DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With Christmas fast-approaching, families have a new item on their shopping list: flu medication, and the surge in cases is making that more difficult to find.

With the level of illness spreading in the community, Cedar Care Village Pharmacy Director Justin Coby said it could indicate we are headed toward a drug shortage.

“It is common supply and demand,” Coby said. “The demand is high. Flu rates are the worst they’ve been in over a decade.”

Whether you or your children need medication to manage flu symptoms, or antibiotics for an infection, these medications might be hard to find right now.

“You’re going to see folks struggling to find those products staying on the shelves because of how aggressive this influenza season is,” Coby said.

2 NEWS reporter Allison Gens walked through several stores in the Miami Valley Friday to look at the supply of medicines and saw empty spaces on the shelves, and even a sign telling customers they’re experiencing supplier shortages.

Coby said both prescription and over-the-counter medications are in short supply right now, and there are a number of factors, including two slow flu seasons prior.

“We knew it was going to be a bad season, but if you think about it, from the time to manufacture through the supply chain to get to the end user, they would have had to have known that for a long time,” Coby said.

Coby recommends calling around to different stores and local pharmacies to see what’s in stock.

If you cannot find the medicine you need, contact your doctor about the options you have to manage symptoms at home.

Dr. Jordan Knox, family physician with Kettering Health Springfield, said the key is plenty of rest and plenty of water.

“The best thing is to take frequent small sips of water, two teaspoons every three to five minutes,” Knox said. “It really does add up, and it’s easy enough on the stomach.”

Knox said with medicines in short supply, the best step is prevention. He said everyone should be washing their hands, staying home when sick and even wearing a mask when not feeling well.

He also said it’s not too late to get the flu shot.

“With holiday travel, gatherings coming up, if you haven’t already had your influenza vaccination this season, please get one in the next couple of days or as soon as possible,” Knox said.

Flu season typically peaks between December and February, and some experts predict the supply chain issues could continue into early next year.