RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A shortage of critical medicines to help children fight the flu and infections is now forcing families to find other options.
The Food and Drug Administration confirmed the shortage in October saying amoxicillin — a drug commonly used to treat bacterial infections in children — was in limited supply.
Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, a pediatrician, at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, said there is also a shortage in medicine they’ve recommended to families as alternatives. Common pain relief medicine like Tylenol and Ibuprofen — specifically the chewable tablets and liquid medicines that children usually consume — is now in short supply.
“Many kids being sick … all at the same time,” Kimbrough said. “We’re having lots of parents all going out looking for the same items on the shelves. And so when they’re going, they’re not able to find [medicine] with that increased demand.”
Kimbrough said her office has been receiving dozens of calls a day from people asking what they should do when they can’t find over-the-counter medicine.
“If you don’t see what you need on hand, reach out to your child’s healthcare provider for tips,” she said. “But remembering cool fluids, doing a cool bath or doing a cool wash rag can help as a non-medical way to treat that temperature.”
Over the last couple of months, doctors have issued warnings of the increasing threat of a “tripledemic,” caused by the combination of the flu, COVID-19 and the respiratory virus, RSV. RSV and the flu have been hitting earlier this season and cases are higher than last year.
Kimbrough urges families to recognize the difference between mild fevers and serious illnesses.
“Fevers themselves aren’t dangerous for most healthy kids,” she said. “They’re our body’s way of fighting off an infection.”
Kimbrough added that you should not hoard medicine if you find some. She said it is also possible to give older toddlers chewable antibiotics but parents should check with a healthcare provider as to what dose is appropriate for them.