With supply chain issues combining with the RSV/COVID/Flu trifecta sweeping the country, children’s medications like Tylenol & Motrin are in short supply. If you can’t find meds and your child is sick, this can be extremely stressful. Below, we ask Dr. Jen Trachtenberg, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor Pediatrics at Mount Sinai and owner, Carnegie Hill Pediatrics in New York City, to answers our questions about this situation. Remember, always ask your pediatrician for guidance, particularly when it comes to medication.
If your baby or child has a fever, is either medication fine to use?
Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) can be given to babies 2 months and up (if younger, consult pediatrician) and Ibuprofen is approved children 6 months and older .
What should you do if you’re conserving meds and your child has a fever?
There’s a lot of misinformation regarding fever. It is not always necessary “to bring the fever down”. Fever is the body’s response to infection and inflammation and not a disease. In fact the body is fighting off the infection at these elevated temperatures.
It’s recommended to treat the child, not the number on the thermometer. A child who is happy, consolable, playing and drinking fluids doesn’t need to be given a fever reducer. In most instances there is no need for every 4-6 hour treatment or alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen which often leads to overdosing.
Also give the correct dosage and if unsure consult your pediatrician. The AAP has free dosing charts for Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen.
What are some natural ways to lower a fever?
Other ways to help comfort a feverish child are giving lots of fluids, popsicle, light breathable fabrics, a fan and if child likes, a luke warm bath.
What are some signs that a fever warrants going to the ER?
Fever in a child less than 3 months old should be evaluated right away by pediatrician. An older infant and child can wait a few days to be seen unless they have wheezing, difficult breathing, dehydration, seizure, unknown rash, severe vomiting for over 24 hours or is inconsolable or extremely lethargic.
Can you cut an adult pill in half in a pinch?
There are children’s chewable varieties available as well as liquid [so try those first]. Remember to look for generic equivalent and store brands fever reducers in liquids as well for children. If needed you can use an adult tablet (not capsule) and cut in half using a pill cutter for accuracy, but this is a last resort.