Being given Calpol (and other paracetamol-based medicines such as Disprol) too often could lead to serious health issues in later life, reported The Sunday Times.
Alastair Sutcliffe, a leading paediatrician at University College London, said parents were "overusing" paracetamol to treat mild fevers. In these cases the risk of developing asthma is increased, as are the chances of organ damage.
"Parents are using paracetamol too permissively," said Sutcliffe. "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 (sic)."
Sutcliffe's statement is backed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
A common mistake is continuously giving the paracetamol at high doses, said Steve Tomlin, pharmacist and spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. "Children often go from one care setting to another — with the grandparents, or school — and the chances of them getting extra doses might be quite high," he said. "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."
This warning is sure to cause concern among parents who regularly administer Calpol and other paracetamol-based medicines to their kids with the best of intentions. So what's the right thing to do?
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