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Respiratory Illnesses

Many areas of the U.S. including Carroll County are seeing unusually high levels of RSV, Rhinoviruses, and Enteroviruses, which are all respiratory viruses. Usually these viruses cause mild, cold-like symptoms. However, they can cause serious illness in some people, especially premature and young babies, older adults, and those with lung problems like asthma, heart problems, or immune system conditions. 

Flu cases are also increasing rapidly in Maryland. COVID cases are also on the rise.

Protect your children and your family:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Mask when you are symptomatic, exposed, or around people at higher-risk. Consider masking in crowded indoor spaces. (See Mask Mythbusters from the American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces at home, like doorknobs, counters, and bathroom surfaces.
  • Get enough physical activity and sleep, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food (food pantry list).
  • Get everyone in your family aged 6 months and up vaccinated against  respiratory diseases like the flu and COVID-19.
  • Have a plan if someone in your family gets sick.

 

If someone in your family does gets sick:

  • Have them stay home, wear a mask if possible, and isolate from high-risk family members. Wear a mask when caring for a sick family member.
  • Make sure they are drinking enough fluids and resting.
  • Manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). Never give aspirin to children under the age of 16.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child any cold medicines, even if it is over the counter. Some medicines contain ingredients that are not safe for children, even those products labeled “all natural”. Honey is not safe for kids under the age of one.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider to ask if testing is needed. Not every illness needs to be tested, but it can help with treatment and follow up and may be required to return to school or sports. 
  • Monitor their symptoms.
  • Don’t have them return to school, childcare, or work until their fever is gone for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and all other symptoms are improving.

Parents should be aware of changes in activity and appetite. Call your healthcare provider right away if the sick child or adult:

  • Is having trouble breathing. Young babies may show this by bobbing their head, having a flared nose, or grunting
  • Has a blue color to their skin, especially their lips or around their fingernails
  • Is having trouble staying awake or is lethargic
  • Has a high fever
  • Is not drinking enough fluids
  • Is not urinating regularly
  • If their symptoms are getting worse

Learn more about how to prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses.