SACRAMENTO — A long-projected wave of respiratory illnesses has arrived in California.

“It’s a wakeup call to make sure that they are best protected,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at UC Davis Health.

The California Department of Public Health recently reported a young child died from the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Dr. Blumberg told CBS13 that UC Davis Health’s pediatric beds are close to full, which is typical for this time of year.

But the so-called “tripledemic” – a combination of flu, cold and COVID-19 – could overwhelm hospitals and is already leaving some store shelves empty.

Dr. Sonya Frausto, the owner of Ten Acres Pharmacy, said she noticed cold and flu medicines began selling out in early September.

“We’ve definitely seen a change in our product lines for cough and cold medications,” she said. “We’re seeing things we normally order not being available and us trying to figure out other product lines to bring into the pharmacy.”

So what should you do if your go-to medicine is out? Dr. Frausto suggests comparing active ingredients.

“For example, let’s take our Mucinex line and take our generic that’s right next to it,” she said.

If you flip it over in the back, it says the active ingredient is guaifenesin, which the generic brand also contains, she explained.

In addition to comparing active ingredients, Dr. Frausto said you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you buy the right medicine.

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