INDIANAPOLIS — The rise of respiratory illnesses in children has sent Hoosier parents and caregivers in search of over-the-counter medications but they’re in short supply at many pharmacies and grocery stores.

Local parents are growing frustrated as pharmacy shelves of child medications remain empty. 

“Nobody can get it,” said mom Erin Dague. “We went to 10 different stores looking around Indianapolis. We literally could not find what we needed for him.”

The mom-of-five says it has been a nightmare. 

“When we can’t get what we need and we have special needs children, that’s extremely stressful because it’s the difference between him being able to participate in day-to-day life,” Dague said.

She’s resorted to Facebook groups to try and find the medication her children need. 

“I’m on my local group and I was like ‘Hey, does anybody have this?’,” Dague said. “I even offered to trade.”

Pediatrician and Medical Director of Managed Health Services, Dr. Eric Yancy, said if you can’t find child medication to treat cold and flu-like illnesses, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, there are a few other ways to treat a fever.

“You can use lukewarm water bath, which produces artificial sweat,” Dr. Yancy said. “As the water evaporates on the skin, the heat goes with that evaporative process.”

He recommends dressing the child in loose clothing, hydrating often and avoiding putting alcohol on the skin.

“We don’t recommend scaling down adult medications because some of them can be dangerous for children,” Dr. Yancy said. “You can’t just say if adult takes this, give child half of that.”

If a fever is below 101 degrees, Dr. Yancy recommends avoiding taking a medication and letting the body do what it does best. 

“A fever can actually help the immune system and help them recovery,” Dr. Yancy said. “When you treat low-grade fevers vigorously, you decrease the immune system’s ability to get rid of infection.”

If a fever lasts longer than 72 hours, goes away and returns or you notice changes to a child’s breathing, eating or mood, doctors recommend seeking medical care. 

Meantime, Dr. Yancy says parents should be prepared for the short supply to last. 

“As long as we’re in the peak of everyone catching everything all the time, then the shortage will last for a matter of weeks if not months,” Dr. Yancy said.