Children’s Tylenol is getting harder to find. Here’s what to do.

Influenza, covid and RSV are causing a rise in demand. Experts discuss what other medications children can take and what they absolutely should not use.

A cold and flu medicine shelf is empty in a CVS Pharmacy in Burbank, Calif., on Tuesday. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
8 min

In recent weeks, parents and other caregivers have found it tough to get over-the-counter fever- and pain-reducing medications for their ill children.

Three respiratory viruses — influenza, the coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV — have been sweeping across the nation, swamping hospital emergency rooms and pediatricians’ offices, and prompting higher demand for the drugs. Supplies of pediatric formulations such as liquid acetaminophen and ibuprofen have become scarce in many places as manufacturers struggle to keep pace with pressure from worried parents.

The Washington Post spoke with experts about the shortage and to answer common questions about what parents can do to help their children if they can’t find these drugs. Here’s what they said.

Read more from Well+Being

Well+Being shares news and advice for living well every day. Sign up for our newsletter to get tips directly in your inbox.

Eating like a centenarian can help you live a longer life.

Waking up frequently at night can harm your health. Here are three ways to improve sleep.

The frequency and color of poop can vary. Most of the time, they shouldn’t cause alarm.

You should avoid kava and 9 other risky dietary supplements.

Try these 6 ways to slow memory decline and lower dementia risk