Here's what experts say is causing a shortage of kids medicines and what you can do to treat your child safely during the shortage.

A “tridemic” of respiratory issues are currently causing a shortage of commonly used antibiotics for children, as well as some over-the-counter cold medications. Over the past few weeks, many experts have been warning about the possibility of a “tridemic” this winter which refers to three viruses, specifically COVID-19, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) all happening around the same time period.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specifically listed amoxicillin, an antibiotic widely prescribed for children to be in short supply. Store shelves have also been cleaned out of many liquid formulas of acetaminophen, the fever and pain medication many parents give their kids. Tylenol is temporarily unavailable in some areas. The shortage is expected to last for several weeks if not several months in some cases.

Doctors urge parents to exercise caution in substituting other medications for these drugs until they are once again available. However, there are ways you can safely substitute some medications for your kids, by following expert tips and consulting with your child’s doctor.

Experts say that the reason we are experiencing these shortages is because kids are simply getting sick more often. “What I'm seeing is that kids didn't get sick as much over the past couple of years because of masking and social distancing,” says Meghan Martin, MD, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. “Now, it’s like they’re playing catch-up — getting sick multiple times.”

It is recommended that parents frequently check the website of any OTC product you’re searching for. The FDA’s website also posts updates on drug shortages for real-time information.

In some cases, parents and caregivers can substitute different antibiotics or OTC medicine? Ask your child’s doctor in detail about which medications may be appropriate to prescribe instead, to make sure your child will not be at risk for an allergic reaction.

If you're thinking you can just give the child adult medicine...THINK AGAIN because some ingredients in adult meds can be toxic to young children.

If your child definitely needs an antibiotic and isallergic to a suggested substitute, call your drugstore and ask if it’s compounding certain medications during the shortage. If not, your child’s doctor can potentially assist you in finding local pharmacies that are.

One of the most important things that you can do during this shortage is to use Common sense. The shortage will end and until it does, rely on your child's doctor to get through this shortage safely. For more information, click here.

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