Can I Take Tylenol & Vitamins When I'm Sick?

clinical thermometer and medicine
A thermometer and medicine. (Image: Top Photo Corporation/Top Photo Group/Getty Images)

When you feel sick due to a virus or bacterial infection, you may require pain medication to help you cope. Taking vitamins can also boost your immune system to fight the infection more effectively. In some cases, a vitamin deficiency may be causing your illness and symptoms such as fatigue and low energy. Tylenol is a common over-the-counter pain-relieving and fever-reducing medication. Take any medication or supplement exactly as prescribed. You may require prescription medications for more serious illness; consult your family physician for the right diagnosis and treatment.

Multivitamins

A multivitamin contains a combination of essential vitamins normally found in a daily balanced diet. In some cases, if the food you consume does not provide adequate levels of vitamins, supplements can help prevent or treat a nutrient deficiency. Drugs.com notes that pregnancy, illnesses, digestive and malabsorption disorders, and poor nutrition can also cause vitamin deficiencies. Vitamins cannot treat illness and infections on their own. Your doctor can determine whether you require prescription medication.

Tylenol

Tylenol is a brand name for the analgesic or pain medication acetaminophen. It treats pain due to headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, arthritis, backaches and illness. It also helps reduce a fever. Tylenol works by inhibiting the production of compounds called prostaglandins in the brain that make your body sensitive to pain and raise core body temperature in response to an infection or illness. According to MedlinePlus, Tylenol and other acetaminophen-containing drugs are not anti-inflammatory medications, which means they cannot reduce swelling and inflammation in the body.

Vitamin Overdose

Vitamin supplements can adversely interact with other over-the-counter and prescription medications and herbal supplements. Do not take more than the recommended dose of vitamins, and avoid taking more than one multivitamin product at a time. Vitamin E can cause blood thinning, while vitamin K increases blood clotting. These vitamins can interact with prescription medications that affect blood coagulation or clotting. The body can store the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and an excess accumulation of these nutrients can cause side effects.

Symptoms of a vitamin overdose include stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, digestive disturbance, hair loss, skin dryness, easy bruising or bleeding, tingling in the mouth, numbness in the legs, and muscle, back and joint pain. Seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

Risks

Tylenol rarely causes stomach upset, as some other painkillers do. However, acetaminophen can lead to liver damage if you consume it in high amounts. Individuals with liver disease due to disease, infection or alcohol consumption are at higher risk of liver damage and may not be able to tolerate Tylenol at all. Drugs.com advises that adults should not take more than 1 g of acetaminophen per dose and not more than 4 g in a day. Do not take any painkiller regularly or for durations longer than two to four weeks without the supervision of your doctor.

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