Triple whammy of respiratory illnesses still filling P.E.I. emergencies

Dr. Trevor Jain has some tips for getting through this bad respiratory illness season. (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Trevor Jain has some tips for getting through this bad respiratory illness season. (CBC - image credit)

Respiratory illnesses, influenza, RSV, and COVID, started turning up in P.E.I. emergency departments in August, and the wave is showing no signs of easing yet.

Emergency department physician Dr. Trevor Jain said having three illnesses spreading through the population at once is having a big impact.

"In 20 years of emergency medicine, this 2022-2023 flu, respiratory [illness] season is going to stand out," said Jain.

"Kids have been hit particularly hard this fall and in this winter season with respiratory illness. I worked a shift last night and practically half the kids I saw ended up being admitted."

The shortage of medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen have added to the problem, he said. There are some things you can do for your child even in the absence of medication, he said.

There is a temptation to bundle your kids up if they have a fever because they feel cold, but it is better just to have them in light clothing so they don't get too hot. A bath in lukewarm water can help bring their temperature down, but the water shouldn't be so cold as to make them shiver, Jain advised.

He said Islanders can also help slow the spread of illnesses by self isolating for five days after getting sick. Wearing a mask for five days after feeling better, in particular when around immune-compromised people, can help insure any lingering virus won't spread.

Dr. Jain is not surprised by the increase in infections this season. He said the severity of illness is likely connected to people's lack of exposure to illness over the last two years, when people were limiting their social contacts.