Demand for medicine grows, leaving empty shelves as respiratory illnesses spread in Las Vegas

Demand for medicine grows, leaving empty shelves as respiratory illnesses spread in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As respiratory illnesses are spreading, the growing demand for medications is leading to bare shelves around the Las Vegas valley.

When Karina Blank’s two young children became sick this Christmas, she made a stop at the pharmacy to pick up some medications only to find empty shelves.

“Just the stress of trying to find something and ordering online, it’s just not available. So when you find a Tylenol or anything you just grab it because it’s not available,” Blank said. “I’ve sent my husband out to CVS, Walgreens, and Amazon. Won’t get here until two weeks beginning of January. We’ve been to a few supermarkets and stores.”

While some stores have more products than others, you might not always find what you need when it comes to medications, canned goods or tissues.

Bryan Wachter, the senior vice president of the Retail Association of Nevada, recommended you shop around or order online.

“We have RSV circulating, flu is circulating and we have folks who are getting COVID, so the need and the demand for these types of products have been increasing,” said Wachter. “What we really need folks to do is buy one especially if they’re going to need it, buy what they’re using in the immediate future and stop stocking up on five or six of them when the shelves are full.”

He said certain products may be hard to come by due to labor issues and this week’s major snowstorm, which has delayed shipments across the country.

“Aluminum is hard to come by at the moment because of labor challenges because of supply, and so soda cans, soup cans, things that use or heavily have aluminum,” Wachter added.

Dr. Jim Andrus, Director of Pediatric Critical Care at Summerlin Hospital, said he’s seen a heavy winter virus season, which started much earlier this year.

“Like any other viral illness, all these are accompanied by fevers and coughs and runny nose, things like that, so lots of products normally on the shelves get taken up really quickly,” said Dr. Andrus.

Dr. Andrus said it’s important to stay on top of good hygiene practices.

“Come the new year, we still have three more months of pretty cold weather, so I would expect to see a lot more patients between January, February and March. Also, we still haven’t even seen a big influx of influenza yet, we’re just starting to see it,” Dr. Andrus explained. “I expect that’s going to peak in the next month or so.”

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