Resources for Respiratory Illnesses

Women’s College Hospital’s Letter on Respiratory Ilnesses

As you are likely aware, we are seeing a spike in respiratory illness, especially in children, and receiving a high volume of calls for appointments. Please see the information below to help you understand what you can do at home, when you should call our office, and when you need to go to the emergency room.

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.

Caring for yourself or your sick child at home can be challenging when there are shortages of many of the medications you would normally turn too. Helpful information on Children’s Fevers and Pain medications can be found here. Many children weigh enough to take part of or a full adult strength pain medication. Weigh your child and talk to your pharmacist for help with dosing if needed.

When to Call Our Office

There are special considerations for respiratory illnesses in children. Here is a resource which answers many common questions – including when to call the doctor’s office.

If you or your child are at higher risk for complications from respiratory illnesses (children < 6 months, pregnant, immunocompromised), please call our office right away so we can determine whether you need to be seen.

When to go to the Emergency Department

Emergency rooms are currently facing capacity issues. However, in some cases, it is the only place to get the right care. Use this guidance to help determine if you or your child need to visit an ER.

Tips for Staying Healthy and reducing the spread of infections:

  • Wear a mask when indoors
  • Wash/sanitize hands frequently
  • Stay home when sick
  • Get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19

Our office, like most healthcare settings at present, is handling much higher numbers of patient calls and visits than usual, including care “backlogs” from the pandemic. For some routine, non-urgent care (e.g. well child visits not associated with immunization, follow up for chronic disease that is stable), wait times for your appointment may be longer than desired – we appreciate that you continue to be patient with all of our team members as we work hard to help you.)

Listed below are several additional resources to help care for a sick child/adult:

SickKids’ Virtual Urgent Care

Boomerang Health Caring for Your Child with Respiratory Illness

Canadian Paediatric Society Fever and Temperature Taking, Common Infections and Your Child, Colds in Children, Influenza in Children, RSV, Dehydration and Diarrhea in Children

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) What You Need to Know: Fever

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The flu: caring for someone sick at home, The flu: What To Do If You Get Sick