Coping with child medicine shortage during spike in illness

Amid a flurry of flu, COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus and other respiratory viruses, shortages of Tylenol for children and other medications are making it difficult for parents to care for their sick children.

“Obviously the shortage is coming at the worst possible time, but it’s really just because so many individuals have gotten sick,” said Susan Lonczak, director of health for the Plainville-Southington Health District. “There’s really a lot of demand.”

Advice during shortages

If a parent is in a situation where their child is sick, but they can’t find medication for the kids, Lonczak said “there are basic tried and true things they can do for their kids.”

Lonczak said some of them encourage rest, having children drink plenty of fluids, giving children lukewarm baths, wearing cold compresses and being there for sick children while monitoring their symptoms.

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“The fever will run its course, but if it continues or rises or children complain of other symptoms, obviously we encourage you to call their pediatrician, but a lot of times you can work through the fever naturally with your child,” Lonczak said.

For a homeopathic cough remedy, Dr. Lucia Benzoni, a pediatrician at Hartford HealthCare, suggests using two teaspoons of honey with lemon tea.

“That’s a big thing we use,” Benzoni said.

A saline nasal spray can help with congestion, along with a humidifier that goes by the child’s bed, Benzoni added.

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“Use a lot of saline nasal spray,” Benzoni said.

Health professionals say parents should not give children adult medications and call their children’s pediatrician if they are struggling with a child’s fever and are looking for an alternative medicine to use.

One remedy mentioned by Benzoni as a homeopathic fever and pain reliever is Arnica, however, the dosage is uncertain. Parents should consult a pediatrician before using new medications to make sure the dosage and type of medication is correct for their child.

“Children’s medications are very weight- and age-specific,” Lonczak said. “A parent may think that giving half an adult-sized amount of medication might be okay, but it’s not something to play around with.” If parents are struggling and worried, they should call their pediatrician before deciding to do anything that isn’t meant for children.

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Kathryn Glendon, public health specialist at Chesprocott Health District, said now is a good time to go on social media to see if anyone has back-up medicines for children or knows where people can find them.

“There are people who might pick it up for you if they see it,” Glendon said. “Sometimes stores you don’t think about will have it like Walmart or Aldi’s, Target.” So just be mindful of where you shop.”

[email protected] Twitter: @jessica_simms99


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