Posts Tagged ‘acetaminophen’

Fever and your baby

Monday, July 17th, 2017

mother with sick babyWhen your baby has a fever, it can be very frightening. Here is some information that can help you better understand why your baby has a fever and what you can do to help him.

What is a fever?

A fever is a body temperature that is higher than normal. Your child’s temperature will vary with age, activity, and even the time of day. Babies have a higher temperature than older children. And everyone’s temperature is highest between late afternoon and early evening and lowest between midnight and early morning.

A normal temperature can be anywhere from 97.5°F (36.4°C) and 99.5°F (37.5°C). Most health care providers consider a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C) as a sign of a fever.

What causes a fever?

A fever is important in helping your baby or child fight an infection. If your baby has an illness of some kind, his body temperature will increase. This increase in body temperature signals certain other defenses, such as white blood cells, to work and start attacking the infection. A fever will make your baby feel uncomfortable, increase his need for fluids, and make him breathe faster and his heart beat faster.

How can I treat my baby’s fever?

First, it is important to get an accurate temperature. Feeling your baby’s forehead will not give you a precise measurement—you need to use a thermometer to get the best information. For a baby, a rectal thermometer is the most accurate way to measure temperature.

It isn’t always necessary to see your health care provider when your child has a fever. Here are some things that can help:

  • Acetaminophen (Tyleno®l) or ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) will usually bring down your baby’s temperature. But make sure you give the correct dose.
  • Do not overdress your child. Alcohol bath, ice packs, etc. are NOT recommended and should not be used.
  • Make sure your baby gets a lot of fluids to help prevent dehydration. Signs of dehydration include crying without tears, a dry mouth, and fewer wet diapers.

When should I call my baby’s provider?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should call your child’s health care provider right away if he has a fever and:

  • Is younger than 3 months (12 weeks) and has a temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher. Call even if you baby doesn’t seem sick. Babies this young can get sick very quickly.
  • Fever rises above 104°F (40°C) repeatedly for a child of any age.
  • Looks very ill, is unusually drowsy, or is very fussy.
  • Has been in a very hot place, such as an overheated car.
  • Has other symptoms, such as a stiff neck, severe headache, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, an unexplained rash, or repeated vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Has signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, sunken soft spot or significantly fewer wet diapers and is not able to take in fluids.
  • Has immune system problems, such as sickle cell disease or cancer, or is taking medications, such as steroids.
  • Has had a seizure.

Also call your child’s doctor if:

  • The fever persists for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years.
  • The fever persists for more than 3 days (72 hours) in a child 2 years of age or older.
  • Your child still “acts sick” once his fever is brought down.
  • Your child seems to be getting worse.

Have questions? Send them AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Acetaminophen and pregnancy

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

You may have heard about a recent study of pregnant women who used pain relievers with acetaminophen (like Tylenol®) and the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their children. Lots of women take acetaminophen during pregnancy to relieve pain.

Before you get alarmed, it’s important to note that the study researchers didn’t find that acetaminophen actually caused ADHD.  More research needs to be done to understand the issue. In the meantime, talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about using acetaminophen in pregnancy. And always check with your health care provider before taking any medicine while pregnant.

Store-brand infants’ acetaminophen recalled

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

The Perrigo Company, makers of several store-brand infant pain relievers and fever reducers, is recalling some of its liquid acetaminophen because the dosing syringe is missing the dose markings. The dosing syringe is used to measure how much medicine to give your baby. If the syringe is missing the dose markings, parents may give too much or too little of the medicine to their babies.

The recall affects some store-brand infants’ liquid acetaminophen (like generic Tylenol®) in 160 mg/5mL sold in 2oz and 4oz bottles. Some store-brands of infants’ liquid acetaminophen that are being recalled include Babies R Us, Care One, Rite Aid, Walgreens and more.

If you have the recalled infant acetaminophen and the syringe is missing the dose markings, stop using the product and contact Perrigo’s Consumer Affairs Department at (800) 719-9260. For a list of the recalled products and for more information, visit the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Are you ready for your baby to come home?

