A pharmacist frustrated with inventory shortages of pediatric pain- and fever-reducing medications: A statement from a mother-of-three shop in Oregon
Grant’s Pass Pharmacy in southern Oregon is down to its last few boxes of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and pharmacist Michele Belcher says she can’t order more.
The three wholesalers she orders her medications from are AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. When she checked availability of these pain- and fever-reducing meds this week, out of 40 products – different flavors, sizes and strengths – none was in stock.
The high demand for mainstay medicine to reduce the symptoms of infections in children is caused by a surge in the H1N1 and Covid-19 Pandemics.
Kroger says that its inventory is constrained and it is working to manage it. Rite Aid says it is working closely with its suppliers “to meet demand and mitigate shortages where possible.” Walmart and Walgreens say that despite increased demand, they are still able to meet customers’ needs.
The Consumer Health Products Association, which represents the manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs, says that the problem is not widespread and that manufacturers are doing everything they can to get more product on the shelves. However, it acknowledged that parents in some areas may have trouble finding the medications they need.
“Parents may have to make a few stops to find what they need and should also consider additional self-care alternatives to aid comfort and relief at the direction of their health care provider,” the group said in a statement.
Pediatricians say there are some strategies parents can use to help their child feel better, even if they can’t find the medication they’re hunting for.
If an infant is 3 months old and has a problem, the parents should contact their doctor. Woolford said parents should call their doctor if their child has a high temperature that includes symptoms such as headaches, neck pain and difficulty breathing.
If you have an infant under 2 months, there is a different story. Any temperature of over 100.4 degrees is concerning and your child needs to be seen by a clinician.
She considers immunization status and how long the child has been sick, as well as the other factors, when determining if the child needs to see a doctor. The general rule is that a fever that’s gone on longer than five days needs further evaluation.
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Adding tablets to applesauce or chocolate syrup will make them taste better. However, it’s extremely important not to give kids too much medicine, and it’s a good idea to consult a medical professional before giving the first dose.
SickKids and the University of Toronto created a safety chart to help parents who have been dealing with a shortage of children’s medication.
“For people who are not familiar with this, I would suggest that they make sure they double-check themselves with someone who’s familiar,” said Dr. Anna Banerji, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto.
You can also look for a local compounding pharmacist, who’s trained to custom-mix pharmaceuticals for patients. They may be able to make the medication you need.
If your child is having ear pain, you should apply a wet compress to the ear and allow it to get better. It also helps to hold a child upright to reduce pressure on their ears, which will increase if their head is down on a pillow or in a crib.
Ahmann said that kids lose more fluids when their temperature goes up, and this is why they are at higher risk of becoming dehydrated. She said that they tend not to want to drink as much, so you really need to push the fluids.
Ahmann suggests giving a sports drink with electrolytes, but halving it with water. She said sports drinks have a lot of sugar, which can cause kids to get sick and make dehydration worse.
Ahmann said she has had parents messaging and wanting to know if they can give aspirin to their children. “It’s called baby aspirin, She said it’s not for babies.
Reye’s syndrome is a rare but serious condition in which the brain can swell as a result of aspirin given to children during a viral illness.
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A cold bath will lower the temperature of the body but it won’t change the internal temperature and when they get out it can cause a seizure.
A majority of parents keep a record of the time they give each dose so they don’t risk overdosing if there is a need for a second dose. They should not give another dose to prevent a fever from coming back, according to DeZure and Woolford.
According to Dr. DeZure, parents fear their kids are going to get sick if they don’t get something. That is not the case as we know, because a warm body responds to infections with a high temperature.
“The goal is to try to keep the child comfortable,” Woolford said. “To make sure they’re wearing light clothing, keep the room you know, cool, not cold, but comfortably cool Make sure that they drink enough water.
“At this time of year, I feel like prevention is a really good approach, so that we can try to avoid having as many of these illnesses as possible,” Woolford said.
“You can’t do everything, but we can do a lot of hand hygiene, (we) can be sure that we’re washing hands and using hand sanitizer appropriately, and we can be sure that we’re not dosing children with medication and sending them off to school, because they’re still contagious.”