Saskatchewan has not been spared by the nationwide shortage of children’s pain and fever medications. Pharmacists are asking parents not to panic and said there are still options if one of their children has feverish symptoms.
The shortage started with the COVID-19 pandemic as companies didn’t have enough workers to fulfil the demand. A Regina pharmacist at the Northgate Medicine shop said he receives a lot of phone calls from patients inquiring about Children’s Tylenol.
“Being a parent myself, I know the struggles they are having because I have sick ones at home as well,” said Jarron Yee. “We are completely depleted of the commercial product.”
A temporary solution where some compounded pharmacies are able to make Tylenol and Advil and prescribe them over the counter. Yee is advising parents to call ahead, and they will be able to tell you if they can make it or guide you toward a compounded pharmacy that can.
“Being a compounded pharmacy, one of the advantages that we have is that we still have access to the raw ingredients (and we are) able to make it,” said Yee. “So, we are able to individualize (and) make it for each specific patient.”
Local pediatrician Dr. Chiranjib Talukdar said in the months of October and November there is a rise in upper respiratory tract infection and attributes it to school, where kids pass the infection from one child to the other.
“Definitely last three months, (kids) are getting (colder and) they are getting more fever and especially winter is coming,” he said. “So, they will be (getting sicker) and we need Tylenol and Advil very badly.”
Talukdar says compound pharmacies are very beneficial during the shortage of children’s pain and fever medication. He advises parents to take advice from doctors and health professionals and to be aware of their child’s symptoms.
“If the fever is mild and if temperature is less than 38.5, the child doesn’t need Tylenol or Advil. The child needs a lot of fluid to drink,” said Talukdar. “Second is comfort comforting the child. Third is increasing the humidity in the house. Then within a week to 10 days’ time, the child gets better and (will not) need Advil or Tylenol.”
Talukdar says parents need to retain the education on dealing with fever as every fever does not have to be seen by a doctor or a nurse. Doctors do not advise cold water on the head and say if the child is not responding, is drowsy or the colour is changing on their lips and fingertips, they should be taken to the emergency room right away.
Other health tips can be viewed on the Saskatchewan Health Authority website.