As we approach the upcoming respiratory virus season, and parents prepare to battle another season of illness, an updated COVID-19 vaccine is providing some hope.
Ottawa's top doctor warns that COVID-19, RSV and influenza will create some challenges in the capital this fall and winter, as COVID-19 levels begin to rise.
Jason Lawson's son spent nearly a week at CHEO last fall, sick with RSV.
"Honestly, it was kinda scary," he said. "There were times where his breathing was ragged, and you could see concern with the nurses and the doctors. Even though they took great care of him there, it was still a lot to go through and a lot to process, especially because he was only a few months old at that point."
Lawson's son Johnny is now a year old, but the Ottawa parent says being in the hospital is not something he wants to go through again.
"I don't really know how you avoid it, with living the day-to-day, with all of these things going around, especially with other children in daycare and school."
Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says Ottawa Public Health is keeping a close watch on all viruses circulating in the city as kids get back to school.
Just days into the new school year, Barrhaven Medical Pharmacy owner Ashraf Al Taslaq says he's already seeing an uptick in patients.
"We've seen a number of patients coming and asking for over-the-counter medications to treat some cold symptoms, like coughing, sneezing, fever," he told CTV News Ottawa.
"We see parents coming, looking for some cold medications for their children."
In a report, Ottawa Public Health recommends strategies to get ready for the fall virus season, including immunization. Health Canada has just approved the updated Moderna vaccine that targets the new COVID-19 variant.
"Individuals who are five years of age and older should receive one dose of the vaccine, regardless of the COVID-19 vaccination history and children between six months and four years of age should receive two doses," says Health Canada chief medical advisor Dr. Supriya Sharma.
Doctors are urging parents to also get their children vaccinated against the flu.
"The flu can, in fact, hospitalize and really make young children very sick," says Eastern Ontario Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis.
The updated Moderna vaccines are expected to be delivered to provinces as early as the week of Sept. 18, according to a Health Canada spokesperson.
--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Josh Pringle.