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Antibiotic and Antiviral Medication Shortages

Nationally, we have experienced multiple shortages since the start of the pandemic, including medications commonly used for childhood illnesses, which has caused limited availability.

The following medications are in short supply in parts of the country:

  • Tamiflu: antiviral medication used to treat influenza.
  • Amoxicillin: antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections (commonly prescribed to treat children with ear infections, strep throat and chest infections).
  • It may also be harder to find common over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) and ibuprofen (found in Advil and Motrin).

At Children’s Mercy, we are taking conservation efforts by prescribing dosing according to evidence-based practice.

Tips to manage at home

Children can be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen for a fever, which is the body’s natural response to illness or infection. Fever is not known to endanger a generally healthy child.

  • Ibuprofen can be used for kids 6 months of age and older.
  • Acetaminophen can be used for younger infants, but if a child is less than 3 months of age and has a fever, contact the child's primary clinician before using acetaminophen.
  • Choose the medication the child responds to best and stick with it. Do not alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • Keep track of when you give the medication, so the next dose isn't given too soon. This will also help with conserving supply.
  • It is not safe to give your child adult medication at a lower dose since it can be hard to make sure the correct dose is given.
  • See links below for appropriate dosages for children.

When to contact the doctor

Parents should contact the child’s primary clinician because of a fever if:

  • The child is less than 3 months of age.
  • The child doesn't seem to be improving with management at home.
  • The child is not able to tolerate liquids or has signs of dehydration, such as decrease in wet diapers or dry mouth.
  • The child is acting ill, even when fever-free.
  • The child has a severe headache, sore throat or ear pain.
  • The child isn't acting like him or herself.
  • You have any other concerns.


Here are some additional resources to help if your child has a fever: