The “tridemic” brings the medicine shortage to the Black Hills

The nationwide drug shortage is starting to have an affect on some Black Hills pharmacies.
The nationwide drug shortage is starting to have an affect on some Black Hills pharmacies.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 1:35 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - With a shortage of medications around the United States, it was only a matter of time before it also hit the Rushmore State.

In recent weeks, some areas of the US have found it tough to get over-the-counter-fever-and pain-reducing medications. According to the Washington Post, this shortage is the outcome of the “tridemic,” a combination of RSV, Influenza, and COVID. This combination, according to them, is leading some parents across the country to create “isolated shortages,” here in the hills while the shortage of Tamiflu and Motril isn’t a big concern, but when it comes to Amoxicillin, it’s a different story.

“Most recently, the things that are hurting us are Amoxicillin shortages. Especially Amoxicillin Suspension that we would use for the pediatric patients,” said Monument Health’s in-person pharmacy director Dana Darger.

Darger adds that the shortage could be a combination of some parents just wanting something to give their child when they have a fever. Additionally, a viral infection won’t usually require medications like Amoxicillin.

“Just because you have a fever doesn’t mean you need an antibiotic. The majority of fevers are caused by viruses and things like Amoxicillin or Erythromycin won’t work for a viral infection,” said Darger

A Rapid City pediatrician said that usually, it’s the possibility of a secondary bacterial infection developing after being sick with the virus that would lead to needing the antibiotic.

“So, I usually give viruses like four days of fevers, then on day five we should check you out to make sure there’s not a secondary bacterial infection that needs antibiotics,” said Rapid City Medical Center pediatrician Kimberly Hushagen, M.D.

With the “tridemic” being a major reason the “isolated shortages” are happening; the director of infection and prevention control at Monument Health offered various ways to help prevent contracting one of the viruses.

“Ways that we can protect ourselves are through hand washing, wearing masks in crowded areas if you are feeling sick, staying home if you’re sick, and I can’t stress hand hygiene enough,” said Monument Health’s director of infection and prevention Ty White.

Hushagen added that with the shortage, it’s also encouraged to be patient with your health provider, especially during these times.

“I would just say that those viruses are definitely in our community and with all of the health care in the past couple of years we’ve been really busy,” said Hushagen, “So please be patient with us, we’re trying our best each day, calling numerous pharmacies to try and get the medications for our patients.”

If you are interested in keeping up with what drugs are currently in high demand nationwide, you can head to the Federal Drug Administration website for more information.