Some places running low on meds as sicknesses rise

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 4:38 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Some are calling it a triple threat: the flu; RSV, and COVID-19. It means a lot of people are sick and they need medicine.

A local urgent care facility says patients are waiting up to two hours to be seen. Parents say finding medication, especially for children, has been a big challenge.

At QuikMed Urgent Care in Watertown on Tuesday, there was a wait of more than a half hour.

The test tubes contained nearly 50 flu and COVID tests.

In the last few weeks, the urgent care is doing 30 to 35 flu tests every day.

“Probably 90 percent of those are positive,” said Milly Smith, physician assistant, QuikMed Urgent Care.

Michelle Harnas tested positive for the flu a few days ago and brought her daughter to QuikMed to be seen.

“I’m having her here because she started with another fever today. Now my son’s coughing, so I think my ex-husband and son will be here later today also,” she said.

After diagnosis comes treatment and that can be tough when medications are hard to find.

“Normally I just go right to the Dollar Store right in my town and get it. The shelves were so bare. It took me about a half hour just to find something decent for kids,” said Harnas.

At Bolton’s Pharmacy in Watertown, there are some shortages behind and over-the-counter.

“Been doing our best to try to get supply in, but if it’s not there, you can’t do much to get it,” said Shawn Signor, supervising pharmacist.

With shortages of drugs like amoxicillin, Signor says parents are looking to stock up on medications like Tylenol and ibuprofen as illnesses like the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 seem to be hitting everyone at once.

“Sometimes it’s kind of a panic to stock up on some supply at home. Other times it’s for actively treating their sick kids,” said Signor.

Smith says pharmacies have been good about letting her know when they’re low and coming up with alternatives for kids.

“They’ll call us and say, ‘Oh, we’re out of that for a few days, but in three days we’ll have it,’ and they’re staying on top of it. At least here at QuikMed, they’re informing us of that,” she said.

With a long way to go before flu season ends, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says drug-makers are working non-stop to fill the demand.