miami – Doctors warn of an increase in respiratory illnesses such as the flu, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19 amid shortages of some medicines for children.
Cases spiked after Thanksgiving Day and will likely continue to rise during the December gathering.
“Any holiday that allows people to be together in the same area where someone might get sick, it’s going to rip through like wildfire,” said Dr. Joshua Lenchas, Broward Health’s chief medical officer.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalizations for patients testing positive for Covid-19 increased by more than 30% in two weeks. Children and the elderly with other health problems are most at risk.
“What we’ve seen over the last few weeks is an increase in emergency services due to respiratory illnesses – mainly RSV, COVID and influenza. It has a greater impact on the pediatric population than others,” Lenchas said.
Cases also increased at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami-Dade.
“I think we have a lot of respiratory viruses in general,” said Dr. Rodney Baker, director of emergency medicine at Nicholas Children’s Hospital.
Shortages of children’s fever reducers such as Tylenol and Motrin and antibiotics such as amoxicillin increase respiratory illness.
“There are alternatives but amoxicillin is often the first-line choice for most children,” Baker said.
Children and the elderly with other health problems are most vulnerable to severe symptoms. Both Baker and Lenchus recommend using masks and vaccines for influenza, Covid, and RSV.
“I think people have some vaccine fatigue, so people haven’t gotten their influenza vaccine, which is a shame because it’s supposed to be pretty good,” Baker said.
Amoxicillin deficiency can last for months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Johnson & Johnson announced an increase in Tylenol production. The US Food and Drug Administration is providing updates on drug shortages.
Last year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the US Department of Health and Human Services to identify supply chain risks to pharmaceuticals and their active ingredients and address those risks.
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