Experts share treatment alternatives during children’s over-the-counter medicine shortage

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:07 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The children’s medicine shortage shows no sign of slowing down, as the need for these basic treatments increase alongside it.

The New Year has just begun and shelves that should be stocked with pain medication are still bare. This has parents panicking over the possibility their child will have a harder time getting better if they do fall sick.

“We’ve kind of went through the worst respiratory season we’ve ever had. Probably in two or three years,” said Margaret Heger, a Pediatric pharmacy supervisor with OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria.

Viruses like RSV, the flu and COVID become more common over the wintery months. Parents across the country face empty shelves as they search for pain relief medication for their children.

“November and December we had really high rates of a disease called RSV,” said Heger.

RSV is a respirtory virus that causes cold-like symptoms. According to the CDC, affects mainly infants, young children under the age of five and older adults, but not all parents are aware of the shortage to treat RSV.

“I didn’t until about 20 minutes ago so,” said Ragan Lowe, who is the mother to six-month old Luka.

Lowe says Luke doesn’t get sick often, so the need for basic pain medication isn’t usually top of mind, but the chance Luka could need it and not get it, is worrisome.

“Well, it would be nice if it was available for children in case Luka was to get sick and I can’t get it and I have to spend more money on medical bills as a young mom,” explained Lowe.

Heger lists alternate ways to help ease the ache if you are unable to find Tylenol or Ibuprofen at your local pharmacy.

“You can try a luke warm bath, not a cold bath,” said Heger, “You can also try cold compresses and the dressing the child in lighter layers, so not necessarily swaddling them up in thick sleep and a blanket. You know keep them more lightly dressed.”

Heger says if parents do find the medications include in the form of a chewable for older kids or powder packets for kids who don’t like to swallow pills or drink the liquid.

Keeping kids hydrated is essential to their health, whether that’s through water, popsicles or Pedialyte.