Why Tylenol Is the Last Thing I Would Use For Fevers

  tylenol Photo Credit: inhuman tsar via Compfight cc

Tylenol is a brand-name of the drug acetaminophen.  I’m referring to this specific name because the marketing technique has been very successful in making the word “Tylenol” a common household word.  Even if someone carries around a generic brand of this drug, we still ask for a “Tylenol”, don’t we?  I guess it’s easier to say than, “Do you have any acetaminophen on you?” 😉

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever-reducer.  It’s commonly used for headaches, arthritis, muscle aches, toothaches, colds, and fevers.  Possible side effects are: nausea, itching, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, and jaundice.  Allergic reactions include: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue, face, lips, or throat.  Severe rare reactions are death.  {Source}

From infants to adults, this drug is considered a safe option when used in recommended doses.  Parents all over the country readily give their children Tylenol for fevers and achiness.  I used to be right there along with the rest of them, but through research I’ve discovered Tylenol may not be quite as safe as I thought.

An overdose of acetaminophen is responsible as the leading cause of Poison Control Center calls each year with more than 100,000 calls.  The majority of overdosing is accidental. It also causes 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospital stays, and 458 deaths a year.  The deaths are due to liver failure.  {Source}

I wouldn’t say that Tylenol is exactly the safest over-the-counter drug on the market as is commonly believed.  In 2013, warning labels of liver damage were added to Extra Strength Tylenol bottles.  In some people, taking slightly over the recommended dosage can cause acute liver damage and/or failure.  I have witnessed many people over the years take an extra pill because they said the recommended dose wasn’t enough for them, which is not a safe thing to do.   Normally, the liver filters out acetaminophen and its byproducts, but when it is overloaded, it cannot eliminate these and the liver becomes toxic.  

Why Tylenol Is the Last Thing I Would Use For Fevers

Tylenol raises the threshold of the body’s ability to handle pain by inhibiting certain parts of the brain that register pain.  For fevers, this drug blocks the formation and release of a fatty acid that has the ability to regulate temperature.  

Last week, I wrote a post on why fevers are good for the immune system and how they help to kill whatever foreign substance is causing the illness.  Fevers are produced to work hard at stopping microbes from multiplying and invading the body.  Fever reducers, like Tylenol, literally stop the fever from doing the function it was intended to in fighting an illness, thus many times prolonging the illness and allowing the illness to invade.  Sometimes the illness will come right back when the patient seems better because the microbes were never destroyed, only suppressed. Remember, the fever is not the main cause for concern, but whatever is causing the fever.

Another reason I don’t care for Tylenol for fevers is because any medication taken internally is going to be recognized as a foreign unhealthy substance, which the body has to filter and metabolize and do its best to get rid of.  This is energy that the body could instead be using to get well.  I prefer to use remedies that work with the body and not against it.

If you do feel the need to take Tylenol, or a similar product, be sure to not exceed the recommended dose.  Also, don’t take it with anything that contains alcohol, and don’t take it in addition to taking other products that have acetaminophen.  Many people make these mistakes and they can prove to be fatal.

Common over-the-counter medicines that contain acetaminophen that should not be taken at the same time:

  • Dayquil
  • Nyquil
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels
  • Excedrin
  • Midol
  • Robitussin
  • Sudafed
  • Vicks
  • Tylenol products

There are many more medications.  Be sure to read a complete list here.

When might acetaminophen be necessary?

I am not completely against this drug.  Acetaminophen is a wonderful thing when dealing with acute, serious pain during times of surgery or emergencies.  I am so thankful for pain relievers for emergencies, but on a regular basis, or for fevers and illnesses, they are not my go-to medicine.

I’ll be sharing some natural remedies for pain and fevers soon!

tylenol2 Photo Credit: JeepersMedia via Compfight cc

How do you feel about using Tylenol?   

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.  This post is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This post is for educational purposes only. The information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. In order for me to support this website, my research, and blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement and/or links to products or services. However, I only recommend products or services I trust.


  1. Tami Matz says

    Hi. I believe in letting a fever run its course naturally also, However, during times of sickness, my children may have a splitting headache that they can’t tolerate. I’ve broken down and have given them Tylenol (or generic) to ease their head pain, and yes, the fever then goes down with it, temporarily. My kids can endure a fever, but at times, not a headache (I’m not talking about a slight headache, but a splitting one). What do you suggest? I’ve done peppermint oil, with carrier, but that either doesn’t seem to work for them, or they can’t tolerate the sting on their temples, near their eyes.

    Thank you.

    • says

      Hey Tami! I totally hear ya on the splitting headaches! I have used pain relievers many times when I was too ill from a headache: http://bit.ly/1DLVoAW Cayenne salve is also an option for rubbing on the head.
      I use reflexology every time too. Just press on the hands and feet until you find a sore spot and lightly press on that spot until relief is found. Repeat throughout the day. A lot of headaches are from sinuses too. For this you can make a strong tea with mullein leaf { http://bit.ly/1AxUhzR } and place it in a bowl. Hang your head over the bowl and place a towel over your head to create a tent of sorts and allow the steam to open up sinuses. I also use Sen Sei Menthol Rub by Dr. Christopher. I rub it on the forehead and under the nose to open up sinuses and relieve headaches. I plan to write a whole post on natural pain relievers, so be sure to keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the question!

  2. Carreen says

    Jill I am so grateful for your wealth of knowledge!! Looking forward to the post on natural pain relievers…then I’m going to bookmark it!!! Thank You

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