Columbus, OH,
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Children’s Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen Shortage: Doctor’s Advice for Parents

During this cold and flu season, parents have been met with an alarming issue. Neighborhood drug stores and pharmacies have been met with empty shelves of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen. With an increase in flu, COVID-19, RSV, common colds, has been an increased demand for these medicines from parents.

Jennifer Middleton, MD, a family physician at OhioHealth spoke with the Columbus Dispatch, “That’s because manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up with increased demand from parents whose children have come down with flu, COVID-19, RSV and common colds.”

There is currently a two-product limit in place to monitor the lack of medicine on the shelves. 

For parents who are struggling with finding over-the-counter medication for kids, Middleton suggests treating with nonpharmaceutical, proactive interventions.

These may include,

  • Dressing kids in very light layers. "There's no reason to pile on heavy blankets," Middleton said.
  • Sponge bath with lukewarm water, “You don't want to do very hot or very cold water because some kids, especially younger ones, are not as good at temperature regulation as adults are,”
  • “Keeping kids well-hydrated. Cold beverages and popsicles are a nice treat”.

With a shortage of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen, parents should never “dose down” adult medications. Never give aspirin to children under the age of 18.

Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should never be given to children under the age of 6. “They're associated with very serious outcomes and even some case reports of death from misdosing of those medications," said Dr. Middleton.

Pharmacies do sometimes carry stock for serious cases of illness. Dr. Middleton recommends contacting a family physician or pediatrician for a prescription if you are a parent whose child is suffering from a fever that causes them discomfort, above 102 or 103 degrees.

To find a primary care doctor at OhioHealth, click here.

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