A surge in viral infections may be causing children to go without medications

November 25, 2022

 Many pharmacies and retailers across Canada are currently suffering a temporary shortage of newborn and children’s liquid acetaminophen (active ingredient in Tylenol) and ibuprofen (active ingredient in Advil) products due to an early surge in viral diseases over the spring and summer of 2022. 

Health Canada has approved a mass importation of acetaminophen from Australia, and ibuprofen from the United States in an effort to relieve the shortage. Ibuprofen has been imported and is being distributed to clinics; Acetaminophen is expected to be imported soon. 

As parents and caregivers may experience distress as a result of this lack of medication, the following information might be of use to individuals impacted by this shortage:     

Parents should ensure that they only buy as much medication as is needed. When a fever occurs, always keep in mind that the body is fighting an infection and often just needs time and rest. Encourage children to drink plenty of fluids, apply cold compresses, and keep them comfortable. Lukewarm baths can also help to alleviate pain. Consult a pediatrician if: a fever lasts longer than 24 hours in children under 2; or a fever lasts longer than 72 hours in children older than 2.

Children under 2 should never be given fever or pain medications without consulting a doctor. When acetaminophen is given (especially to infants and children) there is a significant risk of overdose and liver damage; As such, parents should ensure that they buy fever and pain medications from licensed pharmacies and follow medication instructions carefully. 

While what is happening with the shortage is both concerning and unfortunate; Canada is working to get matters fixed and to ensure the safety and health of children during these challenging times. 

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