It's that time of year again - but this year we've been seeing unprecedented volumes of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs), particularly in children. As a parent with a child that falls ill, it can be difficult to discern between what can be handled from home, and what requires medical attention.
What you can do at home
Most people with respiratory symptoms - whether from flu, COVID, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), or other infections - will recover on their own and do not require prescription medication. We recommend patients self- isolate and rest, drink plenty of fluids and take analgesics (as needed) for headaches or muscle aches until they are better.
When to call our clinic
There are specific considerations for respiratory illness in children. Family Doctor Tips on Caring for Children with Respiratory Symptoms is a resource which answers many common questions - including when to call your doctor's office. If you or your child are at higher risk for complications from respiratory illnesses, please call our clinic right away so we can determine whether you need to be seen and should be prescribed treatment.
You may be offered a virtual appointment if it is appropriate for you. This is one way we can determine if you need to be seen in person. CHEO also developed this helpful handout on respiratory infections in children and how to treat them at home.
When to go to the emergency room
Emergency rooms are currently facing capacity issues. However, in some cases, it is the only place to get the right care. Click on the following link to help determine if your child needs to visit an ER.
Wear a mask
Please be reminded that masking is required in our clinic - masking reduces the spread of viruses and protects others, including our patients who have cancer, are elderly or are especially vulnerable for other reasons. Please bring your mask or get one at the front door and wear it throughout your visit, including when you are alone in an exam room.
We are always here for you and will ensure you get the care you need, when you need it!