4 children’s medicine pitfalls to avoid

It’s no surprise that the leading cause of anxiety for parents is caring for a sick child, and yet one in two parents could be unintentionally putting their child at risk by not fully understanding everything they need to know about pain and fever medicines. Keep your cool with these four tips from Dr. Sally Gatchalian of the Philippine Pediatric Society to help you nurse your little one back to health.

1. Children’s pain and fever medicines are NOT created equal

Contrary to popular belief, different children’s pain and fever medicines do not work in the same way, nor are they always equally safe for your child. Ibuprofen and paracetamol are two of the most commonly used over-the-counter children’s pain and fever medicines, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise caution when using them. For instance, if your child is suffering from other health conditions, such as dengue or dehydration, ibuprofen can increase the risk of side effects, and also has the potential to interact with a larger range of medicines when compared to paracetamol.

2. Avoid mixing medicines (unless directed by your doctor)

It can be risky to alternate or mix medicines when not under medical supervision. Alternating doses of different pain and fever medicines can be confusing and increase the risk that you’ll overmedicate your child. Generally, paracetamol can be safely taken with other medicines (but always read the label), but always check that the two medicines don’t both contain paracetamol, otherwise you could risk overdosing your child.

3. Children should never be given aspirin or a small dose of adult medicine–EVER!

A recent survey found that some parents have given their child aspirin or a small dose of adult medicine. Under no circumstances should children be given any medicine that’s meant for adults as it carries numerous risks, including potential unknown side effects. Aspirin should never be given to young children because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal condition that affects all organs of the body, but is most harmful to the brain and liver.

4. Be very careful with dosing

Almost one in three parents admit that preparing the correct dose of children’s medicine is very stressful. Always follow the labelled instructions and dose your child based on weight, not age, for more accuracy. Use the dosing device provided with the product. If you need help determining the right dose, a handy online dosage calculator is available here.