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Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza) and Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers

Read more about Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers.

Overview

These drugs reduce both pain and fever, common symptoms of cold and flu:

  • Aspirin (Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's syndrome. Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.)
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen

While fevers may be unpleasant, they are part of the body's attempt to rid itself of the offending virus. Fever reduction may not be all that beneficial in some cases.

Prescription pain relievers, like codeine, do not lower fever. Codeine also suppresses coughing.

Effect of Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers on Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)

Pain relievers and fever reducers help treat some of the most common symptoms associated with the cold and flu.

How to Use Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers

A combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be more effective in reducing fever than acetaminophen alone. Talk to your doctor before combining medication or giving medication to your child. In some cases, fever reduction may not be all that beneficial, since fever helps fight off the infection.

Side Effects and Warnings

Possible side effects of aspirin include:

  • Stomach irritation, ulceration, and bleeding
  • Allergic reactions
  • Kidney damage (very rare)
  • Liver damage (very rare)

(Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's syndrome. Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.)

Possible side effects of acetaminophen include:

  • Allergic reactions that damage blood cells or cause rashes
  • Overdoses can damage the liver or kidneys

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