Last updated: December 9, 2022
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the flu, and other respiratory viruses, anyone who develops new symptoms should stay home and complete the COVID-19 self-assessment tool for further advice. Continue to follow public health measures and stay up-to-date with your vaccinations including a COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine for the best protection.
Caring for a Child who has COVID-19 or Another Respiratory Virus
As the weather has gotten colder, there has been an increase in respiratory viruses among children including Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Influenza and COVID-19. These three viruses have been called a “Triple Threat” because they can cause serious illness, especially to children under five years of age.
Complete a daily symptom check for your child. Keep your child home if they have symptoms, even mild ones, and until they are feeling better and pass the daily COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire.
Here are some ways to provide care and support for a sick child:
- Offer them plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration (lack of fluids in the body).
- Encourage them to rest and offer them their favorite books, games, music, or movies.
- Have your child wear layered clothing that are easy to put on and take off during chills or fever.
- Treat fever and pain with medications when needed.
- Use a humidifier to help with a stuffy nose.
- Monitor symptoms and contact a healthcare provider if they are getting worse.
Speak to a healthcare provider or call 811 (Health Connect Ontario) if you have questions about your child’s health.
Seek medical attention if your child has any of the following:
- Is under 3 months of age with a fever or trouble breathing
- Fever that lasts more than 7 days
- Bluish skin colour
- Not drinking enough fluid
- Not waking up
- Fever with a rash
- Constant vomiting or diarrhea
- Has a weak immune system and has a fever
Prevent further spread of COVID-19 and respiratory viruses by:
- Wearing a well-fitted mask inside the home if possible, and especially for those who have symptoms;
- Isolating as much as possible from family members who are at high-risk of serious illness from COVID-19;
- Washing hands with soap and water frequently, or use hand sanitizer;
- Increasing air flow by opening windows if it is safe to do so;
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched items and surfaces such as dishes, utensils, counters, faucets, doorknobs and toilet handles;
- Not sleeping in the same bed as your sick child;
- As much as possible, staying six feet/two metres apart from all others in the household;
- Having all household members take the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment for recommendations on what to do next as a close contact/living in the same house as someone who is sick.
Anyone 6 months and older should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including a fall booster for anyone 5 years of age and older, and a fall influenza vaccine. Anyone aged 5 and older can safely get their COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time. Make sure that you child has finished their isolation before getting vaccinated.
Caring for Someone who has COVID-19 or Another Respiratory Virus
If you are caring for or living with someone who has a respiratory illness, including COVID-19, follow these steps to reduce the spread of illness at home:
Clean Your Hands Often
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds after being in contact with the person who has symptoms and throughout the day.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
Wear a Mask and Gloves
- Wear a high quality well-fitted mask when you are caring for someone with symptoms.
- Use gloves if you have contact with the person’s body fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, vomit, urine or feces).
Dispose of Gloves and Mask after Use
- Right after providing care, take off gloves and clean your hands before removing your mask.
- Throw used gloves and mask in the garbage lined with a plastic bag.
- After taking off your mask, clean your hands again.
- Only have essential visitors in the home and keep visits short (e.g. support or home care professionals).
- Keep young children, seniors and people with medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, lung problems, weak immune system) away from the person who has symptoms.
Avoid Sharing Household Items
- Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the person who has symptoms.
- Household items should be washed with soap and warm water. No special soap is needed.
- Dishwashers and washing machines can be used.
Clean & Disinfect Frequently Touch Items Often
- Frequently-touched items include countertops, light switches, toilets, faucets, and doorknobs.
- Regular household cleaners can be used. Choose a product that cleans and disinfects. Follow product instructions.
Wash Laundry Thoroughly
- You can wash laundry used by the person who has symptoms along with other items.
- Wear gloves when handling laundry.
- Clean your hands right after removing your gloves.
Handle Garbage Carefully
- Place garbage into bins lined with a plastic bag for easier and safe disposal.
- When emptying garbage bins avoid touching used tissues.
- Clean your hands after handling garbage.
For information in French about COVID-19, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website and Public Health Ontario portal.