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Paracetamol for Fever & Body Pain: Effects & Side Effects

By Dr. Ram Singh in Internal Medicine

Jan 25 , 2022 | 1 min read

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As soon as flu season comes up, many of you fall sick and have a fever, body pain, cold, and cough. So often do you take over-the-counter medications like paracetamol without knowing about its effects and side effects? Keep reading to find it out.


What is fever?


Fever is an increase in your body temperature generally caused due to an illness. If your body temperature is more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (ear & body), 99 degrees Fahrenheit (Armpit), 100 degrees Fahrenheit (armpit), you have a fever. For an adult, fever becomes a major concern if it is more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit or 39.4 degrees celsius, but for kids, even a mild temperature indicates a serious infection.     


Why do you need to control fever?


Though controlling fever will not eliminate the actual cause of fever, i.e., infection, it is essential to manage fever because your body's biochemical reactions occur within a narrow range of temperature. Moreover, in the case of children aged 6 months to 6 years, there are chances of seizures, especially if there is a family history. So it will be best if you do not neglect fever.


Are there any pitfalls of controlling fever actively?


If you actively suppress the fever, there are some disadvantages such as.

  • More replications of pathogens- Bacteria and viruses multiply faster when the body's temperature is below 37 degrees celsius. Thus increasing the infection.
  • Body's immune response activation at high temperature- Your immune system is more active when your body temperature is high and fights infection better. 

Moreover, paracetamol has several other effects apart from acting as an antipyretic, and it does have some side effects as well. Are you aware of them? Let's dig deeper into this.


Other uses/usages of paracetamol


Apart from acting as antipyretic, paracetamol works as a mild analgesic (painkiller) to relieve pain in the following conditions-

  • Toothache
  • Neuralgia
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Painful menstruation

Side effects of paracetamol


Though side effects of paracetamol are rare, you should be aware of them, so here are some of the side effects of paracetamol-

  • Allergic reactions

Contact your doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms after taking paracetamol-

  • Skin rashes
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Swelling of face, mouth, neck
  • Trouble breathing
  • Low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, or flushing - These symptoms may appear when paracetamol is given intravenously.
  • Blood disorders
  • Leukopenia- Low count of white blood cells
  • Thrombocytopenia- Low count of platelets
  • Liver damage (>4gm/day)
  • Kidney damage