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As the flu reaches record levels across the country, an Indiana University study has some troubling news for parents trying to handle sick kids. Common over the counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen (the active ingredients in Advil and Aleve, respectively) carry the risk of kidney injury to children.

Though several smaller reports have suggested what the Indiana University study found, theirs is the first large-scale study to make the claim. Using eleven years of medical records from Riley Hospital for Children, they found that of the children who had been treated for acute kidney injury, roughly 3 percent of those cases were linked to the use of over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Most of these children had been given the recommended doses.

Patients under 5 years old who had taken NSAIDs needed to be treated with dialysis temporarily and were more likely to spend time in the intensive care unit than older children.

What does this mean for parents trying to take care of their little patients at home? Instead of an NSAID, try acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. But doctors say that fever during an illness like the flu is normal, so the best alternative may be having kids tough it out as their bodies fight the infection.

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