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The majority of sick children receive paracetamol during the winter

, : The majority of sick children receive paracetamol during the winter. Danish Medical Journal 59(12): A4555-A4555

Even though fever is a common symptom in childhood, it often worries parents and they may try to reduce discomfort by giving the child paracetamol, which is currently the most commonly sold over-the-counter medicine. The objective of this study was to investigate parent-administered paracetamol in toddlers during a winter-period in relation to symptoms, doctor contacts and severity-rated illness. The study was conducted as a prospective diary study covering a three-month winter-period. It comprised a cohort of 183 infants born in February 2001 in a district of the capital area in Denmark. According to the parents, a total of 119 toddlers (65%) received paracetamol at least once during the study period; 9.3% of the toddlers received paracetamol for more than ten days. The administration of paracetamol rose as the number of symptoms increased. Paracetamol was given in 37% of days with fever. The most frequent combinations of symptoms to trigger paracetamol administration were fever and earache with a probability of 64%. For the symptoms of vomiting and earache, the probability was 60%. In the rare cases with monosymptomatic fever, some 23% used paracetamol. The majority of ill toddlers received paracetamol if they had several symptoms. However, paracetamol was administrated in 37% of days with fever. This use of paracetamol seems reasonable as the parents differentiate between degrees of illness and withhold paracetamol until the second day of the illness episode.


PMID: 23290291

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