PARACETAMOL THERAPY FOR CHILDREN

Over the years, paracetamol has been one of the most used drugs on children. Most parents tend to administer it to their children, with or without a doctor’s prescription. Is this act right? Is it wrong? Check here!

This article doesn’t aim at castigating parents, rather it aims at giving parents an insight into what paracetamol is and its uses, the right dosages to administer and possible side effects.

What is paracetamol for children?

Paracetamol is a form of safe medication that can be administered to babies and children. Paracetamol is like the most popular go to drug of parents when they notice any form of discomfort in their children.

This drug is given to children either at the early stage of an illness when doctors aren’t reachable or to relieve children from any form of pain. The pains may include; toothaches, sore throat and headache.

Paracetamol for children may not be used to treat mild fever, unless it persist which in most cases, is advisable to consult a doctor.

When does my child need paracetamol?

  • Paracetamol can be given to children experiencing pains
  • In cases where fever is discomfiting and temperature is over 38.5oc
  • Paracetamol shouldn’t be given to children before, or immediately after administering any kind of vaccination. However, in cases where the child is experiencing severe pain and appears to be uneasy, paracetamol can be given. Nonetheless, it is still advisable to seek the help of a doctor to be on the safe side.
  • Babies that are less than two month old should not be given paracetamol unless prescribed by the doctor.

Note that giving paracetamol in the wrong dosage might not cause any harm but it can reduce the drug’s activity. After giving paracetamol to a child, it is advisable that the child is put to rest. The child is expected to feel better after 30minutes to an hour after taking the drugs. See the doctor if symptoms persist. For more details, visit: https://www.nmnationalcouncil.org/diarrhea-complications-side-effects-for-patients-families/

What are the forms in which paracetamol can be given?

Paracetamol are available in three different forms, namely;

  1. Tablets/capsules/pills- to be taken orally. Usually small and easily swallowed with or without water or any other suitable fluid. Tablets are produced in strengths, usually 500mg.
  2. Liquids/syrups- this form of paracetamol is available in two strengths. The lower strength is 120mg in a 5ml bottle, while the higher strength is 250mg in 5ml.
  3. Suppository: this might be the most uncomfortable form of paracetamol as it is taken through the anus. Just make sure to follow instructions on the packet before administering.

What is the right dosage to give children and how often?

  • Paracetamol for children must be taken in lower dosages than adults. For tablets, depending on the strength, follow the prescription of the pharmacist.
  • For the liquid form, syrup should be given according to age. Infant syrup is of strength 120mg in 5ml and is for children between ages 2months to 6years.

Paracetamol for children can be given four times in 24hours at four hours interval. Remember that if pain or fever persist, the child should be taken to the hospital for better treatment.

Can I Take Paracetamol When I’m Pregnant?

Paracetamol is considered by numerous people to be a safe and effective medication, but should all pregnant women avoid taking paracetamol? Several women avoid any type of drugs during pregnancy, but several seek treatments with over-the-counter pain relievers to fight morning sickness.

What Is Paracetamol?

Paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) is a medication used to fever and treat pain. It is usually used to relieve mild to moderate pain. There is evidence of its use to relieve fever in children. It is usually sold in combination with other medications like some cold medications.

Also, paracetamol is used for severe pain, such as pain after surgery and cancer pain, in combination with opioid pain medications. It is usually used rectally or orally, however, it is available by injection into a vein as well. The effects last between two and four hours.

Can I Take Paracetamol When I Am Pregnant?

The National Health Service (NHS) reports that if a mother experiences pain during pregnancy, paracetamol is generally a safe painkiller. But women should seek out medical advice from their GP or midwife before taking paracetamol. Paracetamol is the treatment of choice to relieve mild or moderate pain and reduce fever for pregnant women who experience pain during any stage of pregnancy.

On the other hand, the lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest possible period as is the case with any medication taken during pregnancy. Whether the recommended dose is not enough to relieve symptoms, you should seek more advice from the attending physician or midwife. More details!

Can It Affect My Baby’s Fertility?

A recent study from the University of Edinburgh found that taking these common painkillers can affect the fertility of an embryo. It observed the effects of paracetamol and ibuprofen on samples of ovaries and human fetal testes. The ovaries exposed to paracetamol for a week showed 40% less egg-producing cells.

After they were exposed to ibuprofen, the number of cells was reduced by half. There are implications for children also since when both analgesics were introduced into testicular tissue, it produced a quarter less of sperm-producing cells.

Combined Paracetamol and Caffeine Tablets

The National Health Service does not recommend using a table that combines paracetamol and caffeine. In addition to raising the risk of miscarriage, a high intake of caffeine can cause low birth weight, which is associated with an increased risk of health problems later in life. Caffeine consumption does not need to be completely avoided, but the National Health Service recommends limiting it to 200 mg daily.

What about Ibuprofen?

The recommendations on the use of ibuprofen are various and just depend on the stage of pregnancy.

Medications Generally Should Be Avoided

In general, the use of any medication during pregnancy should be avoided, particularly during the first trimester. Minor pains and colds generally do not require medication, but women who feel they should take it should first consult their midwife, GP or local pharmacy. You can also seek advice by calling emergency services. Check out this site: https://www.wikihow.com/Recover-from-Food-Poisoning-Fast