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Can’t find children’s Tylenol? How to help your child feel better safely
December 05, 2022
Mom helping sick daughter drink tea

    Can’t find children’s Tylenol? How to help your child feel better safely

    Parents in search of over-the-counter liquid pain relievers and fever reducers for their kids are stumbling upon empty shelves – a sight that can be frustrating and scary.

    “An early spike in viral and respiratory illnesses has caused a high demand for children’s Tylenol and ibuprofen. We’re also seeing limitations in some prescription medications, such as amoxicillin and Tamiflu,” said pediatrician Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough. “It’s not a cause for panic, but we do encourage parents and caregivers to be cautious about how they care for their children’s pain and fevers during this time.”

    The good news is that manufacturers and retailers expect supplies to be back to normal within a few weeks. But what should you do – or not do – in the meantime?

    What not to do if you’re having trouble finding liquid Tylenol or ibuprofen for your child

    • DON’T give adult medications without checking with your child’s doctor.
    • DON’T give aspirin unless instructed by your child’s doctor. Aspirin has been linked with a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome that causes swelling in the liver and brain. It most commonly affects kids recovering from viral infections.
    • Avoid using expired medications.
    • Avoid the urge to stock up on medicine. We need to work together to ensure supplies are available when they’re urgently needed.

    How to help your child while children’s Tylenol and Motrin are in short supply

    • If your child is older than 3 months and has a mild fever but otherwise feels okay and can stay hydrated, they don’t necessarily need medicine.
    • Kids over 2 years old may be able to switch to children’s chewable versions, while many older children (around middle school ages) can start learning to swallow pills. They still need the children’s versions of the medicines, or guidance from their pediatrician to make sure the type and dosage is safe.
    • Consider non-medication options for helping your child feel better. This may include a cool washcloth on the forehead or behind the neck, cool baths, plenty of fluids, an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte or popsicles to cool down and hydrate if they’re not interested in drinking.

    Most respiratory illnesses can be treated at home, but our pediatricians and emergency room are available when you need us.

    Find out when to call your pediatrician and when to go to the ER for respiratory illnesses.

    Other injuries and illnesses continue to happen too. Take a look at the symptoms and situations that require a trip to the emergency room.

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