sick crying uncomfortable baby who could use fever suppositories

Fever Suppositories: For Every Family’s Medicine Cabinet

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Really, Fever Suppositories?

Some people may feel squeamish about sticking something up their baby's rectum. But when you have a child who is violently ill with a climbing fever, making them feel better becomes your number one priority. When my first child turned a year old, he caught a nasty virus and was fevering so intensely that little red dots started appearing all over his skin. I was practically begging the pediatric ER department for something to help him. In addition to his screaming, mouth sores made it impossible for us to get him to take any oral medication. So a fever suppository was the first thing the nurses administered.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) suppositories are little white bullet-shaped pellets that contain the active ingredient acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer, and it is safe to use from 3 months old and up. The suppository shape allows for easy insertion into your baby's rectum and melts quickly in the warm temperature, minimizing any initial discomfort. The acetaminophen is more rapidly taken up by the body than oral medication. 

If your baby is vomiting and unable to hold anything down, these can be a lifesaver.

If your baby does not like taking any kind of oral syrup, these are a good alternative.

Contrary to popular thought, fever suppositories are not uncomfortable for children if used properly. In addition, they are not the same as other kinds of suppositories, which contain other medications (i.e. glycerin, for constipation). Fever suppositories are strictly for treating fevers and mild pain. 

How to Use a Fever Suppository

To insert the suppository, first lubricate the entrance to your baby's rectum. Open the wrapping carefully, as some types of suppositories start melting once they touch your fingers. Then gently push the suppository into the rectum, using your finger to make sure it gets past the anal sphincter (the tight muscular ring right at the edge of the hole). Once you get it past the sphincter, you're done – no need to push it in any further!

Remember to use the correct dosage of acetaminophen for your baby, based on their weight. Generally, 40 mg of acetaminophen (1/2 of an infant suppository) is used for babies up to 11 pounds, 80 mg for babies from 12-17 pounds, and 120 mg for babies from 18-23 pounds. You can also refer to this website for a more precise dosage measure based on weight.

Fever suppositories are not only for children, but they can be useful for adults as well. When an adult is too unwell to ingest oral medications, fever suppositories can be administered at the correct adult dosage. Generally, the dosage will be 1 suppository (650 mg) no more than every 4 hours.

Where to Find Fever Suppositories

Tylenol suppositories have their generic equivalents, which work just as well. FeverAll is also an alternative trusted brand. In Israel I bought and used fever suppositories frequently, since my firstborn refused any kind of oral syrup. Therefore I was surprised to find that, when we visited the United States, I could not find fever suppositories in any of the local pharmacies. After trying a Rite-Aid and two supermarket pharmacies, I finally found a CVS that carried the CVS version of FeverAll. There were only 3 boxes left on the shelf… So I bought them all.

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