Resources For Patients

Resources For Patients

Our team is working hard to streamline how patients, families and caregivers navigate access to care across Couchiching 24/7.

More information coming soon to ensure that No Door is the Wrong Door when trying to navigate to the care you and your loved ones need. Digital tools and resources are also being developed in partnership with Ontario Health that align with a strategy for all Ontarians to have better access to digital health resources. In the interim, the following real-time supports provide excellent access to general resources available in our Couchiching community and beyond:

  • 2-1-1 is an excellent resource when finding trouble getting started in your search for additional general help and resources.
  • Newly launched 8-1-1 also provides excellent access to chat or text with a virtual care nurse to navigate non-urgent health concerns you may have.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Health offers free and confidential support for people experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, mental illness or gambling. Find out more at
  • Looking for a Primary Care Provider? If you are looking for a primary care provider who is accepting new patients, please visit the link below to register for an available provider in your area.
  • Palliative Care Needs: Do you have questions about palliative care for you or a loved one? Don’t know where to find support? Please feel free to call us at 705.623.3176 (Mon to Fri, 8am to 4pm) or through 2-1-1.
  • Options for after hours care when not attached to a primary care clinician are:
    • Couchiching OHT COVID Vaccination & Testing Links –
    • Good Doctors, Orillia ON – |  705.242.5406
    • SMDHU COVID website:
    • Couchiching OHT Nurse Practitioner Clinic: (705) 325-2201 ext. 8250
      • Please note: The Nurse Practitioner Clinic is only for patients who do not have a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner already. Patients who have a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner cannot be seen within this clinic.

Cough and Colds

What is an upper respiratory tract infection?

Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are extremely common — that’s why they’re often called the “common cold”. They’re so common in fact that it’s normal for children under five years old to have as many as 12 URTIs in one year.


URTIs cause symptoms in the nose, throat and sinuses. Typical URTI symptoms include:

  • blocked or runny nose (mucous)
  • cough
  • fever
  • red eyes
  • reduced appetite
  • less energy than normal

Why did my child get sick?

It’s common for younger children to get URTIs from daycare or other siblings at home. The good news is that each time your child has a URTI, their immunity (ability to fight off viruses) will improve.

How are URTIs spread?

A URTI can be passed from person to person through the air or on commonly touched surfaces.  For example, your child could pick up a URTI if:

  • someone coughed or sneezed the virus into the air, and they breathed it in
  • they touched a hard surface (like a toy) with the virus on it, and then touched their mouth, nose or eyes.

Did you know? URTIs are not caused by cold air or drafts! Because these viruses circulate more commonly in the colder months, URTIs just happen to occur more during the fall and winter.

Helping your child or youth feel better at home

Most coughs, earaches, sinus congestion and sore throats get better at home without antibiotics. Most of the symptoms will improve in 7 to 10 days.  Remember that a cough can last up to three weeks.


URTIs usually start with clear mucous from the nose. This mucous might get thicker or become yellow/green in colour. This is normal and can last for a few days, your child might have a hard time sleeping or feeding because their nose is “stuffed up”. Saline (salt water) drops can help loosen mucous in the nose when your child is congested. Hydrasense® and Nosefrida® are brands that make nasal aspirators (“snot suckers”). To use:

  • Place two to three drops of saline in each nostril, especially before feeding or sleeping.
  • Use a nasal aspirator (“snot sucker”) to remove mucous from the nostrils after using saline drops.

Raise your child’s head: Raising the head of the bed to about 30 degrees will help your child to breathe easier so they can get some sleep. Use a wedge under the mattress for children under the age of 18 months (never leave your infant unsupervised asleep in a car-seat or swing).  For older children, either a wedge or an extra pillow may help.


The cough is often the last symptom to go away. This is because your child’s airway needs time to heal from the virus. Your child may continue to cough up to three weeks after the other symptoms have settled. DO NOT give cough and cold medicines to children less than six years old. These medications can cause unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, trouble falling asleep or rapid heart rate. Using these medications do not make the illness go away faster.

If your child is old enough, gargling warm salty water, or sucking on a throat lozenge can give relief. Undiluted honey (not in water or tea) has been shown to improve cough and sore throat for children older than one year. Use one teaspoon before bed and during bouts of coughing at night.  Also, try to keep your home smoke free.

Sore throat and poor appetite

During a URTI you will notice a drop in your child’s appetite. It is important to make sure your child is drinking lots of fluids that have calories (like milk, juice or Pedialyte®). Popsicles are helpful if children are reluctant to drink. Drinking fluids is more important than eating during the period of illness. if the pain persists, you should treat their throat pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen using our dosing guide.


Fever usually starts at the beginning of the URTI and typically lasts for 3-5 days. If your child has a fever (more than 38°C (100.4°F) and is upset or in pain, you can give them ibuprofen (for children above 6 months) or acetaminophen. Make sure that you give the dose based on your child’s weight, not age.

How much should I give? Medicines for fever and pain come in different concentrations (the number of mg of medicine in each mL, tablet or suppository). Check the concentration on the bottle and read the package directions carefully. If you’re unsure, contact your pharmacist or primary care provider so they can help you.

When to see your family doctor

  • the fever lasts more than four days
  • your child isn’t managing to drink enough fluids
  • your child develops a new fever or has obvious ear pain
  • their cough lasts more than 2-3 weeks

You know your child best. The OSMH Emergency Department is always here for you. Visit the Emergency Department if your child or youth:

  • is under three months and has a fever
  • is very irritable or sleepy and doesn’t improve with medicine
  • has difficulty breathing
  • has signs of dehydration (dry mouth, not peeing at least every eight hours)
  • has a headache or sore neck that doesn’t go away with fever or pain medicine
  • Hydrasense® and Nosefrieda® are brands that make nasal aspirators (“snot sucker”)

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