Can’t find children’s Tylenol in Kamloops, Okanagan? Here are some options | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Can’t find children’s Tylenol in Kamloops, Okanagan? Here are some options

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Shortages of children’s Tylenol on pharmacy shelves really should not be a huge worry for parents.

While there are times when it’s an important aid in treating respiratory illnesses, it’s more of a last resort.

“If you’re really worried, then you shouldn’t be running around trying to find acetaminophen,” Dr. David May, president of the B.C. College of Family Physicians, told iNFOnews.ca. “Getting your kid in to be seen is the most important thing.”

There are three types of respiratory illnesses hitting children hard this fall. Two of them, flu and COVID-19, can be reduced or prevented by vaccinations.

The others, mostly RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is where the Tylenol may be useful.

The first step, May said, is to prevent getting sick in the first place.

That’s hard in schools where it spreads easily but, during the pandemic, masking really helped reduce the spread of other illnesses as well.

When a child does get sick, one of the key concerns is high temperatures.

Tylenol is a pain killer and temperature controller, so it can help but even if it's not available, there are other varieties.

One is to get generic acetaminophen which has fewer supply shortages, is just as effective and cheaper.

Another option, also with fewer supply issues, is suppositories. Those are particularly useful if the child is vomiting.

“Sick kids don’t like to swallow stuff,” Dr. May said.

But, there are also other methods of temperature control that can be used rather than giving them a pill.

“Take their clothes off,” he suggested. “Sponge them down with tepid water.”

The other thing is to have a good thermometer.

Dr. May is not concerned about temperatures up to about mid-38 Celsius and would not use acetaminophen at those times. But 39 C is a concern because children can go into convulsions.

That’s the time parents might want to get medical assistance.

And, while many people don’t have family physicians and may be worried about long waits in hospital emergency rooms, Dr. May pointed out that patients are triaged. That means a child with a high fever and trouble breathing will probably jump the queue.

When is it time to see a doctor?

“The number one thing is parents’ spidey sense,” Dr. May said. “That’s something I’ve learned over the years. If I get a parent coming in and saying: ‘My kid is sick,’ I’m really going take that as a strong message, and look at that kid because parents know kids much better than anyone else. So, if your spidey senses are telling you your kid is really sick, you’re probably right.”

A final option is to split adult dosages of acetaminophen.

St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team in Toronto has drafted a guideline for clinicians on how to split adult pills based on age and weight.

That’s now being posted on social media.

While not totally ruling out such actions, Dr. May said it should only be done on the advice of a physician because overdoses can be very serious.

“I think the potential for harm is more than the potential for good,” he said.

READ MORE: Little one stuffed up and cranky? Doctors offer up tips for treating RSV at home


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