Why is there a children’s Tylenol shortage? Here’s what parents can do.

Influenza, covid and RSV are causing a rise in demand. Experts discuss what other medications children can take and what they absolutely should not use.

A shortage of some over-the-counter fever- and pain-reducing medications, such as children's Tylenol and Advil, is worrying parents in many parts of the nation. (iStock)

In recent weeks, parents and other caregivers have found it tough to get over-the-counter fever- and pain-reducing medications for their ill children.

Three respiratory viruses — influenza, the coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV — have been sweeping across the nation, swamping hospital emergency rooms and pediatricians’ offices, and prompting a huge demand for the drugs. Supplies of pediatric formulations such as liquid acetaminophen and ibuprofen have become scarce in many places as manufacturers struggle to keep pace with pressure from worried parents.

The Washington Post spoke with four experts about the shortage and to answer common questions about what parents can do to help their children if they can’t find these drugs. Here’s what they said.

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