Flu season creating kids pain killer shortage

DELMARVA – Flu season is upon us and though ages across the board are affected, kids are hurting the most with the current painkiller shortage.

“The demand is outstripping the supply. We just can’t get enough of it,” says Pharmacist Matthew Balish with Apple Discount Drugs.

Baylish is talking about a current shortage of over-the-counter children’s pain medicine.“We are seeing a lot of drug shortages both prescription and over the counter and COVID and other things have intensified that the other thing that we’re seeing is RSV and the flu is hitting hard and hitting kids hard,” says Balish. 

Specifically, the drug shortage is impacting Tylenol, liquid ibuprofen, and chewable tablets. Dr. Sally Dowling, Vice President of Medical Affairs with Atlantic General Hospital, says though the drug supply is short, don’t switch to adult medication for your kids. Giving them the wrong dose can actually hurt instead of help your child.

“Tylenol or acetaminophen is metabolized by the liver and too much of that can even cause you to have liver failure likewise with ibuprofen, certainly you want to give the correct dose,” says Dr. Dowling.

Instead, experts recommend sticking to the options out there for those under 12. “There are infant drops, there are children’s elixir, if you can’t find what you’re familiar with you can try another store because they’re not out everywhere and some stores have it and some stores don’t, and/or you could buy another formulation,” says Dr. Dowling. 

Pharmacist Matthew Baylish with Apple Discount Drugs says this is an issue much bigger than Delmarva. “With global supply chains it’s difficult to predict exactly where the shortage is, sometimes it’s in a manufacturing component, sometimes it’s a manufacturing issue in quality control, sometimes things are held up in shipping,” says Balish.

 Meaning, for now, officials don’t have a timeline for when this issue will be resolved.

Baylish says if you do need to get painkillers for your child, only buy one because buying more than you need only intensifies the shortage. Dr Dowling urges that if you did give your child too much medication call poison control at 800-222-1222.

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