Pediatrician offers tips for parents amid high demand for children’s Tylenol, Ibuprofen

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is seeing more calls from parents for advice as they stumble upon empty shelves of children’s pain relievers
The Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU is also seeing some limitations in prescription medications, such as amoxicillin and Tamiflu.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 5:21 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As doctors and hospitals see a spike in cases of respiratory and viral illnesses among children, parents are also finding more empty shelves as they try to buy over-the-counter liquid pain relievers and fever reducers.

“We are seeing parents calling in to get advice about what do I do if I can’t get medication in for my child,” said Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU also said they’ve seen some limitations in prescription medications, including amoxicillin and Tamiflu.

Dr. Kimbrough said the empty shelves come as demand for infant pain and fever-reducing medication goes up amid an early spike in respiratory and viral illnesses among kids.

“Specifically liquid Tylenol and Motrin, and some difficulties even with the chewable forms,” said Dr. Kimbrough.

Amid this spike, Dr. Kimbrough says parents shouldn’t panic.

“I know, especially as you’re looking for what your child needs right now, can be a little bit stressful,” said Dr. Kimbrough. “We saw that with the formula shortage as well, so call around to local pharmacies and see if someone does have that medication.”

If you find the medicine you need, Dr. Kimbrough says to try not to hoard the available stock.

“Try to just buy one or two bottles at a time so other families have what they need as well,” she said.

If you don’t find the medication your child needs, Dr. Kimbrough suggests not giving your child adult medication without first checking in with their doctor.

“Medications are weight based for pediatrics, so taking an adult dose of a medication may not be in your child’s best interest so you might want to talk to your child’s pediatrician if you’re not sure what the appropriate dose is.” said Dr. Kimbrough.

Dr. Kimbrough also suggests parents not give children aspirin unless instructed by their pediatrician.

“The main reason is there can be a rare complication of aspirin when given with viruses that can cause liver damage, so we don’t recommend using aspirin routinely for pediatrics unless we’re treating something very specific,” she said.

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU also says if your child is older than 3 months and has a mild fever, otherwise feels okay and can stay hydrated, they don’t necessarily need medicine.

For fevers, Dr. Kimbrough said keeping your children hydrated is key.

“Using Pedialyte or Gatorade if they’re not able to keep down traditional fluids,” she said. “Using a cool washcloth on their forehead can help. Taking kind of a lukewarm bath.”

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU also says kids over 2 years old may be able to switch to children’s chewable versions, while many older children can start learning to swallow pills. However, doctors say they still need the children’s versions of the medicines, or guidance from their pediatrician to make sure the medications and dosages are safe.