December 20, 2022 — Your local pharmacy is running out of over-the-counter children’s painkillers again. But before thoughts of runny noses, sleepless nights and feverish kids threaten your vacation plans, parents, you have other options.
Although there is no official shortage of children’s Tylenol in the United States, according to Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, which manufactures the product, cold and flu season has been “extremely difficult” and demand for these products has simply skyrocketed, the company said in a statement.
“We do everything we can to make sure people have access to the products they need, including maximizing our production capacity, running our sites 24/7 and continuously shipping products” , the statement said.
Motrin for kids has also been hard to find in stores this holiday season. This can be attributed to “the increase in pediatric cases of respiratory illnesses, including influenza, COVID and RSV,” says Logan Tucker, spokesperson for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
“Parents may need to make a few stops to find what they need and should also consider an additional self-care alternative to aid comfort and relief at their health care provider’s director,” says Tucker. .
Parents should avoid the urge to stock up on children’s pain relievers, as this can further fuel supply and demand struggles in stores, Tucker says. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies recently announced limits on the number of children’s painkillers you can buy in their stores.
CVS has a two-product limit on all children’s pain relievers both in stores and online, and Walgreens has a maximum of six over-the-counter children’s pain relievers for online purchases. Supermarket chain Kroger also has a two-product limit for purchases of painkillers for children.
Explore your options
Don’t be afraid to try the generic versions of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin), says Joseph Perno, MD, emergency center physician and vice president of medical affairs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
“Most stores have their own versions of these drugs,” he says. “Families can also find other formulations, such as chewable or rectal suppositories.”
Remember the basics
If your child feels sick, always keep in mind standard best practices for treating illness, such as drinking plenty of fluids.
“If they’re not eating, Pedialyte or sports drinks work great during illness to keep them hydrated.”
If your child is sleeping more than usual, this may also be normal. Just make sure he wakes up often enough to keep sipping his liquids.
When to Seek Additional Medical Care
“If your child has a fever for 3-5 days, it’s worth getting evaluated by your doctor,” says Perno.
Altered mental status and breathing problems, such as shortness of breath or rapid breathing, or changes in skin color, can be signs of something more serious. Signs of dehydration, such as no tears when crying, dry mouth, or your child not using the bathroom as often as usual, also fall into this camp. If your child has any of these symptoms, they should be seen in an emergency room, Perno says.