COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A winter surge in respiratory illness has left pharmacies with a shortage in children’s medication.
Dr. Derek McClellan, senior medical director for Central Ohio Primary Care, said the triple threat of COVID, flu and RSV cases has started to plateau, and data from the Ohio Department of Health shows that flu hospitalizations are on the decline. But the supply of children’s Tylenol, a popular fever reducer and pain medication, is still scarce.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say the availability of the medicines is better, but our demands are a little bit less,” McClellan said.
McClellan said parents should limit the use of children’s pain medications — specifically, how much and how often they give some to a sick kid.
“You don’t need to make every fever better, you just need to make your child more comfortable,” said McClellan.
His advice for parents is to check for alternatives in the store, such as a generic brand of children’s medicine. If that’s not available, he said to visit your local pediatrician for a prescription — but don’t but feel panicked if it’s not there.
Jarrett Bauder, a manager for Uptown Pharmacy, said his store has offered alternatives — such as an ibuprofen-based product instead of acetaminophen.
Bauder said the children’s Tylenol shortage has hit Uptown Pharmacy’s shelves, too, although it did receive a shipment last week. He said he’s grateful that customers have been limiting their purchases.
“Patients have been good about not hoarding it,” Bauder said. “If they need a bottle, they buy a bottle — they aren’t buying the whole shelf full.”
McClellan said limiting your Tylenol purchases is the best way to get through the shortage.
“Being able to say, ‘OK, here’s maybe two prescriptions, here’s the one I want you to take, but if it’s out of stock, I’m fine with you using this one as well,’ and kind of empowering parents that way to be able to get the medicine that still will do the job, to treat the illness,” said McClellan.