It’s chilly outdoors, but your little one is in bed burning up. Most parents will pop to the pharmacy for some fever-reducing medicine, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. But what happens when the shelves are bare? Across the country, high demand for these pediatric medicines have led to shortages, leaving stores stockless and families frustrated. What’s happening, and what can you do if your child is ringing in the new year with a new bug?
Despite the lack of products available, the companies producing these pain relievers assure officials that there are no supply-chain issues at play, which is a common pandemic-era problem.
The shortage is due to what some have been calling a “tripledemic,” or the convergence of Covid, RSV, & the flu in the same season.
After a couple years of isolation and distancing, children’s exposure to common childhood illnesses has dropped, making these waves of infection hit particularly hard. Manufacturers report they are ramping up production in response, but it may be a few weeks before stores are able to fill their shelves again.
How can families with feverish kiddos find relief while waiting for shipments to arrive? Doctors say that unless your child is very young, their fever is very high, or they’re experiencing pain and discomfort, they probably don’t need a fever-reducer in the first place. Most fevers are not dangerous and will break on their own with rest and fluids. Warm baths, a damp washcloth on the forehead, simple comforting foods, and some quiet activities can make the process bearable. If you do need to medicate, don’t panic! Look for generic brands, check multiple stores, or consider ordering what you need online. Just remember to confirm expiration dates on any purchases before giving them to your child. When in doubt, the pediatrician is always just a phone call away. With some patience and planning, cooler heads will prevail.