Many a sleepless night has been rescued thanks to the magic of analgesic meds—but its usage comes with responsibility. Here’s out to administer paracetamol-based pain relief to your tots properly.
According to Professor Alastair Sutcliffe of University College London, dosing your child on pain meds should not be your first port of call when they seem out of sorts:
“If your child has a fever and is off food, and has not caught a known bug that’s going round,” he says, “then the first thing he or she needs is a diagnosis [from a healthcare professional]”—and not blind paracetamol.
Plenty parents also use the medicine to break a fever; but a fever doesn’t always need to be broken. A low-grade fever is the body’s natural defence against infection, helping to kill off the invaders.
“Fever is a body defence to stop bugs breeding,” says the professor. In other words, you may be extending the illness if you try to stymie the fever with meds. Instead, try to cool your child down through other means; stripping off clothing, and increasing room ventilation. Also keep in mind, though, that the body needs rest to heal, so let your child ride a mild fever during the day, but weigh up the pros and cons of a fever versus good sleep at bedtime.
Over-usage of paracetamol-based medicines is linked to kidney, heart and liver damage; but before you chuck out the bottle, bear in mind this is about chronic usage over extended periods of time.
Finally, it’s all about reading the fine print. Always read the instructions for proper dosage based on age; and only administer at the advised intervals per 24 hours. If you are sharing childcare, ensure those looking after your child are aware of when last you gave your child pain relief, so they can keep to the recommended safe schedule of dosage.