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May 1985

Antipyretic Use Among Children During the 1983 Influenza Season

Author Affiliations

From the Bureau of Epidemiology, Texas Department of Health, Austin (Mr Taylor and Dr Gustafson); the School of Public Health, University of Texas, Houston (Drs Johnson and Brandenburg); and the Influenza Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine (Dr Glezen), Houston.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(5):486-488. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140070060034

• We conducted a telephone survey in Houston in March 1983 to assess the level of aspirin use among children during the influenza season. We completed interviews of 200 households with 346 children aged 12 years or younger. Fifty-two percent of the 346 children experienced at least one acute illness in the preceding three months. Fever was measured with a thermometer in 114 ill children, 103 of whom had at least one measured temperature of 37.7 °C or greater. Fourteen percent of these 103 children received aspirin only, 61% received acetaminophen only, and 20% received both. Among a subgroup of 44 children with temperatures of at least 39.4 °C, 11% received aspirin only, 59% received acetaminophen only, and 27% received both. Only 60% of the 200 parents interviewed had heard of Reye's syndrome. Forty-two percent knew of the association between Reye's syndrome and aspirin use. The survey suggests that acetaminophen has replaced aspirin as the major antipyretic used by children in Houston. If the decline in aspirin use in Houston is representative of the population in the United States, and if aspirin is causally related to Reye's syndrome, the incidence of Reye's syndrome may decline.

(AJDC 1985;139:486-488)