zyrtec and cough syrup?

You may contact the pediatrician before giving a combination of cough syrup and Zyrtec to the child. Some cough syrups may contain cetirizine or other antihistamines. So, seeking a prescription can avoid overdose and interactions. Cough syrups containing dextromethorphan (DM) may increase the chance of developing side effects if taken with cetirizine.

3. Is it okay to take Zyrtec every day?

Zyrtec may be advised regularly during seasons when allergies are common. However, do not give Zyrtec to your child for a prolonged period without the doctor’s consent.

4. Which is better, children’s Claritin or Zyrtec?

Zyrtec and Claritin are both second-generation antihistamines. However, Zyrtec may cause increased drowsiness compared to Claritin (5). Your child’s doctor may prescribe either of these medicines based on the child’s symptoms and how well they may tolerate side effects

5. Can a child take Benadryl and Zyrtec together?

No. Combining Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Zyrtec may lead to increased side effects. Also, Benadryl should be consumed every six hours, while Zyrtec dosage is required only once a day (5).

Zyrtec for kids is an antihistamine medication, most commonly prescribed for allergies and colds. However, you must give Zyrtec to your child only when prescribed by a medical professional who will guide you with the appropriate dosage and duration for effective treatment. Some children could have side effects of this medication, such as gastric issues, drowsiness, breathing difficulties, and swelling in the mouth. Ask your child to avoid activities requiring alertness after taking this medication. If you notice any adverse reactions or suspect an overdose, seek immediate medical attention.

Key Pointers

  • Zyrtec can be given to children above two years to relieve the common symptoms of colds and allergies.
  • Seek a pediatrician’s advice on the right dose for your child based on their weight and health.
  • Seek medical help if your child develops side effects such as hives, breathing trouble, and swollen lips.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Cetirizine (Zyrtec) Dose Table; St. Louis Children’s Hospital
2. Zyrtec; RXList
3. Cetirizine (Oral/Injection); C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
4. Cetirizine; National Health Service
5. When mosquitoes bite, take antihistamines for relief; University of Washington
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Dr Bisny T. Joseph

Dr. Bisny T. Joseph is a Georgian Board-certified physician. She has completed her professional graduate degree as a medical doctor from Tbilisi State Medical University, Georgia. She has 3+ years of experience in various sectors of medical affairs as a physician, medical reviewer, medical writer, health coach, and Q&A expert. Her interest in digital medical education and patient education made...
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Maria Carmela Villania-Mamauag

(MD, DPPS)
Maria Carmela Villania-Mamauag is a board certified diplomate of the Philippine Pediatric Society with a degree of Doctor of Medicine from Our Lady of Fatima University, Valenzuela City and a Bachelor in Science in Psychology from Saint Louis University, Baguio City which was augmented by a year of Bachelor in Science in Family Life and Child development at the University...
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