Parents struggle amid Children’s medicine shortage and flu season

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 6:21 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If your child has been sick over the last few weeks, you might have noticed that items like Children’s Motrin and Tylenol have been missing and the lack of those types of medicines is making parents panic.

In a heightened Flu and RSV season, parents like Justin Hawthorne said they’re struggling to get their hands on over-the-counter children’s medicine that is essential to making their sick kids feel better.

“He wound up getting RSV and croup. Normally you use Tylenol with any babies that are under six months old, but we did have some trouble finding it just because my two-year-old was sick at the time and running, you know, high fevers at the same time,” Hawthorne said.

Shelves in the baby aisle at pharmacies across the country are looking even barer now that items like Children’s Tylenol and Motrin are constantly out of stock.

Dr. Catherine Phillippi with TrustCare Kids said the shortage began a few months ago with antibiotics.

“The antibiotic shortage started with Amoxicillin, and it’s one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in pediatrics, and then because of that shortage, we wrote other medicines,” Dr. Phillippi explained. “Now, we are getting calls back that pharmacies are out of it.”

Now, parents are stuck trying to fight fever symptoms with over-the-counter products while prescriptions are filled.

“Parents are concerned and calling and asking us for recommendations when they can’t find Tylenol. But I do often sympathize with parents that are in that predicament. Even with antibiotics being short, you know, it’s really hard to be sick this time of year at Christmas and not be able to treat your child,” Dr. Phillippi said.

Hawthorne said his family had to go to extra lengths to find medicine.

“We tried a bunch of the different stores -- Madison [and] Canton. It took probably about a day. I think my mother-in-law finally wound up finding some in Clinton. [I] think she went to CVS or Walgreens,” Hawthorne said.

But if you’re not as lucky and can’t find what you need, Dr. Anita Henderson with the Hattiesburg Clinic said there are some home remedies that can help bring down fevers and treat symptoms.

“Cool lukewarm baths kind of help reduce fever and getting your child plenty of fluids, popsicles, Pedialyte. For younger children, if you can find Tylenol capsules, if they’re old enough, you can even open a capsule and sprinkle it onto some applesauce,” Dr. Henderson said.

However, Dr. Henderson said because you give your child adult medicine, make sure to speak with your pediatrician and check dosage amounts.

“If your child is old enough to swallow a pill, it’s a great time to teach them how to swallow pills. But we always recommend looking at your child’s weight and dosing based on weight and not age. And your pediatrician can help you to make sure you know what the right dose is based on your child’s weight,” Dr. Henderson explained.

Pediatricians are reminding folks that some old wives’ tales aren’t recommended, including putting children in ice baths, giving Aspirin to children, and rubbing alcohol on children’s skin to decrease fevers.

“I don’t think anyone knows when the end is in sight. I hope that it’s soon,” Dr. Phillippi said.

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