Childrens Tylenol and Motrin are in short supply due to the tripledemic

It doesn’t help that I am writing this nursing the cold that my husband so generously gave me but there is just no good news coming from Health Gossip these days, man. Usually I try to find that silver lining, but it’s getting harder to do when it comes to this cold and flu season. Or, as it’s being called, the “tripledemic.” That’s right, apparently getting visited by the Covid, Flu and RSV fairies all at once is as wretched as it sounds. And if that’s not enough, it gets worse. Now we’ll have trouble alleviating the pain from those viruses, because the medicines we rely on won’t be on the shelves. The scary part for parents is, there are already shortages of Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin. The sad part is, it’s not due to supply, it’s just demand.

If you stroll the cold and flu medicine aisle these days, you might notice shelves that are bare, or nearly so. Some medicines that can be particularly hard to find are fever reducers for kids, like children’s Tylenol, Motrin or Advil.

Drug manufacturers point to a big spike in demand. That’s not surprising, given the surge in three respiratory viruses right now: COVID, RSV and influenza, what has been termed a “tripledemic.”

Johnson & Johnson makes Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin. It says there is no nationwide shortage — just a lot of demand.

“Consumer demand for pediatric pain relievers in the U.S. is high, but there are no supply chain issues and we do not have an overall shortage in the U.S.,” company spokesperson Melissa Witt said in an email to NPR. The company says it is “experiencing high consumer demand and are doing everything we can to make sure people have access to the products they need.”

Nationally, sales of pediatric internal analgesics — which includes drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — were up more than 26% in October compared with a year earlier. That’s according to data from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), a trade group that represents manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs.

[From NPR]

I feel for you parents out there. We’ve been hearing one bad report after the other about RSV in kids and what this flu season may bring, I would not want to go into it with only a teaspoon of Bubblegum Tylenol left. For anyone who doesn’t have kids, doctors and nurses put a lot of emphasis on fevers in kids. Certain temps call to have the kid brought to the ER or urgent care right away. A school will give you guff for not sending your kid in unless they have a fever, then it’s an automatic, keep them home. So it just feels safer to have those little fever reducing meds on hand. Not to mention how cranky feverish kids are and it’s nice to see them finally get a little peace.

According to this article, though, parents can relax a little on the fever-front. First a reminder to always consult a doctor if you have an infant with a fever. It’s a big deal in infants/babies and needs immediate attention. Everything below is for a toddler or older. The article gives a link how to treat fevers without medicines. Do not give kids aspirin or adult versions of Tylenol or ibuprofen unless your doctor has given consent and direction. And the article said if the kid has a fever but is running around playing and acting like themselves, they should be fine. Don’t send them to school, but they don’t need the drugs. Meds don’t ‘cure’ the fever, they just reduce it and other symptoms for comfort. The immune system does the work on the virus.

And please, don’t stock up on medicine you don’t need. They expire anyway. Just get the amount you need and when it runs out, go out and get yourself some more. That way there will be enough for everyone.

Photos credit: Tima Miroshnichenko and cottonbro studio on Pexels

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