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Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen Questions and Answers
Acetaminophen (used in Tylenol) and ibuprofen (used in Advil and Motrin) are medications used to treat fever and
pain. Please be certain of the concentration of the product you are using (there are different product ones), so the
correct dose for your infant or toddler can be determined based on the concentration you are using.
When should I worry about fever?
Fever is our body’s normal response to infections and is a very common symptom of childhood illness. Fever can
help our bodies fight infection, and a fever, even a high one, is generally not harmful as long as the underlying reason
for the fever is not dangerous. There are some instances, however, when we should worry about a child’s fever.
Infants less than three months of age with a rectal temperature greater than 100.4ºF may have a serious illness;
parents should call immediately if such a fever is noted so your child can be promptly evaluated. For older infants and
children there is no specific temperature that is the sign of a serious problem; instead, our level of concern is guided
by a child’s behavior. If your child is warm or has fever but is up and playing and maintaining adequate hydration,
you do not necessarily have to give a fever-reducing medication. Any infant, child or adolescent who is apathetic,
inconsolable or looks “toxic” despite adequate doses of fever-reducing medication should be seen and evaluated. If
your child can smile and respond to you, and takes fluids well, but still seems uncomfortable, you can treat the fever
with fever-reducing medication and observe. However, if the fever persists or your child’s behavior or symptoms
change, s/he should be seen. If you have any questions about your child’s condition, please do not hesitate to call!
What medicine should I give my child for fever?
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can be used to treat fever. There is no data to suggest that
one is better than another, although some parents feel that their child responds better to one or the other. Children
must be over six months of age to be given ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). We do not generally recommend medications
that contain multiple ingredients, especially for infants and young children.
Is it safe to alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen?
Since acetaminophen and ibuprofen are different types of medications, it is generally safe to use either one at
appropriate dosages and approved intervals. If your child is still “hot” and uncomfortable after an appropriate dose of
fever-reducing medication, consider a lukewarm bath and pushing fluids for comfort.
Are there any tips for administering acetaminophen and ibuprofen?
Please note that kitchen teaspoons do not accurately measure medication. One pharmacy teaspoon is equal to 5
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Dosing Information
Give every 4-6 hours, as needed, and not more than five times in a twenty-four period unless directed by a healthcare
Children's Junior Strength
1 tablet =
1 tsp (5 mL)
1 tablet =
5 mL = 160mg
** Acetaminophen should only be given to infants 0-3 months if directed by a healthcare professional.
Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) Dosing Information
Give every 6-8 hours, as needed, and not more than four times in a twenty-four period unless directed by a
1 tablet =
1 tablet =
5.0 mL = 100 mg
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