Children’s treatment shortages cause concerns as flu, RSV cases surge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Empty store shelves illustrate an over-the-counter medicine supply problem nationwide.

With flu season in full swing, and so many people with respiratory illnesses, stores are scrambling to keep up.

News4JAX checked pharmacies in the area on Thursday to see if they’re dealing with the same thing.

They said there’s been a nonstop demand for flu treatments. And there’s been a shortage of amoxicillin since October. Now it’s completely out of stock in some places.

“Normally this entire shelf would be full up, this entire shelf would be full up, and this one and this one as well,” said Kevin Duane, owner of Panama Pharmacy.

Amoxicillin is out.

“We’ve gone from, in this type of season, carrying 40 to 50 bottles of varying strengths of this drug only been able to get six, seven right now,” Duane said.

This isn’t the ideal season to be short.

Cases of three viruses — COVID, RSV, and the flu — are spreading.

It’s been hard finding fever and pain-reducing medications, especially for children.

Duane said they’ve had to get creative with their products.

“If the liquid medicine is out of stock, we maybe have tried a chewable medicine, or like a capsule or a small tablet,” he said. “With some of the pediatric patients, it’s harder for them to swallow those. So we’ve been more creative, even having to make our own version from the powder in the capsules sometimes as well. So we do what we need to do in order to serve as our patients.”

Duane says he understands things can change quickly.

While the shortages may be isolated, infectious disease experts say the problem will be short-lived.

“It’s important to keep the lines of communication open between the doctor, the pediatrician, and the pharmacy so that, you know, for example, we can communicate to doctors about what we do and do not have in stock. And then doctors and pediatricians can tell us what they’re seeing and what they need so that we can better tailor our approach to that,” Duane said.

He also says people shouldn’t buy these medications for “just in case situations”. If you’ve had symptoms for more than two days, the medicine likely won’t be as effective. And, don’t hoard. Take antibiotics and antiviral medications for the right reasons.

You can also call around to different pharmacies to see what’s available.

If you can’t find children’s Tylenol or Motrin, infectious disease experts say generic forms of acetaminophen and ibuprofen are fine as well.

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