The danger of paracetamol and ibuprofen in children. 8 alternative treatments

The consumption of painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol in industrialized countries continues to increase “excessively”, as several UN reports have already warned in recent years. The WHO has also warned about the need to reduce their prescription to cases in which they are only absolutely necessary and recommends seeking alternative treatments when possible.

Giving children paracetamol and ibuprofen in combination to reduce fever is a widespread practice among parents. The popularization of this treatment responds to the erroneous belief that it is more effective and reduces the side effects of analgesics or antipyretics in minors, as most pediatricians defended until a few years ago. However, medical studies carried out so far They have not found any scientific evidence to support these theses.

The latest research on combination treatments of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, carried out jointly by the pharmacology departments of the universities of Arkansas and Kentucky, has produced even worse conclusions. Not only are they ineffective, but they “aggravate the fever and make the flu worse”, even in solution for children.

The study published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics also documents a survey with less than encouraging results: half of the parents studied gave doses that were too high of ibuprofen and paracetamol as pain relievers, which can be purchased without a prescription and are used even if the child only has a few tenths of fever. In this case, the risk of suffering from heart disease or asthma is multiplied, while it can cause damage to the liver and kidneys.

Fever as an antibody

The Spanish Association of Pediatrics itself has warned about the risks that excessive medication entails for children's health. Likewise, last June it was published in The Lancet a voluminous meta-study, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, in which conclusions was warned that excessive ibuprofen medication increases the risk of suffering a heart attack to three per thousand.

When it's just about a few tenths above normal body temperature, Fever plays the role of an antibody against infections, so trying to eliminate it with drugs such as ibuprofen could worsen the child's illness. The authors of the research conclude that only one analgesic should be administered to avoid risks and improve the effectiveness of the treatment, instead of combining them as is popularly done.

Fever is a physiological defense mechanism that can have beneficial effects against infections. “Pediatricians must teach parents so that they understand that fever, When it is not very high, it is not bad in itself if the child is healthy. “It is not a disease, but rather a physiological defense mechanism that has beneficial effects when it comes to fighting infections,” the authors state in the conclusions of the study.

There are different brands on the market indicated for different age groups, As is the case dalsy, which increases the margin of error in parents who decide to self-medicate their children, since the maximum doses vary. As with most drugs, the best option is to consult your doctor before taking them.

Alternative treatments to ibuprofen

The consumption of painkillers such as ibuprofen in industrialized countries continues to increase “excessively”, as several UN reports have already warned in recent years. The WHO has also warned about the need to reduce their prescription to cases in which they are only absolutely necessary and recommends seeking alternative treatments when possible. Especially if there is a family history or if the patient has other risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

To choose pain relievers in the most appropriate way possible, experts offer two key tips for consumers to take into account. The first is that people with chronic pain, who cannot stop taking painkillers, reduce the dose of ibuprofen and paracetamol as much as possible as well as the duration of treatment. The second piece of advice is that, if there are other risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases (smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol), a medical evaluation should be requested to determine the risks of consuming this type of drug based on the clinical history. personal and family.

Eight home remedies for fever in babies and children

  • Take off clothes so that the heat can disperse: clothing has the ability to “catch” body heat and maintain it, also preventing outside air from touching our skin and cooling us. When a child has a fever, the ideal thing is that there are no clothes to avoid all of this. The cooler they are the better, so the less clothes they wear the better.
  • Let it not be hot where the child is: if it is winter and we are at home with the heating on it could be interesting lower the temperature of the house. In summer we must take the same into account, that they are in a ventilated room, but without being in drafts or under the “jet” of the air conditioning.
  • Bathe the baby or child, leaving it to soak for a long time: the other solution to steal heat from the body is to put it in contact with water that is at a lower temperature. The change should be gradual, avoiding cold baths (there are people who do that, putting them in cold water), because they can feel terrible. The ideal is to heat the water as usual (34-36ºC) and let time pass so that the water temperature drops (playing with it, explaining things to it, etc.).
  • Use cold compresses: This is very typical and very movie-like. We can take a cloth or small towel and wet it with cold water. They are applied to the forehead, the back of the neck and the wrists and are changed as they stop working (it gets wet again). A similar effect, if the child is a little older, is put a basin with cold water to put his hands and part of his arms in. As the blood circulation passes through your hands and arms, the body's temperature drops a little (which would be a resource to avoid spending the entire day completely immersed in water).
  • Make liquid diet so that he can rehydrate: if the child is sweating due to fever, it is advisable that we hydrate him. Some children also do not want to eat much if they have a fever and may better accept a liquid diet, which will help us rehydrate them. Juices, water or broths are recommended and, in the case of babies, oral serum or breast milk (artificial if not breastfed).
  • Try let the child be calm: If the child has a high fever, it is most likely that he will not even feel like blinking. If, on the other hand, he does not have a high fever, it may be that he still has the strength to move (and move a lot) and there are many children who, even with a fever, do not stop. It is not that you have to tie them to the chair so that they do not move, but it is advisable to try to do calmer activities with children that do not cause them to increase their body temperature or sweat.
  • Send sunflower infusion: One of the properties of sunflower is to help reduce fever. Dried petals of the sunflower flower are used and an infusion is made with them. To do this, boil water, put the petals inside and let it rest for 10 minutes. The mixture is filtered and sugar or honey is added, something that gives it a little sweet flavor. The child is given a couple or three tablespoons every 8 hours.
  • Cool the child from the feet: This would be done by stealing the child's heat from below, from the soles of the feet. Many people take advantage of the summer to walk barefoot and, in contact with the cold ground (it depends on the ground you have), the heat seems to decrease a little. In addition to making him walk barefoot or putting his feet in a basin with warm to cold water for a while, we can put slices of raw potato on the soles of his feet. When they get hot, we change them for others that should continue to steal heat from your feet.

Sources and more information: migueljara,, The confidential, a half of sand,