SoCal facing children's medication shortages

As flu season reaches full strength, parents in Southern California are finding it increasingly difficult to find medications for their sick children. 

At drug stores from Upland to West Los Angeles and cities in between, shelves of cough medicines and pain relievers lay empty. 

"Tylenol, infant Tylenol, children's Tylenol, but we're running out of that as well, unfortunately," said Jessica, a pharmacist in Ontario. "We bought like three, four cases, we're almost done with our last case, actually."

The combination of the flue, RSV and COVID-19 has put strain on hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday extended its emergency declaration another month to help Children's Hospital of Orange County officials access medications that are in short supply and to utilize space elsewhere in the hospital for extra beds. 

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In some cases, a child is moderately sick before their condition worsens.

"What can happen is a bacterial infection can kind of piggyback off of the flu, the most common one being an ear infection," said Dr. Santhosh Nadipuram, a pediatric epidemiologist with Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children's. "You want to treat it with amoxicillin, and we have a shortage of especially the ones you need for little kids, the syrup."

The exact reason for the shortage is not known, but medical professionals theorize at least some of the shortage was caused by supply chain issues. 

Dr. Nadipuram says there are still things parents can do if their child is sick but they cant find medicine.

"If they want to be kept warm, give them a nice warm blanket, even if they have a fever, it's okay," he said. "If they want to cool off they can throw off their blanket. There [are] now excellent studies… that [show] chicken soup works."

City News Service contributed to this report.