But my kid is sick... what do I do?
Please check this website again soon for additional practical advice on how to treat your sick kid at home.
Having a fever is an immune process in the body, and is a sign that their body is fighting an infection.
Fever itself will not harm your child – more important is how your child is behaving while unwell
That said, we do recommend treating any fever over 38 degrees Celcius (100.4 Fahrenheit), especially in younger children under the age of 2. The current medical guidelines recommend acetaminophen (eg. Tylenol) instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's, eg. Motrin, Advil).
NOTE: DON'T ever give Aspirin to a child.
However, we also know that there are significant shortages right now, especially for Tylenol, so if you or your child has a significantly high fever over 38 C/100.4 F that just won't break, rather treat it with Advil or Motrin and follow-up with us (benefit vs. risk scenario, ie. it's riskier to let your baby or toddler run a high fever).
WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO GIVE MEDICINES, OR IF I DON'T HAVE ANY AT HOME?
The quickest way to reduce a fever is to put your child in a luke-warm bath (ie. water at room temperature), or wet a bathroom towel and wrap them in it. They definitely won't like the "polar bear dip" sensation, but it does work.
DON'T use cold water, this will cause your child to shiver, further pushing up the body temperature.
If you search for "tepid sponging/baths" you'll once again find a lot of conflicting reports, so here's where "common sense" comes into play... what's worse, the fever or the bath?
Note, this doesn't cure your child, it just provides temporary relief. The fever may jump up again, but this technique is especially useful if the fever is over 40 degrees Celcius, and provides you some time to give them some Tylenol, and for it to be absorbed and start to work (about 30 minutes or so).
Fever treatment: Quick guide to treating a fever
NASAL SALINE FLUSHING
This is another example of where there are differences in opinion. We simply don't know if this reduces the amount of coronavirus (viral load) in your nasal passages, but there's no significant downside.
It certainly will reduce the amount of mucous in their passages, where it's "warm, moist and away from sunlight".
The World Health Organization only officially recommends nasal saline rinsing to reduce the severity of the common cold. However, here are some helpful tips from Alberta Health:
You can buy premixed saline solution in a squeeze bottle at a drugstore. Read and follow the instructions on the label.
You can make your own saline solution at home by adding 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 2 cups of distilled water.
If you use a homemade solution, pour a small amount into a clean bowl. Using a rubber bulb syringe, squeeze the syringe and place the tip in the salt water. Draw a small amount into the syringe by relaxing your hand.
Have your child sit down with his or her head tilted slightly back. Do not have your child lie down. Put the tip of the bulb syringe or squeeze bottle a little way into one of your child's nostrils. Gently drip or squirt a few drops into the nostril. Repeat with the other nostril. Some sneezing and gagging are normal at first.
Have your child blow his or her nose. If your child is too young to blow, gently suction the nostrils with the bulb syringe.
Wipe the syringe or bottle tip clean after each use.
Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day.
Use nasal washes gently in children who have frequent nosebleeds.
DO I BRING MY CHILD TO THE CLINIC?
See this page on our website for our current clinic guidelines from Alberta Health.
It may not be the coronavirus/COVID-19, but there's no way to tell it apart from other viral illnesses, especially in the early stages, and you're putting other patients at risks, including our staff, nurses and doctors, who also have families.
If your child is NOT having any signs of upper or lower respiratory illness then we're happy to see you.
However, do exercise caution and common sense... ask yourself "is it really worth it, can it wait?"
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE MY KID TO THE E.R. ?
What if it's serious? What should I look out for?
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion or inability to arouse
Bluish lips or face
We have been advised not to test for coronavirus/COVID-19 at our clinic.
If you feel your child may have symptoms, first go to Alberta Health's Self-Assessment Tool, and when in doubt, phone 811.
This link will take you there: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/journey/covid-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx