What's a New Jersey parent to do when faced with empty shelves in the children's medication aisle?

As a tripledemic of early flu, RSV and COVID-19 rages, parents say they are running into yet another shortage: over-the-counter medications, especially of children's versions of Tylenol, Motrin and other products.

The New Jersey Department of Health said it's heard anecdotal reports of spot shortages but said the FDA isn't reporting shortages.

The FDA this week said its drug shortage staff is asking manufacturers to evaluate their entire supply chain including active pharmaceutical ingredients, finished dose forms, and any components that may be impacted in any area of the supply chain. But it's not reporting any specific shortages of any particular product or ingredient.

"The FDA continues to take steps to monitor the supply chain. The Drug Shortage Staff within the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) has asked manufacturers to evaluate their entire supply chain, including active pharmaceutical ingredients, finished dose forms, and any components that may be impacted in any area of the supply chain due to the COVID-19 outbreak," the FDA said on its website.

Department of Health: Don't hog the medications

If you do find a hard-to-get product, the New Jersey Department of Health suggests not stocking up.

"Residents should consider not stocking up on a large supply of medicine beyond what their family currently needs to help avoid reducing access to those medicines for other parents in their area," spokeswoman Dalya Ewais said in an email.

The best way to get a handle on the tripledemic is to follow the basics implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic like handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick to help slow the spread of respiratory viruses, according to Ewais.

Ewais also said the best protections against the influx of respiratory viruses are the flu shot and updated COVID-19 booster shots.

The New York City Health Department on Friday issued an advisory urging people to mask up while indoors and in crowded outdoor settings.

The CDC's weekly influenza summary map has New Jersey at a very high activity level. Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties are at high community levels of COVID-19 activity while the rest of the state is at medium as of Friday.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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