Keeping your children healthy over the holidays

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The IWK is currently seeing a very high number of cases of influenza and other lung viruses in both young and school-aged children across the province.  The common symptoms from these viruses are cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, sore muscles and headaches, and often fever.  Some children, especially infants & toddlers, and those with other health challenges, can become sick enough to have to go the emergency department or even be admitted to hospital.

We asked three of our experts for their advice on how to keep infants, children and families healthy this holiday season. Here’s what they said.

Dr. Jeannette Comeau, Infectious Disease Specialist, IWK Health

“Have everyone in your family, six months and older, get their flu vaccines either through your family doctor or local pharmacy. This will also help protect other family members and friends.”

“If you or a family member are feeling unwell, but have to visit a public indoor space, please wear a mask. If you are sick you should stay home if you can.”

Dr. Andrew Lynk, Chief of Pediatrics, IWK Health

“Do not expose your babies and small children to friends and relatives who are sick. Put them in a bubble, if possible, for the next three to four weeks.”

“If you are caring for an infant, and also have toddlers/preschoolers in daycare, and if you can manage it, I would advise taking the older kids out of daycare for the next four weeks to protect your infant.”

Dr. Emma Burns photo by Ryan Wilson, IWK Health

Dr. Emma Burns, Chief of Emergency Department, IWK Health

“IWK’s Emergency Department is always here for you should you need us. As a parent or guardian, you know your child best but sometimes it is difficult to know what to do. Our website has some good examples to help you decide if your child needs emergency care.”

“A great website to visit that covers many common childhood illnesses is TREKK (Translating Emergency Knowledge for Kids). It helps parents and families care for sick kids at home and understand when to seek medical care.”