Local doctor offers tips to parents struggling amid children medicine shortage

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – First it was toilet paper, then baby formula. Now, parents are struggling to find medicine for their children on store shelves.

Medicine like pain relievers, and fever reducers – tools that parents count on, especially during this surge in viral infections.

KOB 4 went looking for that medicine Tuesday, we checked out Walgreens, Albertson’s, Walmart, and a Target – six stores in all. We found about four bottles of liquid children’s Tylenol, out of all of that.

Store employees we asked had no clue when they would be getting new shipments. But, we did talk to a local doctor Tuesday, and there are some other options.

“Typically, there’s low levels of infection throughout the year with little surges in the winter. But this year is very unique, I hope, in that we have three major respiratory infections making the rounds, and all of them can cause significant fevers,” said Dr. Alex Cvijanovich, former president of the New Mexico Pediatric Society. 

Cvijanovich believes it’s a surge in demand that’s causing a disruption in availability, even in some pediatric offices.

“There are kids that can have a low grade fever of 100 or even 101, and they’re still active and playing. That is not a time that you have to treat, in fact, it might be a better idea not to treat,” said Cvijanovich.  “At the same token if a child has a fever of 100, but is suffering with muscle aches or just feeling poorly and not wanting to eat and drink, and play, then I do think that’s a reasonable time to treat.”

So what do you do if you can’t find that liquid gold? 

Cvijanovich suggests looking for a generic children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or trying a luke warm bath or compress.

“In times of desperation I think we all reach out for anything we can find, those are some important things to remember,” said Cvijanovich. 

Parents should not give children aspirin and check with a pharmacy when resorting to crushing tablets. She says there is one other reliable option.

“Tylenol also comes in a suppository form so that can be a good option for infants and toddlers,” Cvijanovich said. 

That suppository option is kept behind the counter at the pharmacy. While parents don’t necessarily like to use the suppository option, she says it is incredibly quick and effective.

If your child is really struggling with prolonged fever for more than three or four days, talk to your pediatrician.

Click here for a symptom checker if you need some extra guidance.