More American children are hospitalized as the formula crisis continues

Another state is reporting that American children are at risk of hospitalization due to a shortage of formula. Georgia authorities report that children with medical conditions are being hospitalized at Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta because their families could not find the food their infants needed.

the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:

A spokesperson for Children’s said Thursday that all hospitalized children have specific dietary needs and any changes to their formula should be carefully monitored to ensure they are well tolerated. It can be time-consuming and complicated to find a substitution that meets the nutritional needs of children, and then to ensure that the new formula will not trigger negative and potentially dangerous reactions, such as dehydration or diarrhea.

The hospital declined to provide a specific number of children hospitalized, but said some were hospitalized in February when an infant formula factory was closed, and others were hospitalized more recently as the shortage of infant formula has worsened.

The children’s spokesperson said the hospitalizations included babies as well as older children and all have since been discharged.

The news of the local hospitalizations comes as formula shortages have reached an all-time high, with parents desperate for formula and stores sold out. The White House and federal agencies this week took steps to restart Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan formula plant, the largest in the United States, which has been closed since February due to contamination concerns. President Biden on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act to order suppliers of formula ingredients to prioritize delivery to manufacturers. Even so, Abbott estimated it would take at least two months for supplies to return to stores.

Doctors and health experts say finding substitutes isn’t easy and can even be dangerous.

Dr. Stephen Thacker, pediatric infectious disease specialist and associate chief medical officer at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, states in the article:

It is certainly a difficult time for many parents. It is important for families to know that most children can safely switch to other formulas without any risk of harm. If your child needs a specialized formula, talk to your doctor to make sure you have a plan for your child if the local supply runs out.

Dr. Hugo Scornik, president of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said parents shouldn’t water down formula, try to create their own recipes found online, or give them cow’s milk.

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