The majority of sick children receive paracetamol during the winter

Ruth Kirk Ertmann, Janne Julie Møller, Frans Boch Waldorff, Volkert Siersma, Susanne Reventlow, Margareta Söderström

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


INTRODUCTION: 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.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: 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.

RESULTS: 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.

CONCLUSION: 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.

TidsskriftDanish Medical Journal
Udgave nummer12
Sider (fra-til)A4555
StatusUdgivet - 2012


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