Over the counter medicines in short supply amid start of flu season

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Thursday, November 17, 2022
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With an early flu season and uptick in respiratory illnesses, over the counter medicines are in short supply.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you've been shopping for cold and cough medicines, chances are store shelves aren't fully stocked.

With an early flu season and uptick in respiratory illnesses, over the counter medicines are in short supply.

Pharmacist Darren Lew of the Medicine Shoppe in Clovis says unlike the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, the short supply isn't attributed to people stocking up for a rainy day.

"Our over the counter medicines to treat cold symptoms have been hard to come by and there are times when we can't even get it to put on our shelves," Lew said. "This season is extra bad because we've opened up and we're getting back to our lives and I think illnesses are spreading a little easier."

Valley Children's Hospital is averaging 350 to almost 400 children in their emergency department per day.

"We're definitely starting to see that surge right now having our positivity rate went up over forty percent from the week previous to last week," said Complex Care Pediatrician Dr. Carmela Sosa.

That number is likely higher as not all children are tested for RSV.

RSV in children: Symptoms, treatment and what parents should know

Last week they confirmed 182 positive cases of RSV, up from 66 the week prior.

80 of those children had to be hospitalized.

"We're seeing an increase in the number of influenza cases as well, just not as quick or not as big of a spike as the RSV cases," Dr. Sosa said.

Children who are the highest risk for complications associated with RSV are babies that are premature, under the age of 6 months or have underlying lung disease.

Symptoms and spread of RSV are similar to the common cold.

"Most people are just infectious for a week or two but some younger kids can spread or shed the virus for a number of weeks," Dr. Sosa said.