Officials: Shortage of liquid Tamiflu for children

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - If your child comes down with the flu, you may have a hard time finding the liquid anti-viral medications that can ease their suffering.

Federal health officials are reporting a shortage of the drug Tamiflu.

If you've ever tried to get a kid to swallow medicine, you know it can be just as painful for you as it is for them. That's why a shortage of liquid Tamiflu is sending some parents into panic mode.

Tamiflu is the only flu treatment option for children between seven years and 2-weeks-old.

"The liquid Tamiflu, we usually run out a lot quicker than the pill form," said  Dr. Kathrym Espana of Texas Children's Pediatrics-Fannin.

The manufacturer blames the shortage on high demand and says production should be caught up within a week.

"I want to make sure parents know, you don't get Tamiflu and you're cured from the flu, the study suggests it makes it a little bit milder," said Espana.

The shortage does not affect the capsule form of Tamiflu, which can be tough to swallow for some kids and adults.

"Start maybe with something like M&Ms because they do have the mini ones. So you can put it in the back of your throat and swallow that, and if you chew on it, it's no big deal, and if they do OK with the mini ones, get the regular size ones, then go from there," said Espana.

When it comes to anti-viral medications like Tamiflu and Relenza, the sooner you get it, the better, especially within the first 24 to 48 hours of when symptoms set in.

Remember, these are not a cure for flu and are not a substitute for the flu vaccine.

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