In the world of pediatric medicine, two commonly used medications for pain relief and fever control in children are paracetamol (commonly marketed as Calpol) and ibuprofen (most commonly sold as Nurofen). These medications work in different ways but both provide effective relief for children.
When it comes to fevers, it’s important for parents to remember that it’s the child’s well-being that should be the focus, rather than solely relying on the temperature reading. For instance, if the thermometer shows a reading above 38°C but the child is in good spirits, there may be no immediate need for medication. Conversely, if the child is experiencing pain but the temperature is within normal range, attempting a dose of paracetamol could be beneficial.
Paracetamol is often the first choice for children. It is important to note that ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that is primarily eliminated from the body through the kidneys. This means extra caution is needed when using ibuprofen, especially if there are symptoms of dehydration such as vomiting or diarrhea, as it may risk causing kidney damage.
It is also worth mentioning that paracetamol and ibuprofen can be given together without any interactions between the two. There are situations, particularly in the case of injuries, where both medications may be recommended. However, it is crucial to administer each medication separately and to avoid overdosing the child.
To ensure accurate dosing, it is highly recommended to use the dosing syringe that often comes with the medication packaging. The dosing recommendation on the packaging should be carefully followed. Paracetamol can be given up to four times daily, ideally spaced evenly every six hours. If there is a four-hour gap between doses, make sure not to exceed the maximum number of doses within a 16-hour period and wait for an eight-hour gap before starting the four doses again.
On the other hand, ibuprofen can be given up to three times per day, preferably every eight hours. If dosed after six hours, a gap must be left as mentioned above. It may be helpful to keep a record of each administered dose on a piece of paper placed near the medication cabinet to ensure adherence to the recommended doses and time intervals.
If the child’s condition does not improve after three days or if there are any concerns, it is best to consult a healthcare professional or contact the family’s general practitioner for further assessment and guidance.
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