Caring for children with respiratory symptoms this winter season
Rates of children becoming ill with respiratory illnesses, including colds, influenza, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID, have been on the rise in the FLA region and across the province. This is putting pressure on our health-care system with more people visiting hospital emergency departments and primary care providers.
Amid this respiratory virus surge, Ontario paediatric infectious diseases experts are encouraging COVID-19 and flu vaccinations for children under five. To help increase awareness and education about protecting against respiratory illnesses and providing tips on what to do if someone you know is sick, the FLA OHT and health partners are joining forces to help providers, caregivers and their communities help manage what is shaping up to be a challenging few months ahead.
Ways to help protect against and help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses
Get a flu shot - The vaccine will maximize protection against the influenza virus. Flu shots are available at your family doctor/primary care provider, your local pharmacist and KFL&A offers flu shot clinics https://www.kflaph.ca/Modules/News/index.aspx?newsId=a4525f03-9149-4a78-a367-cb666b528069
Make sure you and your family members’ COVID vaccinations are up to date. You can now book your COVID-19 and flu vaccination together through KFL&A Public Health https://www.kflaph.ca/en/healthy-living/covid-19-vaccine.aspx
Wear a mask when in crowded, public indoor spaces.
Wash your hands, often and well; use hand sanitizer when washing is not possible.
What to do if you or someone you know is sick: (taken from the Ontario College of Family Physicians)
Call your family doctor if your child has a fever lasting 72 hours or longer or is unusually irritable and won’t stop fussing, has an earache lasting more than 48 hours and/or is not eating or drinking. As a parent or guardian, you know your child best. If you feel your child needs to be seen by a family doctor, please reach out for help.
Call 911 or go to the emergency department if you are worried your child is seriously ill, struggling to break or your infant is less than three months old and has a fever.
These are some examples of when to seek care. If you are not sure what to do, Health Connect Ontario has a symptom checker and the option to chat live with a nurse. You can also call 811 to speak with a nurse, available 24 hours a day.