First of all, I have previously worked as a Pharmacy Assistant. I’ve been the person on the pharmacy counter asking you the basic questions as to whether or not it is absolutely necessary from a Pharmacy shop’s point of view to give your child Panadol or not. And a good Pharmacy Assistant does ask you a series of questions and even escalates it to the Pharmacist if it is required.

Whether you know it as Panadol, Panamax, Tylenol, Paracetamol or Acetaminophen, we’re talking about the same thing. There’s going to be situations of urgency when it could be a matter of life or death if a child or infant’s fever is not reduced quickly enough. There’s going to be situations of complicated medical conditions where it’s unavoidable for certain purposes. It’s always best to have gone through the professional assessment and advice of a Doctor or Pharmacist and use the medicine as prescribed.

Having all of that being said, there’s certainly some voices out there making correlations between the perhaps over-usage of this drug and later onset development of Autism in children.

Yet when a child has a fever, what are your options? Even if you choose another pharmaceutical, S2 drug that may be Nurofen, Ibuprofen, Advil – often recommended as an alternating prescription with Panadol/Paracetamol – it’s got plenty of other potentially ‘harmful’ correlations too. (Kidney damage, and other side effects, etc).

I’m not going to discuss natural options for emergency care. If the child is in an emergency situation, CALL EMERGENCY (000 in Australia).

If you have the time, however, if it is not an urgent situation, perhaps you are sitting down somewhere reading this article and a fever has not even happened. Perhaps you can keep it in mind to PREVENT a fever before it catches or escalates, as much as possible.

That being said, it could still be part of a child’s natural development to experience fevers and strengthen their own immune system as their bodies are exposed to different bacteria or viruses in their environment. Many factors come into play including stress levels and severity/strength of the particular strain of bug. (Here’s an easy to read article about children’s fevers and your assessment options as a parent).

Nutritionally, almost everyone is aware of Vitamin C to support one’s immune system and trying to prevent a typical flu (& fever) from even happening. (Right? Or do we need a link? Quick Google?) Yet dosage, frequency, and for each child’s individual situation is again, a variable factor. If it’s not an emergency, Vitamin C is easily obtained from citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons. (& Acerola Cherries).

Other Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables include:

  • Berries
  • Kiwifruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Sprouts
  • Red, Yellow & Green Capsicum

(healthdirect.gov.au)

If we can prevent a fever, if we can avoid the need for and use of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen; perhaps, we may also be reducing the subsequent statistical theoretical risk of causing Autism in our children.

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Photo by Charity Beth Long on Unsplash

Now, how might have this theory revolving Paracetamol and Autism even have been derived and is getting passed around the Internet in such a frenzy?

One particular voice I do subscribe to, is Dr Erika Krumbeck’s newsletters on Naturopathic Pediatrics, and I can’t even explain it in better words than she does on her blog post about this very topic. There she explains the Glutathione pathway and the correlation between Paracetamol/Acetaminophen use and consequential development of Autism in children. — I’d also like to add, as she puts in her own disclaimer, if you already have a child with Autism and you are reading these articles, please do not place more guilt on yourselves.

One particular piece of research which I do find interesting were conclusions from a study conducted in 2008, correlating Paracetamol use after vaccination and later development of Autism. It is a very small cohort study and based on parental surveys, and almost 10 years ago now.

If you wish to know my thoughts and opinions about Vaccination? (That’s for another post another day)… I would recommend, however, doing some homework. And I do respect such sites online as fearlessparent.org (American though, not exactly Australian rules)…

So, I don’t have any conclusions with this post. I was simply putting the question out there.

Also I have only gone into fever response briefly, haven’t even touched on pain relief. (Let’s save that for another day’s blog!)

Hope you’ve enjoyed this tiny bit of critical enquiry. (I could probably have tagged this post “Critical Thinking for Parents” or something along those lines).

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