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Doctor offers alternatives amid antibiotic shortage | What to know

Dr. Jennifer Shu said rising cases of RSV are likely part of the problem.

ATLANTA — Parents across the country, including here in metro Atlanta, are dealing with a shortage of antibiotics. This is happening as cases of respiratory illnesses continue to rise

Children's Medical Group Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu said she's never seen a shortage like this in years but there are alternatives for parents.

"There has been a shortage probably over the past month that we've seen in Amoxicillin suspensions. So, that's a liquid. I've also seen some pharmacies be out of other antibiotics such... oseltamivir, which is Tamiflu, an antiviral that can be used for influenza," she said.

Dr. Shu said there's no way to tell what specifically caused the shortage, but she believes the increased demand due to rising respiratory illnesses is part of the problem. As a result, she said she's been recommending alternatives to the families of her young patients. 

"There are some alternatives that we can use for children who need these medicines. So we can use a different antibiotic. We can use a different formulation of the antibiotics, such as a chewable version, or if the parent can crush the tablet version or open up a capsule and give the child the medicine with, you know, with the granules that way," Dr. Shu said.

She added parents should be mindful of how much antibiotics they're giving their children to make sure they don't build up a resistance to the medicine. When consulting a doctor, she said to ask about alternative forms of medication and remedies as well. 

"For many of these respiratory illnesses, you can give supportive care to your child. And that may be as simple as sealing those drops or sealing spray to help clear some of their nasal congestion. A humidifier is sometimes useful, having them sit in a bathroom with the steamy water, steamy shower running that can help them breathe if they're old enough," she said.

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