Kids Tylenol, Advil, Motrin in short supply: What parents should know


The sniffles are running rampant among children this year as the country sees a surge in respiratory viruses, leading to an unprecedented demand for over-the-counter medications.

Despite the early warnings from health experts, parents are still confronted by empty pharmacy shelves looking for something to alleviate their kids’ symptoms.  

“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now and this fall-winter is like no other. It’s bananas,” said Dr. Shelly Vaziri Flais, assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Health experts don’t anticipate the shortage to end anytime soon as flu, COVID-19, RSV, and cold cases continue to rise ahead of holiday gatherings.

Over-the-counter drugs for kids: What to know

Pain relievers in short supply include: Children’s acetaminophen, like Tylenol, and ibuprofen, like Motrin and Advil. Health experts say generic versions of these medications are also hard to find. 

Other drugs in short supply: Children’s antibiotics, like liquid amoxicillin.

Why experts say this is happening: The surge in respiratory viruses causing cold-like symptoms has driven the demand for over-the-counter medications, said Vaziri Flais. Antibiotics are also in short supply because they’re used to treat bacterial infections that often form as a result. 

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