Paracetamol is a typical painkiller for kids. It’s frequently used to treat migraines, stomachache, ear infection, and cold side effects. It is also commonly used to bring down high temperature (fever) in children.
Paracetamol comes in the form of tablets or as a syrup.
Paracetamol additionally comes as suppositories (medication that is pushed delicately into a kid’s bottom). Suppositories are useful to relieve pain and a high temperature in children who find it difficult to swallow tablets or syrup, or who are being sick a lot.
Dosage and how often to give it
Paracetamol tablets, syrup and suppositories come in a range of strengths. Children need to take a lower dose than adults, depending on their age.
Ask your doctor or a pharmacist for advice if your child is small or big for their age and you’re not sure how much to give.
How much paracetamol is dangerous?
Are you doing any of the following?
➡️ Do you give paracetamol on a regular basis without first checking the body temperature?
➡️ Do you give paracetamol to ‘prevent’ the onset of fever?
➡️ Do you give paracetamol at a higher dosage than recommended for a ‘better’ effect?
➡️ Do you give paracetamol when your child feels warm despite a normal temperature reading?
➡️ Do you give paracetamol when your child is down with a cold?
If you have said YES to any of these, you are unfortunately ABUSING the use of paracetamol. Paracetamol is not a wonder drug. It does not kill viruses or bacteria nor does it shorten the duration of an illness.
Although paracetamol can be bought over the counter, but this does not mean that it is a safe drug especially when used frequently or for prolonged period of time.
It is a known fact that paracetamol is the most common medication causing serious damage to the liver when in excess. Sometimes the damage can be so severe that a liver transplant is needed.
So what else can you do to bring down fever besides giving fever reducing medicine?
✳️Wear lightweight breathable clothes so that excess heat is not trapped in the body.
✳️ Frequently offer your child fluids – water,cool juices, soup to prevent dehydration.
✳️Take a lukewarm bath or sponging to bring down the body heat fast.
✳️ While sleeping, cover with a light sheet.
✳️ Apply cool packs e.g Kool Fever over the neck, wrists, underarms, inner thighs or ankles.
Here is my take on this. Just like all medicines, use paracetamol wisely and only when it is indicated. Paracetamol is not a friend in need but instead a hidden enemy when used injudiciously.
Paracetamol causes most liver failure in US and UK BMJ 2006 Mar 18;332(7542):628
Dr. JoAnn Rajah is a child specialist that provides pediatric care to baby and children in Selangor and KL. Her core strength lies in diagnosing early signs of child health issues and guiding parents on how to manage them.