Maintaining Family Health Through Flu Season With Virtual Care

by Keisha Boutilier – Loving Littles Blog

Around our house, back-to-school season means one thing: chaos. The transition from summertime to a new school year means a flurry of changing routines. As much as we try to keep things calm, the fall has a way of stirring up excitement in our family! In the weeks leading up to Labour Day, my kids Owen and Ella were beyond excited to be heading back to school. For Owen, this year is all about moving up to middle school—he’s gaining more independence (and more responsibility), but definitely feeling cool. For Ella, September meant the start of full days at school.

Despite a gradual entry, the change in routine did a bit of a number on her sleep schedule and daytime routine. Getting back into the swing of the school year brought about some stress for everyone. While neither of our littles have been acting out, we can definitely see they are feeling the strain that comes with change. And on top of all that… it’s flu season. Right out of the gate, Ella came down with a cold. She seems to be more prone to colds than Owen, but of course he gets his share of sick days, too.

When things start to feel particularly hectic and immune systems might be running low, there are a few things we like to do to keep everyone in the home happy and healthy:

Keep weekday schedules relaxed – We make it a priority to keep our weekday activities as easy and stress-free as possible. Swimming lessons are on weekends only, and soccer and dance classes won’t start until later in the year. For now, we keep our weekday afternoons and evenings free of extracurriculars, so we can prioritize getting lots of downtime.

Maximize sleep – Coming back from a summer of traveling, weekday playdates and later nights, it can be hard to get the kiddos in bed on time. In the first few weeks of back-to-school mayhem, we emphasize the importance a nighttime routine and try to maintain a good bedtime schedule for Owen and Ella.

Prioritize health – We check in on our health, early and often. One tool we’ve found particularly useful is Babylon by TELUS Health. This free, easy-to-use mobile app provides you with access to healthcare support when you need it – even evenings, weekends and holidays. As soon as I heard about it, I quickly downloaded the app and registered so that I was set to go whenever I needed to see a doctor!

Having a tool like Babylon by TELUS Health is really like having peace of mind in your pocket. When symptoms start to pop up, we can use the app’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Symptom Checker to understand our next best step, whether that is resting at home or going to see a doctor.

I’ve used it for Ella and myself when we were feeling under the weather, and we’d certainly use it again for the boys in the family. The app also offers video consultation with a locally licensed doctor. Thankfully we haven’t needed to use that function yet, but having the option to quickly speak with a doctor virtually from wherever we are makes us feel supported right from the first sign of sniffles.

I’ve also heard from a few of my blog readers that Babylon by TELUS Health has helped them in a pinch. Since the app’s launch earlier this year, a number of people have talked about how quick and convenient it was to use, and how much they benefited from having healthcare support within minutes. I was surprised at the number of things Babylon by TELUS Health doctors can treat virtually, from rashes and stomach issues to mental health concerns. They can even help in getting prescriptions and referrals I need for tests or specialists!

Having virtual care tools at our fingertips is cool, to say the least. But more than that, having easy-to-use programs like Babylon by TELUS Health helps us remember to make our health a priority at all times. With tools like the Symptom Checker, it’s easy to just pick up your smartphone and find out if rest is best for the cold you are battling or if your symptoms indicate that you should speak to a doctor.

This isn’t just for parents; everyone can benefit from this kind of healthcare access, especially if they don’t have a GP. As a parent, I want to set good examples for my kids, and taking care of my health is no exception. I make a point of showing my kids how important it is to see our doctor regularly. Even when it seems like nothing’s wrong, go in once a year and get a check up.

Doctors and appointments aren’t scary, so we don’t make them a scary thing! It’s like any other good habit, such as eating healthy and exercising. By showing my kids that I take care of myself, I hope they will follow suit and do the same for years to come.

So the moment things start to ramp up and stress levels begin to climb, we wind things down by making enough time for rest, enough hours of sleep and putting our health first. From back-to-school and flu season to the rest of the year, we’re taking important steps to keep our family in tip-top shape.

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For more tips and resources for families, check out our latest issue, on stands now at a location near you, or read the full issue online here.

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