Friday, September 13th, 2013

mom-with-newborn-in-hospitalIf your due date is around the corner, here is a to-do list to help you prepare for your baby’s arrival.

Child safety seat: Make sure your baby’s car seat is safe and correctly installed in your car before you go to the hospital.

Crib: Choose a crib with slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. Make sure the crib isn’t painted with lead or varnish. Don’t use bumper guards on cribs because they pose a suffocation risk.

Diapers: Plan on using about 70 diapers (disposable or cloth) a week.

Layette: You won’t need a full wardrobe. Here’s the basics to get you started:

• 6 to 8 T-shirts or onesies
• 6 to 8 sleepers
• 4 to 6 pairs of booties or socks
• 4 to 6 receiving blankets
• Washcloths and towels

Medical supplies: It’s good to have these items on hand, ahead of your baby’s arrival:

• Rectal digital thermometer (not a mercury thermometer) and lubricant (petroleum jelly). A rectal digital thermometer gives the best temperature reading for newborns.
• Non-aspirin liquid pain reliever (acetaminophen) for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend any other type of pain reliever for infants up to 6 months old.
• Diaper rash ointment
• Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs to clean the umbilical cord stump
• Saline drops to help relieve a stuffy nose
• Infant nail clippers
• Suction bulb for nose

Other supplies:

• A breast pump if you want to express your milk
• Formula and bottles if you plan to feed your baby formula

Choose a health care provider: It is also helpful to choose a health care provider for your baby, before you give birth. This way you have someone to go to for your baby’s first well check visit or if he is not feeling well.

A pediatrician is a health care provider who takes care of babies and children. To find a pediatrician in your area, go to the Web site of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A family physician is a health care provider who takes care of people of all ages. To find a family physician in your area, go to the Web site of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Changes in acetaminophen dosage

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Every maker of infants’ acetaminophen products, including Infants’ TYLENOL®, is in the process of changing the amount (concentration) of acetaminophen in their medicines. Manufacturers will no longer make infant’s acetaminophen concentrated drops which have 80 mg of medicine in one full dropper (0.8 mL).  The only acetaminophen that will be available will soon be sold in one package for infants (infants’ acetaminophen oral suspension) and another for older children (children’s acetaminophen liquid).  These products will contain 160 mg of medicine in 5 mL (one teaspoon).

Some of these new products already are in stores now. So, it is especially important for parents and caregivers to take extra care when giving these medications to children.  The drops that will no longer be sold are much stronger than the products that will still be sold.  These changes are intended to standardize dosing across products and help to reduce confusion and medication errors. For more information about the changes in TYLENOL®  dosing, click on this link.

Infant drops discontinued

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Johnson & Johnson and other makers of cold and fever medications said yesterday that they will discontinue infant drops of medicines containing acetaminophen in an effort to avoid confusion that can lead to dangerous overdoses. Currently, these products come in different strengths with differently marked droppers offered by various manufacturers.  Since these products may not be the same strength, this creates the possibility of accidentally giving your baby the wrong dosage. (For example: the dropper from Product A may be totally inappropriate for use with Product B.)

Acetaminophen is a fever reducer and pain reliever widely used in over-the-counter products such as Tylenol. While generally safe when used as directed, acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S. and overdoses send more than 50,000 people to emergency rooms each year.

The industry association for over-the-counter medicine companies, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, said its members (J&J, Novartis, Procter & Gamble and makers of generic cold medicines) will begin phasing out the liquid drops later this year. Companies will then manufacture and sell only a single formula for all children under the age of 12. Future infant or child acetaminophen medications will be produced from this single formula making it much safer to guarantee appropriate dosing.

J&J stated that during the transition phase, “There may be a time period when more than one concentration of infants’ acetaminophen products will be available in stores, and parents and caregivers might have both in their medicine cabinets. Caregivers should always read and follow the dosing directions on the package they are using.”

As always, anyone caring for children should contact the child’s healthcare provider if there is any question regarding appropriate dosing.

“Child-proof” caps

Monday, December 20th, 2010

pill-bottlesAre your kids’ grandparents going to be visiting you over the holidays?  If so, they’ll be bringing their medications with them and these little bottles can be a big temptation for tiny hands.  Pill boxes come in all shapes and sizes and, for seniors who may have difficulty opening tight lids, they’re often not child-proof. This can turn into pretty poison for little ones.

