Drug stores across New York City are struggling to keep Children’s Tylenol and other medicines on their shelves as a tripledemic of RSV, COVID and influenza surge across the five boroughs.
Staples like Tylenol and Robitussin for children are almost as hard to find this holiday season as some of the most popular kids’ toys.
Desperate parents have gone from store to store looking for medicine to bring down fevers and give some relief, only to be told that pharmacies are waiting for shipments or are just sold out.
“I just got a text that my son has a 101 fever,” said Jeremy Young, 43, who was pacing the aisle at a Duane Reade/Walgreens in Ridgewood, Queens, in a desperate search for Children’s Tylenol.
Young said his 9-year-old son was at home, miserable after getting flu symptoms at school, where a nurse took his temperature earlier Monday.
The drug store stop was his second of the day.
“I was over at CVS. They were out,” Young said. “”I don’t even know if another store’s going to have anything.”
But in this day and age, even misery is relative.
“He tested negative. That much I know.” Young said, relieved.
He meant negative for COVID.
Target on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was struggling to keep children’s medicine in stock.
“People are coming in the morning,” said an associate at the Target store. “That’s the best time to get the kids’ stuff. Every time we put them out, they’re gone as soon as we restock them.”
He said it did not help that customers bought more than they needed.
“People take as many as they can since there are no limits,” the employee told a customer. “I can check the back for you, but I’ve been back there for other customers and I can tell there is nothing in kids’ meds.”
Hospitals across the city have begin struggling — and bracing for things to get worse — as they deal with a rise in RSV and flu cases combined with a recent boost in COVID-19 numbers.
Waves of the flu, COVID and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, a common and highly contagious virus that has been hitting young children hard this year, are stretching hospital resources thin.
RSV is a common virus that usually causes mild cold-like symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most people recover in a week or two, the virus can be serious for infants and older adults. A small portion of the population — about 1% — faces serious symptoms.
“Yesterday, our front manager told us we were out of product. People have been coming in and taking kids’ Robitussin, kids’ Tylenol and the children’s ibuprofen,” said a pharmacy tech at a Lexington Ave. CVS. “Our scripts for kids have also been going up because of all the sickness that’s been going around.
“We’re waiting for the new shipment of product that should restock us,” he continued. “If we don’t get it in tonight, we should get in a new shipment on Wednesday. But even so, the product has been going fast. I don’t know if the warehouses are being restocked which In turn affects our shelves. A lot of customers have complained.”