NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s January and as many parents will tell you, it’s “sick kid season.” Doctor’s offices and urgent cares are packed with kids experiencing all sorts of symptoms.

Dripping noses, coughs, fever, chills. Is it a cold, the flu or something like COVID or RSV? There’s a lot to consider, but fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your chances of keeping your child healthy.

“Health care facilities are already being overwhelmed by sick kids – especially with RSV which causes cold-like symptoms and sometimes serious respiratory problems—especially in babies,” said Consumer Reports’ Kevin Loria.

Keeping kids healthy comes down to the basics, show your kids how to properly wash their hands: scrubbing for 20 seconds, when they get home, after using the bathroom and before eating.

“While there’s no magic way to keep your kids from ever getting sick, there are some things you can do to better your odds, like keeping your kid’s vaccinations up to date,” Loria said.

That includes the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and for infants, it’s important to speak to your pediatrician about the new RSV shot, that may lessen the severity of an RSV infection.

If your child does end up getting sick, focus on making them as comfortable as possible.

“Kids generally need time to get better – so let your child rest, watch some movies, perhaps. And very importantly, keep them hydrated,” Loria added.

And your grandma was right – research suggests that chicken soup may give you relief from common cold symptoms – easing throat soreness and preventing dehydration.

As for medication, check with your doctor first, but it’s usually okay to use children’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen. But steer clear of cough medicine – it doesn’t really work well for them and can even be dangerous. Last fall, CVS pulled some cold medicines after the FDA said the active ingredient doesn’t work.

Never ignore the signs of an emergency. – If your child has a fever of 105-degrees, is showing signs of dehydration or is having trouble breathing – take them to the ER. Any fever in newborns, under two months, is also an emergency.

And don’t forget: If you have a sick child, keep them home from school to help keep others from getting sick. Parents and teachers everywhere will thank you!

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