Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Feverall) and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) are medications used for treating pain and fever in infants, children and adults. The dosing of these medications is based on WEIGHT, not age. Make sure that you know your child’s weight before consulting this document. Fever is not dangerous, as long as the condition causing it (such as a virus) is not dangerous. We recommend only treating a fever if it is greater than 100.5 and the child is uncomfortable, or if you are putting a child to bed knowing their low-grade fever is likely to rise.
Temperature in infants under 12 weeks of age is most accurately measured by a rectal thermometer. Temporal thermometers(used over the forehead)can be used after 12 weeks, and ear thermometers after 6 months. Axillary (under the arm) temperatures are acceptable for children 2 months of age and older. Oral thermometers are useful only when a child can hold the instrument under her tongue for several minutes without biting(usually after age 5.)
We recommend starting with the appropriate dose of acetaminophen. If the fever is greater than 102.5, and has not decreased an hour after treatment, you may supplement with a dose of ibuprofen. Acetominophen and ibuprofen are different types of medications, thus may be used together without adverse effect. However, we only recommend using them in tandem for persistently high fevers or discomfort. In these situations, you can alternate the medications using each type every 6 hours, but alternating every 3 hours. For example, Acetaminophen at 12 noon, Ibuprofen at 3 pm, Acetaminophen at 6 pm, Ibuprofen at 9 pm. This helps avoid spikes in the child’s fever as the medication wears off. Neither medication should be used more than 4 times a day, nor should you continue this pattern for more than 24 hours without consulting you physician.
Acetaminophen suppositories are available as Feverall without a prescription at your pharmacy. These are useful for children who are vomiting, or refuse to take oral medications. Lubricate the suppository with a little Vaseline or diaper cream, and insert in your child’s rectum with them lying on their side, knees to the chest. Hold the buttocks closed for a few minutes to assure absorption.
Never give these medications to an infant less then 8 weeks of age without first consulting your pediatrician.
Always use the measuring device included with your medication. Tylenol Infant Drops include a dropper or syringe inside the package. Children’s Tylenol Suspension or Liquid comes with a special dosage cup in the package. If you misplace the cup or dropper, please call the office or your pharmacist for advice. Do not use kitchen spoons or attempt to “eyeball” the correct amount. The dosage is very specific and too much can cause problems.
Always consult our office or your pharmacist before giving these medicines if you are giving any other medications, especially over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as cold medicine. Most OTC cold medicines already contain Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, which could lead to overdose if given along with other Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen containing products.