Flu season has come early this year, and it's no secret that schools are oftentimes breeding grounds for contagious illnesses. Millions of U.S. children are affected every year, and those in the Capital Region are facing even more challenges now as a shortage in children's pain relievers is hitting regional families hard. According to CBS 6 Albany, the demand for fever reducers and pain relievers has been at an all time high this year with the recent uptick in flu cases and respiratory viruses. Riley Children's Health Pediatrician Dr. Shannon Dillon chimes in on the subject:

There are more sick kids at this time of year than we have seen in the past couple years -Dr. Shannon Dillon (Tom Murphy, CBS 6 Albany)

Popular drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson reported that it's not experiencing a shortage of Children's Tylenol, but did say the product may be "less readily available" in stores. CVS Health is apparently limiting its in store and online customers to two children's pain relief products per purchase. Meanwhile, Walgreens is doing something similar, capping their online customers at six products per purchase. According to the FDA, over the counter medicines like amoxicillin (similarly used to treat flu-like symptoms) are also experiencing a shortage right now (CBS 6 Albany).

Real Pictures from the Capital Region:

Target in Colonie

Capital District Moms via Facebook
Capital District Moms via Facebook

Price Chopper in Loudonville on Albany Shaker Rd.

Capital District Moms via Facebook
Capital District Moms via Facebook

Walgreens in Loudonville on Albany Shaker Rd.

Capital District Moms via Facebook
Capital District Moms via Facebook

What Can You Do?

As a parent, it's hard to watch helplessly as your child's fever spikes, so what can you use instead of things like Tylenol or Motrin? For starters, generic versions of medicines can be just as effective and often cost less than the name brand. CBS 6 Albany reports that there is also the possibility that your child's fever shouldn't be reduced since fevers are the body's natural defense toward bacteria and viruses. Unless they are a younger child, in which case you should take them to the doctor and monitor them closely.

Parents should take a newborn under 2 months old to the doctor if the child has a fever of 100.4 degrees or more. -Dr. Shannon Dillon (Tom Murphy, CBS 6 Albany)

Instead of Medicine...

  • A lukewarm bath will help the child feel better. Make sure it's not too cold otherwise they will shiver, which can actually increase their body temperature.
  • Put a cool mist humidifier in the child's room or maybe even a fan to help alleviate their lungs.
  • Dr. Sarah Nosal, a South Bronx physician, advises that two teaspoons of honey can soothe sore throats and cub coughs. Make sure they are old enough though, as infant botulism is something to watch out for (CBS 6 Albany).

Senator Chuck Schumer Looks to the FDA

Erin Fox, the Senior Pharmacy Director at University of Utah Health, spends her time researching drug shortages throughout the U.S. She told CBS 6 Albany that in this case, there doesn't seem to be long term issues at factories like lack of ingredients or other problems. The main issue is whether there are enough warehouse employees to deliver products and stock shelves.

I don't expect this to last a year or more like some of our other shortages do -Erin Fox (Tom Murphy, CBS 6 Albany)

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