Deciding the best medicine to give your child for a mild fever or cold can often be difficult for parents
A leading doctor is warning mums and dads that giving children paracetamol-based medicines too often could lead to serious health problems.
Professor Alastair Sutcliffe, a paediatrician at University College London, has said that youngsters are wrongly being given the medicine for mild fevers.
Speaking to The Sunday Times he said: “Parents are using paracetamol too permissively.
“They seem to fear fever as an illness, per se, which it is not.
“There is evidence that the excess usage of paracetamol is associated with increased rates of asthma, increased rates of liver damage, but less widely known, kidney and heart damage.”
Guidelines from manufacturers Johnson & Johnson state that children should not be given more than four doses of Calpol a day.
This counts as one 5ml teaspoon for children aged six to eight, one and a half for those between eight and ten and two for the over-tens.
Pharmacist Steve Tomlin from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society agreed saying: “You only need two or three days giving an extra dose or two above what is recommended, and it is not such a safe drug and can start hitting the liver.”
The warning comes after a charity survey found that child health has become subject to a ‘postcode lottery’.
The report by the National Children’s Bureau analysed data from Public Health England and found 51 per cent of five-year-olds in Leicester have tooth decay compared with 9.5 per cent of five-year-olds in West Sussex.
But it concluded that poor early health was not inevitable for children growing up in deprived areas.
Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said: “Government must make it a national mission over the next five years to ensure that the health and development of the first five years of a child’s life is improved.”
If you’re worried about your child’s health, click here for advice.