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Child medications hard to find as RSV, flu, COVID-19 cases surge

A pharmacist in St. Louis weighed in on the shortage and discussed alternatives.

ST. LOUIS — The so-called “tripledemic” has caused a shortage of antibiotics and medication in many stores and pharmacies, including in the Bi-State.

In the last few months, there have been a rise in respiratory illnesses: flu, COVID-19 and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) across the nation.

As a result, parents with young kids have stumbled upon empty shelves and are filling emergency rooms and urgent care due to not being able to find medicine for their kids.

Luck is what new dad Sayed Ahmed mentioned every parent with a young child needs right now.

“We actually needed to use antibiotics for her last month. She had some ear infection as far as severe infections. Luckily we were able to find it in one of the pharmacies here,“ he said.

He mentioned his toddler also fell short during the baby formula shortage.

“I had been driving for four hours to pick up baby formula from other cities around us,” Ahmed added.

The phones at Dr. Tyler Taylor's St. Louis Hills Pharmacy in Tower Grove South have been ringing off the hook.

“We're getting a lot of calls from people for typically looking for suspensions for kids in Amoxicillin and Tamiflu to see if we have it in stock. Because they call four, five, six, seven other places, and nobody has it,” the pharmacist said.

Taylor added that when Puerto Rico got hit by the hurricane, there were a bunch of drug shortages after that occurred but not really antibiotics or essentials and not all at the same time.

Fortunately, Taylor's pharmacy is independent.

"We have the flexibility of ordering from multiple wholesalers, so if one company doesn't have it, we might be able to order it from another one. The larger chain stores aren’t able to do that,” he said.

The pharmacy is also able to use compounds and make the medication to give a patient an alternative.

Over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen might also be hard to find.

“If it comes down to it, we can compound that too,” Taylor said.

Taylor advised parents to be patient and check with their doctor or pharmacist for alternatives.

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