Consumer Reports: Battling a virus triple-threat

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

We’re working for you to share ways to improve your chances of keeping your child healthy.

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

“Health care facilities are already being overwhelmed by sick kids – especially with RSV which causes cold-like symptoms and sometimes serious respiratory problems — especially in babies,” Kevin Loria with Consumer Reports said.

Consumer Reports said this is what you can do to help keep your kids from getting sick:

  • relieve symptoms when they occur,
  • 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 your odds - like keeping your kids’ vaccinations up to date,” Loria said.

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

CR said to also make sure you show your kids how to properly wash their hands: scrubbing for 20 seconds when they get home, after using the bathroom, and before eating.

Wearing a mask is still an effective way to protect yourself, especially in crowded indoor spaces.

If your child does end up getting sick, make them as comfortable as possible.

“Kids generally need time to get better - so let your child rest, watch some movies, perhaps. And very importantly, keep them hydrated,” Loria said.

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

But steer clear of cough medicine – CR said 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, is showing signs of dehydration, or is having trouble breathing - CR recommends that you take them to the ER.

About the Authors

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

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