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Tripledemic: CVS and Walgreens limit sales of fever medications for children; What can parents do?

Many winter illnesses, including the common cold and the seasonal flu, dubbed as “tripledemic,” have arrived along with the Christmas season and children are particularly hard-hit by this increase in cases. 

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), parents, and pharmacists are warning that it is becoming harder to find drugs to treat children’s ear infections, sore throats, influenza, and common upper respiratory illnesses.

Experts assume that this issue is brought on by a rise in pharmaceutical demand as a result of children becoming unwell sooner than anticipated during the cold and flu season.

The sale of some children’s medications would be restricted, CVS and Walgreens both confirmed this week. Walgreens said that customers who purchase fever-relieving drugs for kids online will be limited to six purchases.

CVS imposed a two-product restriction for kids’ painkillers both in-store and online. Adult prescription medication is in low supply as a result of the widespread flu occurrences.

Children’s Medicine Shortage

To address shortages, the Biden administration declared last week that it will withdraw Tamiflu from the national supply.

The huge drop in RSV, influenza, and other respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Antoon, is what caused the surge.

As a result, many young children under the age of three have never experienced RSV or influenza, and this year, there are far more sensitive kids than in prior years who lack an underlying natural immunity to these viruses.

According to the CDC’s estimate, 15 million influenza-related illnesses have been reported this season. The CDC also notes an increase in RSV identification and visits to emergency rooms across a number of US locations. 

Pediatricians both locally and nationally are witnessing a huge surge in upper respiratory infections, from a high amount of respiratory viruses including one of the worst influenza seasons we’ve seen in about a decade to the worst RSV surge in years, according to Dr. Alok Patel of Stanford Children’s Health.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, and COVID-19 might all spread rapidly over the winter, creating a tripledemic, according to health experts.

The peak of the flu and cold season is in the fall and winter. The viruses that cause common respiratory diseases, like influenza, coronavirus, and RSV, spread to wide swaths of the population throughout these months. 

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine: Expert struggles to determine who should receive a booster

Tracking the ‘Tripledemic’

Many winter illnesses, including the common cold and the seasonal flu, dubbed as “tripledemic,” have arrived along with the Christmas season and children are particularly hard-hit by this increase in cases. 

Hospitalization for these illnesses is possible in children, elderly people, and immunocompromised people. Health officials predict that this season will likely see high rates of all three viruses.

The CDC keeps a close eye on infection rates using resources including the RSV monitoring system, the COVID-19 data tracker, and the FLUVIEW for influenza.

The risk of catching these infections is more understood by Americans thanks to these instruments. However, they omit to mention how these illnesses are handled in America.
The GoodRx Research Team has created tracking tools to keep track of prescription fills for medications to treat these respiratory infections as a result.

One of the main antiviral medications for the treatment of influenza that the CDC advises using is tamiflu (oseltamivir). If a person has been in close contact with someone who has the flu and has tested positive, Tamiflu can also be used to prevent the flu. To lessen the intensity of the symptoms and speed up the recovery process, tamiflu is typically administered for 5 days.

The GoodRx Research treatment tracker assigns the weeks to the flu season using the CDC’s weekly influenza reporting system methodology. The system begins reporting data during the 40th week of the year, at the beginning of the influenza season in October. 

The peak of the flu season usually occurs in December (week 48) and February (week 7). The first week of January marks the return of the weekly numbering system.

When it comes to reducing hospitalization and death, the COVID-19 vaccine is more effective than infectious disease.

Read more: China rushes to install hospital beds as the COVID-19 pandemic raises international alarm

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