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November 04, 2021 3 min read

When aches and pains just won’t quit, you may decide to reach for an over-the-counter medicine to make you feel better. Whether you’re shaking out some pills for yourself, your child, or a friend, it’s important to understand the difference between the types of painkillers available on drugstore shelves.

All of these products have the same goal: to make you feel better. However, they use different ingredients to achieve this goal and these ingredients are not created equal.

You may have noticed your KEEP>GOING GoKit includes both non-aspirin (compares to Tylenol) and ibuprofen and your KEEP>GOING SuperKit includes non-aspirin, ibuprofen and aspirin. These First Aid Kit bag items seem identical, but there are some differences. Find out more about how these pills vary and soon you’ll be a painkiller pro!

Aspirin

Aspirin is made out of salicylic acid and is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) so it’s generally used to treat inflammation and pain. It may also be used to treat fever in adults but isn’t recommended for children with fevers. While many NSAIDs are associated with an increased risk for heart attack or stroke, aspirin is actually sometimes used to reduce the risk of these events.

One common side effect of this painkiller is an upset stomach. Gastrointestinal bleeding or stomach ulcers may also occur, but are more common in those who take aspirin while ingesting alcohol or those who take blood thinners.

While aspirin in a low doses ("Baby Aspirin") is often used as a daily supplement to help prevent cardiac events, it’s also important to note that aspirin shouldn’t be ingested if someone is actively experiencing a stroke. Since this type of painkiller promotes bleeding, it can make a stroke worse.

Non-Aspirin (e.g. Tylenol)

The term “non-aspirin” generally refers to acetaminophen, which is also focused on relieving fever, headaches, and other common aches and pains. Non-aspirin is generally safer for little ones and isn’t known to cause stomach issues in most users.

Since this medicine has fewer side effects, we’ve included it in your large First Aid Kit and medium kit. However, keep in mind, this painkiller doesn’t address inflammation like NSAIDs do.

Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil and Motrin)

Ibuprofen is made out of propionic acid and is also a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is generally used to alleviate pain associated with headaches and cramps. It’s also used to treat fever and inflammation in adults and is longer acting than Tylenol. While it has fewer side effects than other NSAIDs, ibuprofen may cause heartburn or a rash in some users.

Those with liver or kidney problems should also avoid using ibuprofen because it may increase their risk for high blood pressure or hypertension if taken too often. Your largeand medium First Aid Kit include four ibuprofen pills so you can address aches and pains on the run with fewer side effects than other medications.

When choosing which type of painkiller to take or give to your child, always consult your doctor first, and always pay careful attention to dosing.

 And always asses: are painkillers really necessary? Heat or cold therapy can help to alleviate pain in a safe way. 

Your KEEP>GOING First Aid Kit was Designed to Help and your aches and pains are no match for the pills provided in your compact First Aid Kit. With your newfound pharmacy knowledge, it’ll be easier to choose which painkiller is right for you!