How to Alternate Tylenol & Motrin for a Fever

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When your child has a medium to high fever–usually 101 degrees F or higher, some pediatricians recommend alternating Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen) to help reduce the fever. Each medication has different timing for the doses, which can confuse parents who are worried about over medicating their children. Laramie Pediatrics in Laramie, Wyo., points out that the two drugs are different types of medicine, so it’s OK to use them together, even giving the two medications at the same time.

Step 1

Follow the directions of your pediatrician or the manufacturer’s package to give the correct dose of each medicine. Give your child a single dose of both Tylenol and Motrin at the same time.

Step 2

Give your child more Tylenol every four hours.

Step 3

Give your child Motrin every six hours.

Step 4

Monitor your child’s fever to see if it’s going down. If the fever goes down, you can stop giving the medication. Continue to monitor the fever in case it goes back up without the medication.

Warnings

  • There’s a difference between children’s and infant’s medicine. Be sure you are purchasing the correct version for your child’s age.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics does not have a specific recommendation to use both Tylenol and Motrin for fever reduction. You may be able to reduce a fever with only one medication.

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