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Potential rise of respiratory illnesses following holidays amid continued drug shortage

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 23:13:37-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Teas — On a national level, health experts say they expect to see a rise of respiratory illnesses in the New Year, following all of the holiday gatherings. This comes as pharmacies and stores continue to see medication shortages for over-the-counter drugs and prescription medication.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, drug shortages can occur for many reasons, including manufacturing and quality problems, delays, and discontinuations. Manufacturers provide the FDA most drug shortage information, and the agency works closely with them to prevent or reduce the impact of shortages.

In the Coastal Bend it's still possible to find some of the medication you need for respiratory illnesses, however it could be difficult.

"All the shelves are empty," said Irene Guerrero, a Corpus Christi resident. She said her son and mother were sick with a cold and fever around the holiday season. She was able to use Vicks products and pain killers. However, finding a specific brand was hard to find.

"No one had Tylenol," she said. "I went to Stripes, they had none. So, I finally went out to Walgreens and managed to find a few packs. They did have some of the other capsules and stuff but not the extra strength."

KRIS 6 News checked out popular area pharmacies and saw that shelves in the cold and flu aisle had empty spaces. Medicine used during the daytime and medicine specific for children was harder to find.

Local pharmacist and owner of Nichols Southside Pharmacy, John McNeill said they too have experienced some shortages periodically.

"One of the things, like the Robitussin DM. We've been having trouble getting it, but on and off. I think we've been able to get most everything okay." he said.

McNeill added, DayQuil and NyQuil is in stock, as well as antibiotics. However, he recommends alternative relievers for people having a hard time finding what they need. Nichols Southside pharmacy carries a medication called Respiratory Resilience which McNeill recommends for flu-like symptoms.

"It's got a lot of different stuff like Zinc and Vitamin C, which helps and it also has turmeric which helps heal faster." said McNeill.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has tips on alternative for parents who can't find certain medication for their children. It said older children can be given acetaminophen and ibuprofen chewables. They can also have liquid versions if available. For congestion, Academy reccomends nasal sprays, humidifiers and mentholated rubs. For fevers, a cold compress is on option parents can try.

The Nueces County Public Health District said it will be keeping an eye on COVID and flu cases. We could find out data from the holidays in a week or two. The county does not track RSV or cases of the common cold.