Category Archives: Acetaminophen


Everyone now knows how important it is to limit sun exposure, especially in children. Being exposed to the sun’s rays can lead to skin damage and skin cancer later in life. It’s very important, then, to use sunscreen and to cover up while in the sun, and to limit exposure when possible.

Even so, just about every child will get sunburned at some point, and experience pain, blisters, or worse. When that happens, what should you do?

According to this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

“The signs of sunburn usually appear six to twelve hours after exposure, with the greatest discomfort during the first twenty- four hours. If your child’s burn is just red, warm, and painful, you can treat it yourself. Apply cool compresses to the burned areas or bathe the child in cool water. You also can give acetaminophen to help relieve the pain. (Check the package for appropriate dosage for her age and weight.)

“If the sunburn causes blisters, fever, chills, headache, or a general feeling of illness, call your pediatrician. Severe sunburn must be treated like any other serious burn, and if it’s very extensive, hospitalization sometimes is required. In addition, the blisters can become infected, requiring treatment with antibiotics. Sometimes extensive or severe sunburn also can lead to dehydration and, in some cases, fainting (heatstroke). Such cases need to be examined by your pediatrician or the nearest emergency facility.”

In our office we sometimes get requests for Silvadene (silver sulfadiazine) for sunburn or other burns, but we no longer use that topical medication. There are other products that are better, more effective, and easier to use at home.

Burns of any kind are no fun. Protect your child from the sun when possible. Use the AAP’s advice above when there’s a sunburn, and contact our office if necessary.

© 2016, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

Fifth disease: What is it? When to call the doctor.


Fifth disease was given its name because it’s the fifth in a list of viruses that can cause rashes in children (the other four are chicken pox, rubella, measles and roseola). Its other name is Parvovirus B19. This might sound a little scary to you, since you may have heard of a canine parvovirus that is very serious for dogs. While in the same family as the canine virus, Parvovirus B19 is only a human virus and cannot be transmitted either from dogs to people or from people to dogs. In children, Parvovirus B19—fifth disease—is relatively common and generally quite benign.


Fifth disease in children is not usually dangerous, unless the child has anemia or an autoimmune disease. It’s contagious through the droplets of coughing and sneezing or through saliva (or from a pregnant mother to her fetus), and can show up 4 to14 days after exposure. Frequent hand washing is the best way to reduce the spread of viruses.


The first symptoms are similar to those of a cold: runny nose; mild fever; itching; soreness; headache. A few children experience achy joints.


After a week or so, a red rash may appear on the cheeks. It may, over the next few days, also appear on the torso and arms, buttocks and thighs. Within another week, the rash will likely fade. It might return, even months later, when the child gets overheated. By the time the rash appears, the child is no longer contagious.


When should you call our office? If your child has anemia, especially sickle cell anemia, or an autoimmune condition, call right away. Fifth disease can be dangerous for these patients. Also, if your child develops joint swelling or if symptoms worsen over time instead of improving, call us.


In normal cases, we treat symptoms with acetaminophen to reduce fever, or antihistamines to control itching. However, sickle cell patients and some others may need to be hospitalized because the blood counts can be seriously compromised. A pregnant woman with fifth disease should also be seen by a physician, because serious complications can occur.


Most of the information in this article came from the American Academy of Pediatrics article on the subject, which you can read here.


Fifth disease is more common late winter through spring, so you may want to keep an eye out for it this time of year. The good news is that most children will develop only mild symptoms that will go away without treatment.




© MBS Writing Services, 2015, all rights reserved



Be careful to give accurate dosage amounts to children


A new study in Pediatrics, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), shows that a surprisingly large percentage of adults give the wrong dosages of medications to children and infants.


Incorrect dosages can be harmful, even dangerous.  When the pediatrician writes a prescription or recommends an over-the-counter drug, they take into account a child’s health, age, size and other factors, including other medications he may be taking.  It’s important to be accurate when dispensing those meds.


The main problem, according to the study, has to do with measuring.


  • Adults who measured with teaspoons and tablespoons were twice as likely to make errors as those who used milliliters as their measuring standard.
  • Never just pull out a spoon from your flatware or plastic ware to measure medicine.  These spoons can vary widely in the amount of liquid they hold.
  • Purchase a measuring instrument (dropper or spoon) in the pharmacy department of your discount or grocery store.  Make sure it uses milliliters for measurement.
  • Measure accurately.
  • Keep a written record of when you’ve given a medication and how much.  Many people unintentionally create problems when one person in the household dispenses a drug, not knowing that someone else has already given the medicine.


If you’re ever unsure about a dosage, call your pediatrician’s office.  Safety with drugs, whether prescription or OTC, is essential.


© 2014, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved


A new take on whether or not to give Tylenol (Acetaminophen) right before or after a vaccination

A new study has pediatricians (including us) rethinking previous recommendations about acetaminophen and vaccinations.

Often, children get a slight fever after a vaccination.  This is a normal response of the immune system, reacting to the presence of something new in the body.  Physicians have long recommended taking acetaminophen before, and every four hours for the first 24 after a vaccination to prevent or reduce fever and make the child more comfortable.

The study, reported in The Lancet, finds that giving acetaminophen does indeed decrease fever after the vaccination.  But there was an unexpected finding:  acetaminophen appears also to reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.

More studies are required, and the reasons behind this lowered effectiveness are not fully understood.  However, for now we believe it is best NOT to give doses of acetaminophen right before or within the first 24 hours after the vaccine.  If, though, your child exhibits a fever of 101º or above, or experiences soreness, then it’s okay to give a small amount to ease those symptoms.

Speaking of amounts, Tylenol and other makers/distributors of acetaminophen have recently changed the concentration of their product for infants.  It’s now the SAME as the concentration for children, but the dosage is of course smaller.  So be sure not to use a medicine dropper from an old infant Tylenol bottle with the new infant Tylenol concentration.

Always check dosing instructions on any over the counter medication.

Stay healthy, and don’t forget to keep your immunizations up to date!

Corinne, age 3

Corinne, age 3


© 2013, Melissa Bane Sevier