Woman hand pouring medication or antipyretic syrup from bottle to spoon. health care, people and medicine concept.


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Pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS have implemented purchase limits on children's pain relief and fever-reducing medications due to a surge in demand during a bad season for multiple respiratory illnesses.

CVS is limiting purchases to two children's pain relief products for both online and in-store shoppers, while competitor Walgreens is limiting online purchasers to six fever reducers for each transaction. Walgreens doesn't have a chain-wide restriction on in-store purchases. The medications affected by the limits include children's versions of Tylenol, Advil, and Motrin, among others.

Sales of pediatric pain relievers are up 65% from this time last year, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. "Supplies of these products are being replenished as quickly as possible, and there is not a widespread shortage in the U.S.," the group said in a statement. "However, with demand for children’s pain and fever medicines reaching unprecedented levels following this early and severe flu season (along with cases of RSV and COVID), we understand why some retailers have adjusted to impose limits on purchases."

GalleryWhat To Know About Cold and Flu Season

Both CVS and Walgreens have cited increased demand and supplier challenges for the over-the-counter pain and fever medications as the reason for the limits. They've been put into place to "help support availability and avoid excess purchases," Walgreens said in a statement. 

In other words, don't use your remaining flexible-spending account funds to stock up on children's Tylenol, so that children who are sick right now can get the medicine they need.

Hospitals are strained right now with high bed-utilization rates across the country attributable to a "tripledemic" confluence of an extremely bad RSV season, COVID-19, and one of the worst influenza seasons in almost a decade. Over-the-counter pain relievers help control symptoms at home and keep children out of the hospital.

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