May 07, 2015 8:00 AM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

Your child wakes up in the middle of the night with a fever. You reach for a bottle of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to find the correct dosage to administer and read, “Children under 12 years: Ask a doctor.” Here, Cindy Gellner, MD, a pediatrician at University of Utah Health, shares the dosage guidelines for these two common drugs.  

Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen?

Acetaminophen tends to work better for headaches. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation and usually works better after vaccines and to ease the pain of sore throats.

“Both medications reduce fever, but by 2 degrees at the most,” Gellner says. “Remember that fever is the body’s way of fighting off an infection. Instead of worrying solely about the number the thermometer reads, focus on how your child looks and acts, and whether he or she is hydrated.”

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