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Differences in ibuprofen and acetaminophen

 

When parents bring their children to the doctors’, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “What medication can we give our children at home?” Children can generally be given over the counter (OTC) medication to safely reduce pain, fever and inflammation. Among the many medications that are available over the counter, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are usually the ones parents try before bringing their children to the doctor’s office. It is very important for parents to know the difference between these two medications.

Acetaminophen (paracetamol)
(Brand name: Tylenol, APAP, MAPAP, Little fevers, etc.)

  • This medication inhibits synthesis of prostaglandins in the central nervous system, which reduces the effects of pain. It also acts as a fever reducer by targeting the hypothalamic heat-regulating center. This action helps disperse heat. When taken orally, people usually feel relief in less than one hour and it lasts four to six hours. This medication is primarily absorbed in the small intestine and is eliminated in urine.
  • Acetaminophen can be taken with or without food. It should be taken with food if an upset stomach occurs. Children can use it as suppository rectally. In general, acetaminophen can be given to infants younger than 6 months. Continue Reading »

Should she stay or should she go? When to keep kids home from school

Isn’t it hard sometimes to know when to keep your child home from school? It surely is a common question we get at NurseDirect on early school mornings. Kids can be sick during the night but feel fine by morning and a parent wonders what to do. Here are some guidelines to help with your decision making:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea: Keep children home until 24 hours free of episodes. An occasional episode of vomiting can be just a fluke, perhaps something just not sitting right, but a second time is grounds for staying home. Diarrhea and school don’t mix.
  • Sore throat: This a tough one. A minor sore throat can go to school but if it’s accompanied with stomach upset, headache or fever you should keep your child home.
  • Rashes: Many rashes are contagious, especially a generalized one that’s coupled with a fever. In these cases keep the kids home. A localized rash such as ringworm can go to school if covered.
  • Lice: These children need to stay home until treated and completely nit free.
  • Cold symptoms: Mild runny nose and cough can go to school. Children who’ve been up all night coughing should stay home, as they are most likely too tired to focus at school. Continue Reading »

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