Choosing a medication for your little one is no small matter! Luckily, there are safe over-the-counter options. With cold and flu season on the horizon, we’re here to provide a trustworthy guide for treating your little one’s pain and fever.
Let’s start with a medication that should NEVER be given to kids less than 14 years old. Aspirin, or any other medications containing aspirin, are not safe for kids. Aspirin increases the risk of Reye’s Syndrome, a rare disorder associated with brain and liver damage that can occur during viral illnesses such as colds or the flu. Reye’s Syndrome usually only happens in kids who are given aspirin during sickness. You can protect your child from Reye’s Syndrome by avoiding aspirin.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and Ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) are safe options to provide relief of pain and fever for kids. Acetaminophen is especially good for treating fevers, and ibuprofen is especially good for pain and inflammation. It’s important to remember the following when using these medications for kids:
- Although the dosing directions on the box are often based on age, it’s best to choose the dose based on your child’s WEIGHT. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for help determining the correct dose when needed.
- Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are both dosed every 4-6 hours as needed.
- Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used together if they are staggered. For example, you can give acetaminophen at 8:00AM and NOON and give Ibuprofen at 10:00AM and 2:00PM. As long as you wait at least 4 hours before giving the next dose of the SAME medication, you will be able to give your child something for pain relief every 2 hours.
- Pay attention to the formulation. Infant’s Tylenol Drops and Children’s Tylenol Suspension are the exact same medication, whereas Infant’s Ibuprofen Drops are more concentrated than Children’s Ibuprofen Suspension. Read labels carefully to avoid dosing errors.
- Children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen are also available as chewable tablets. These work just as fast as the liquid formulations and may be a better option for older kids.
- Always use either an oral syringe or medication dosing cup to give your child their medicine. Never use household spoons, as there is no way to ensure your child is getting the right dose.
At Topeka Pharmacy, we are always happy to answer your questions and help with over-the-counter medication selection. We have free resources available at our store to help you determine the correct medication dose for your child. Stop in and pick yours up today!