Flu, COVID-19 and RSV parent survival guide

Cold and flu season is here and doctor’s offices are packed with kids suffering from numerous respiratory illnesses. 

To improve your chances of keeping your child healthy, Consumer Reports has a winter survival guide for parents.

This winter, parents could be battling a virus triple threat: the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Healthcare facilities are already overwhelmed by sick kids, especially those with RSV, which causes cold-like symptoms and sometimes serious respiratory problems, especially in babies.

Nobody wants a sick kid or to make an unnecessary trip to a doctor’s office or hospital. 

So here’s what you can do to help keep your kids from getting sick, relieve symptoms when they occur, and recognize when something is truly an emergency.

While there’s no magic way to keep your kids from ever getting sick, there are some things you can do to better the odds, like keeping their vaccinations up to date.

That includes the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, when eligible. 

Also make sure you show your kids how to properly wash their hands. 

They should scrub for 20 seconds when they get home, after using the bathroom, and before eating. 

And wearing a mask is still an effective form of protection, especially in crowded indoor spaces.

If your children do end up getting sick, make them as comfortable as possible.

They generally need time to get better, so let them rest. And most important, keep them hydrated.

As for medication, check with your doctor first, but it’s usually okay to give them children’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 

But steer clear of cough medicine because it doesn’t really work well for them and can even be dangerous. 

It’s also important to know the signs of an emergency. If your child has a fever of 105-degrees, shows signs of dehydration, or is having trouble breathing, take them to an emergency room. 

Any fever in newborns under 2 months should also be considered an emergency.

And don’t forget: If you have sick children, keep them home to help keep others from getting sick.

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