Age two has proven to be the most dangerous year for children regarding accidental overdoses, according to hospital ER visits. Prescription containers with easy-open lids can be opened by a toddler in less than a minute.  The most secure bottles have the push down and twist caps.  Please make sure any visiting guests keep their medications up high, out of sight and out of reach.  This includes bottles, like cough syrup.

By the way, the most common and deadly accidental overdose involving children is with acetaminophen (Tylenol).  It’s in most houses because it works well, but it is a danger to kids.  Keep it high and away at all times.  Better yet, keep meds in a locked box or medicine cabinet.

Fever, acetaminophen and pregnancy

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

digital-thermometerFever during pregnancy can be dangerous for the baby, especially during the first trimester when the baby’s organs are taking shape. What’s a woman to do?

It’s usually best to avoid over-the-counter medications during pregnancy. This is because we often know very little about the possible harm these drugs can cause during pregnancy.

But sometimes the woman and her health care provider must weigh the possible risks with the benefits of taking a medication. When mom is sick, her illness may threaten the baby she’s carrying.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and other painkillers. It’s also used to treat fever.

A new study of over 11,000 children has found that acetaminophen taken during pregnancy did not increase the risk of birth defects. In fact, it seemed to lower the risk of birth defects when a woman had fever during the first trimester. In this research, acetaminophen was given by itself and not combined with other meds.

Taking medications during pregnancy is a balancing act. What’s the risk? What’s the benefit? Before taking any medication during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider.

The new research study appears in the January issue of the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Recall: Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Liquicaps

Monday, December 21st, 2009

dayquil-24Procter & Gamble has recalled about 700,000 packages of Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Liquicaps (24 count) because the packaging is not child-resistant. The capsules contain acetaminophen and could cause serious health problems, including death, in children.

The capsules were sold at drug stores, grocery stores and other retailers between September 2008 and December 2009.

To read more, see the news release from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Taking baby’s temperature

Friday, December 4th, 2009

7706307_thbA couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called, You can’t call-in sick when you’re a mom. Well wouldn’t you know it, I inevitably gave my daughter her first cold. That night she woke at 1am hysterically crying. I went into her room and as soon as I picked her up I knew she had a fever. She was hot to the touch. I got the thermometer out and took her temperature. Sure enough, it was 102.2. I gave her an infant dose of acetaminophen (carefully read the directions of course – how much to give depends on your babies’ weight), started the cool-mist humidifier, used some saline drops and a nasal aspirator to relieve the congestion. After hours of rocking her, she finally fell back asleep and stayed in my arms until 6am. Her fever broke by late morning, but her congestion got worse. She couldn’t even nurse. I had to pump and feed her with a medicine dropper! Am I the only one with a baby that refuses to take a bottle?

A digital thermometer can be used to take a rectal (in the bottom), oral (in the mouth), or axillary (under the arm) temperature. Your child’s doctor can recommend how to use it depending on your child’s age. Taking a rectal or oral temperature is more accurate than taking an axillary temperature.

If your child is younger than 3 years, taking a rectal temperature gives the best reading. The following is how to take a rectal temperature:

• Clean the end of the thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Rinse it with cool water. Do not rinse it with hot water.

• Put a small amount of lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, on the end.

• Place your child belly down across your lap or on a firm surface. Hold him by placing your palm against his lower back, just above his bottom. Or place your child face up and bend his legs to his chest. Rest your free hand against the back of the thighs.

• With the other hand, turn the thermometer on and insert it 1/2 inch to 1 inch into the anal opening. Do not insert it too far. Hold the thermometer in place loosely with 2 fingers, keeping your hand cupped around your child’s bottom. Keep it there for about 1 minute, until you hear the “beep.” Then remove and check the digital reading.

• Be sure to label the rectal thermometer so it’s not accidentally used in the mouth.
Mercury thermometers should not be used. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to remove mercury thermometers from their homes to prevent accidental exposure to this toxin.