3 As another autumn approaches with both influenza and COVID-19 among the illnesses families may encounter, it’s a good time to take stock of your family’s preparedness. Fall 2022 doesn’t require the urgency of stocking up on excess hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, but with COVID-19’s newest variants making the rounds, it’s wise to have a plan in place in case you become ill or are exposed and need to quarantine to protect others from getting sick. Stock your medicine cabinet Jeremy Cordes, DO, PharmD, UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine– Parkersburg, recommends keeping a few at-home COVID-19 testing kits on hand to use if anyone in the family has symptoms of the virus. “Along with the basics like Tylenol to treat fever and headache, it’s a good idea to keep over-the counter expectorants such as Mucinex on hand, too,” says Dr. Cordes. He also advises taking advantage of the approved and available COVID-19 vaccines, as well as keeping up with usual childhood and adult vaccines, as tools to help you and your family stay well this fall and winter. “The potential for COVID-19 in your household requires a little thought and preparation,” remarks Dr. Cordes. “The vaccines and therapeutics available now mean that the urgency that first surrounded the virus is no longer necessary. Our constant vigilance has subsided to ‘consistent awareness,’ much like preparing for several inches of inches of snow is different than preparing for a blizzard in the forecast.” Dr. Jeremy Cordes Have a flu and COVID-19 preparedness plan in place Vaccine options for young kids Young children can get one of two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in children. You should choose whichever vaccine is available, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The options for young children are: Moderna. Children ages 6 months through 5 years need two doses, one month apart. Pfizer-BioNTech. Children ages 6 months through 4 years need three doses. The first two doses are given three weeks apart, followed by a third dose given at least eight weeks after the second dose. Make sure the older kids�and adults�in your family stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines too. For those ages 5 and up, it might be time for a booster shot. If you have questions about vaccinating your kids, talk to your child’s primary care provider. They can help you understand the risks and benefits.