Medicines advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and ibuprofen

Guidance on how to relieve symptoms of COVID-19 in children and links to further online resources for advice.

March 25, 2020

Updated 15th April 2020

Following our previous advice published on 25th March 2020 we have listened to experts at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and have updated our guidance on how to relieve symptoms of COVID-19 in children. Previously we advised against giving ibruprofen but new advice concludes that there is currently not enough evidence to establish a link between the use of ibuprofen and worsening the symptoms of COVID-19.

Catrin Barker, Chief Pharmacist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and member of the Medicines for Children project board has said:

Our advice to parents is that either paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to treat their child if they have symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and headache, and they should follow NHS advice if they have any questions or if symptoms get worse. Parents should always read the patient information when taking over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, and follow the instructions on how to take the medicines. 

To manage symptoms of fever:

  • Keep your child well hydrated – give plenty of fluids to drink.
  • Tepid sponging is not recommended.
  • Children with fever should not be under-dressed or over-wrapped.

Which medicines to give:

  • Parents can give either paracetamol or ibuprofen, if needed, to treat symptoms of fever or pain unless your doctor has told you paracetamol or ibuprofen is not suitable for your child.
  • Continue to give either paracetamol or ibuprofen only for as long as the child appears distressed due to the high temperature.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging for the appropriate dose for your child’s age.
  • If you continue to be worried about your child’s health, consider seeking advice through NHS 111.

This advice will be kept under constant review and updated as needed.


Guidance on COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people 

In April 2022, the Medicines for Children team developed an information leaflet to support families to make a decision about whether to have their child vaccinated against COVID-19.

Covid vaccination information leaflet for families 


Further guidance on COVID-19 (coronavirus) 

Guidance for families from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health:

Advice on anti-flammatory medicines from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health:

Advice for parents of children with complex health needs from WellChild:

Activities for children at home and resources to help explain COVID-19 to children and young people: