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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Use caution when fighting coughs and colds

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Denise Lenarz,MD

One of the most common questions I hear is “Is it OK to give my child cough and cold medicine?” The short answer is no.

Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines are intended to treat the symptoms of coughs and colds — not the virus that is causing the symptoms. OTC cough and cold products may contain a decongestant, antihistamine or pain relievers, which can cause serious side effects including fatal overdoses in young children.

Avoid antibiotics

If your child has a cold, antibiotics won’t help. Antibiotics fight bacterial infections but do not work on viruses such as colds. Overusing antibiotics increases the chances of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection in the future.

Treat a cold

An over-the-counter pain reliever — such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) — can reduce a fever and ease the pain of a sore throat. These will help keep your child comfortable.

Follow the dosing guidelines carefully. For children younger than 3-months-old, do NOT give acetaminophen until your baby has been seen by a doctor. Do NOT give ibuprofen to a child younger than 6 months old or to children who are vomiting constantly or are dehydrated. Also, products containing Aspirin should only be given when directed by your child's provider.

Comfort measures

  • Liquids such as water, juice and broth. Warm liquids, such as tea or chicken soup, might help loosen respiratory secretions.
  • Run a cool-mist humidifier.
  • Use a suction bulb for a baby or young child to draw mucus out of the nose.
  • Over-the-counter saline can keep nasal passage moist. For younger children, use saline nasal drops. For older children, use a saline nasal spray or saline nasal irrigation.
  • Ice cream, frozen fruit pops, ice or cold beverages might feel good on a sore throat.
  • For children age 6 years and older, gargling salt water might soothe throat pain.
  • Do NOT give hard candy or medicated lozenges to young children.

Prevent colds

  • Teach your child to wash his or her hands often and thoroughly (long enough to sing the ABCs twice). Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or hand wipes if soap and water are not available. Disinfect toys and household surfaces.
  • Teach your child to cough or sneeze into the crook of the arm. Even better — use a tissue and throw it away.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold.