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#childsafety | What you need to know about the children’s medicine shortage | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


Finding a bottle of children’s cough medicine or pain reliever is proving to be a challenge on Long Island and around the U.S. That has left many desperate parents wondering what to do. Newsday spoke with a local pediatrician and pharmacist to help parents navigate the shortage.

Q: Why are children’s pain relievers and cough medicines in such short supply at my local pharmacy?

A: Seasonal respiratory viruses, such as flu and RSV, started early this year, according to health experts. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing. All of these factors have created a greater demand for children’s over-the-counter medicines like liquid acetaminophen and ibuprofen — the generic names of Tylenol and Advil or Motrin, respectively.

Tom D’Angelo, owner of Franklin Square Pharmacy, said he has seen sporadic shortages. “We get it on the shelves but then it gets bought out pretty quickly,” he said. “A lot of kids are sick so it’s selling fast.”

Q: Can my pediatrician write a prescription for these medicines instead of trying to get them over the counter?

A: Some of these medications can be created by licensed pharmacists through a process called compounding, which are available at some pharmacies.

“We have to do it by prescription individually,” said D’Angelo. “The ingredient costs are much higher for us to do it properly.”

He said a product like a children’s fever reducer that would normally cost $7 would cost $25 for the pharmacy to compound.

Q: Do I need to give my child fever-reducing medicine if they have a fever?

A: Fevers are not dangerous for children in most cases, said Dr. Eve Meltzer Krief of Huntington Village Pediatrics. “Fever is just part of the way our immune systems fight off infection,” she said. “The fever reducers just make (children) more comfortable.”

She said it’s also important to evaluate how your child is acting. If they are playful and happy, that’s a good sign.

“If fever is accompanied by lethargy where your child is not being all that responsive, if they are having difficulty breathing and if they are not drinking enough to be urinating normally, those are all signs to be calling your doctor,” Meltzer Krief said.

She said high fevers of 104 and 105 that can’t be brought down are definitely reasons to seek medical attention.

Q: What are some other safe ways I can ease my child’s symptoms and bring down their fever if I don’t have access to medicine?

A: Meltzer Krief said that cough suppressants and decongestants generally aren’t recommended for children because studies have shown that they don’t work. She said by keeping a child’s head elevated, they can breathe better through their nose and possibly ease their cough.

“Definitely have a cool humidifier going in their room because the heat can be really drying,” she said. “Saline drops and suctioning from the nose, especially in younger children and babies before they sleep and before they eat will help them breathe more comfortably … some home remedies are equally effective. If it’s child over a year of age, you can give them a little honey to help with a cough.”

Other suggestions to reduce fever include having them drink cool fluids, giving them a lukewarm, but not cold, bath or applying lukewarm compresses to the body.

Parents shouldn’t panic, she said, or consider using adult medications for their children. She urged them to call their pediatricians for advice or to discuss any concerns.

Q: What do I do if I think a pharmacy or store is charging too much for children’s cold medicine?

A: New York State Attorney General Letitia James put out a warning on Monday that her office is aware of reports that some stores are charging two or three times the retail value of these medications. State law bars merchants from selling goods that are vital to people’s health, safety or welfare at an excessive price, according to her office.

Consumers can report price gouging calling 1-800-771-7755 or filling out a form online.

James said they should report the specific increased prices, dates and places where they were observed and provide copies of sales receipts and photos of advertised prices if available.

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