Dec 21, 2022 - News

Des Moines cold medicine shortage leaves parents scrambling

Illustration of a pattern of covid particles and positive signs turning into each other.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Pediatric drug shortages are hitting Des Moines-area pharmacies as the "tripledemic" besieges the metro area and beyond.

A winter outbreak of respiratory illnesses like RSV, COVID-19 and the flu are filling up hospital beds.

Driving the news: Parents seeking over-the-counter medications like children's Tylenol are finding empty shelves instead.

  • Families are struggling finding common cold and flu medications to help their ailing kids. CVS and Walgreens are limiting how much parents may buy.

What's happening: Two years of COVID-19 mitigation means people, especially young children, are more susceptible to colds or the flu, said Wendy Mobley-Bukstein, an associate professor of pharmacy practice at Drake University.

  • Mobley-Bukstein likened the experience to children getting sick during their first year of daycare, but returning the second year with more immunity.

Of note: Young children are not suffering permanently from problems surrounding a lack of immunity.

What they're saying: Even though a fever is uncomfortable, it does not need to be medically treated if a child is under 102 degrees, Mobley-Bukstein said.

  • If your kid is experiencing fever symptoms, ensure they're wearing lightweight clothing and drinking water and electrolytes.
  • And if your child does need medication, she recommends speaking with a local pharmacist who can help with dosages.

The bottom line: Mobley-Bukstein said she's hoping the upcoming school break will slow the spread of illnesses by the new year, due to people staying indoors.


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