Last updated: November 25, 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.

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.

Resource

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.

Limit Visitors

  • 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.

Resources

 

For information in French about COVID-19, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website and Public Health Ontario portal.