Why CVS And Walgreens Are Limiting Sales Of Kids' OTC Medications

In response to the high demand for children's over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, CVS and Walgreens are setting limits for how much you can purchase at a time (via CNN). CVS has a two-product limit for both online and in-store pain relief medications, and Walgreens is limiting online purchases of OTC fever reducers to six. There is no limit for Walgreens purchases in the store. According to NBC News, Walmart isn't putting limits on purchases of children's OTC medications.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association says the shortage of OTC pain medicine for children isn't widespread across the United States. Parents might need to shop at different locations to find what they need. The organization advised parents not to panic and stock up because that would make the shortage widespread.

Although the flu is still circulating across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it's on the decline in some areas. Outpatient visits to the hospital for the flu peaked a few weeks ago but are now declining, even among children under 4 years old. The CDC also saw RSV hospitalizations peak in mid-November but they significantly dropped in December.

How to handle a shortage of children's pain medication

If you're used to buying Motrin or Tylenol, the Washington Post suggests looking for their generic forms, ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Most pharmacies offer their own store brands. You'll want to avoid giving children adult medication unless you've checked with your child's pediatrician.

If your child has a runny nose, use saline drops or suction bulbs to clear their nasal passages (via USA Today). Coughs can be treated with popsicles or honey if your child is more than a year old. If your child is six months or older, try warm apple juice or lemonade for a cough. You can treat your child's fever by giving them a lukewarm (not cool) bath and dressing them in loose-fitting clothing. Although a child with a fever might be scary, it's how the body fights infection. However, you should see a doctor if the fever lasts for more than three days.