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Monkeypox questions and answers from Alberta experts after one case found in the province – Sherwood Park News

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After years of COVID-19 headlines, monkeypox is now in the news.

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As of June 3, Canada has confirmed 77 cases of the disease that’s been popping up around the world, with one case found in Alberta last week. According to chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the person diagnosed with monkeypox had close contact with a known case outside the province.

David Evans, a microbiology and immunology professor at the University of Alberta, and Timothy Caulfield, a professor in the U of A’s Faculty of Law and School of Public Health, spoke to Postmedia about what Albertans need to know now.

What causes monkeypox?

Like COVID-19, monkeypox is caused by a virus, but a different kind: COVID is caused by a coronavirus made of RNA, while monkeypox comes from what’s known as a poxvirus, made of DNA.

Monkeypox is specifically caused by an orthopoxvirus, a subfamily within that grouping that also includes the smallpox virus.

What do we know about the virus?

Monkeypox was first identified in a lab nearly 70 years ago, and unlike the virus that causes COVID, it isn’t new.

It’s endemic in several countries in west and central Africa, and health authorities there have experience tracking and treating it. But as what’s called a neglected tropical disease, monkeypox has gotten little global attention until the recent cases in non-endemic countries in Europe, as well as U.S. and Canada.

Evans, who specifically studies orthopoxviruses, explained that the monkeypox virus is sometimes used as a stand-in for research on smallpox.

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“If we want to test a vaccine that we think will work against smallpox, you check whether it’ll protect against monkeypox, for example.”

While there are still questions around the current disease spread, Evans said he sees “nothing unusual” about this strain of the monkeypox virus.

“It’s not mutating into a new, deadlier strain.”

How do you catch monkeypox?

Hinshaw emphasized last week that monkeypox “does not spread easily between people.” Close, direct contact with an infected person who has symptoms is the main way the disease spreads. There’s risk, too, from contact with items that have been contaminated, like a sick person’s bedsheets or the cutlery they used to eat a meal.

There’s also the potential for monkeypox to spread in respiratory droplets during “prolonged” contact between people.

A disproportionate number of cases in current outbreaks have been identified in men who have sex with men. But Caulfield stressed that anyone can get monkeypox, and the spread isn’t limited to sexual activity.“The disease is primarily spread through close contact, so if you are within a particular community where you might have more close contact, you’re going to see a spike in those communities,” he said.

“In the early days when this started, I was on social media talking about this very thing … and I got people pushing back saying, ‘No, that’s not true. This is a disease with the gay community.’That really demonstrates how important it is to make sure that information is accurate, that narratives aren’t alarming or stigmatizing.”

What happens if you catch monkeypox?

Symptoms can start out flu-like, with a fever, aches and swollen lymph nodes. After a few days, a rash appears that may spread — although in some recent cases, doctors have seen a more subtle rash with just a few sores in one area of the body.

In Alberta, if you think you’ve been in close contact with someone with monkeypox, or are having symptoms of the disease, you should self-isolate and call 811 or tell your doctor. The infection typically resolves after a few weeks, but the rash can be very painful and cause scarring.

While people should get checked if they think they have a reason to worry, the risk in this province is low.

“That’s not to say that, in the aggregate and from the perspective of global health, this isn’t a serious issue and something that deserves intense scrutiny,” Caulfield said.

“But on that individual risk level right now, I don’t think the average Albertan needs to be too concerned.”

With one case confirmed in Alberta, what now?

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo has said that the entire Canadian population is likely susceptible to monkeypox because routine vaccination against smallpox stopped in 1972.

But that doesn’t mean we’re in for a new monkeypox pandemic. It’s much less infectious than COVID, especially when compared to the Omicron variant.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the country has a small stockpile of three types of smallpox vaccine that can also work against monkeypox, including a newer vaccine that has far fewer side effects than the shots people would have had before routine immunization stopped.

In Quebec, where there are currently more than 70 confirmed cases of monkeypox, the province is giving access to the vaccine to high-risk contacts of a confirmed or probable monkeypox case. PHAC has said they’re watching the situation closely, but a mass vaccination campaign isn’t necessary at the moment.

Evans said past history of monkeypox outbreaks have historically been small and limited, and there’s more work ahead to find out what’s happening this time

“I think that it’s more the epidemiology of how it got into a particular population and then got spread. That is the difference in this particular case.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

masmith@postmedia.com

twitter.com/meksmith

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Several Vitamins Recalled Due to Potential Metal Contamination, Including Products Sold at Costco and Walmart

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Several types of vitamins, including some popular brands sold at major retailers like Costco and Walmart, are being recalled due to the possible presence of metal fibers. Health Canada issued three recall statements on Friday, highlighting the affected products and advising consumers on the necessary steps.

Among the brands involved in the recall is Kirkland Signature, a staple at Costco, along with Webber Naturals and other brands sold at multiple retailers across Canada, including Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart.

The vitamins listed in the recall are:

  • Kirkland Signature: B100 Complex Timed Release
  • Life: Vitamin B Complex with Vitamin C
  • Option+ & Life: Prenatal Multi-vitamins 100 Tablets with Folic Acid, Spectrum Prenatal Postpartum, Multivitamins & Minerals Women, Spectrum Women 22 Vitamins & Minerals plus Lutein, Lycopene
  • Webber Naturals: B50 Complex Timed Release, Most Complete Multi Womens 50+ One Per Day, Most Complete Multi Mens 50+ One Per Day, Vitamin B50 Complex
  • Wellness by London Drugs, Option+ & Life: Multi Women/Femmes 50+ with Lycopene and Lutein Multivitamin and Mineral, Multivitamin & Minerals Women 50+, 50+ SPECTRUM Women/Femmes 50+ 23 Vitamins & Minerals plus Lutein, Lycopene
  • Wellquest, Equate, Option+, Wellness by London Drugs & Life: Vitamin B100 Complex, Timed Release
  • Natural Factors: Hi Potency B Complex, RevitalX, Super Multi® IRON FREE
  • VegiDay Vegan Organic ALL IN ONE: VegiDay Vegan Organic ALL IN ONE

Health Canada advises consumers who have purchased any of the affected products to consult their healthcare provider before discontinuing use and to monitor for any health concerns.

Customers with concerns or questions can contact the recall firm directly. Additionally, any side effects or health product safety complaints should be reported to Health Canada.

For more detailed information, you can access the three Health Canada notices, which are listed under the Factors Group of Nutritional Companies Inc. recall, on the Health Canada website.

This recall serves as a reminder to consumers to stay vigilant about product safety and to follow recall advisories to ensure their health and well-being.

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8 Tips for Incorporating More Fruits into Your Dessert

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Incorporating more fruits into your desserts is not just a way to enhance flavours, but also a smart approach to add nutritional value to your treats. While desserts are often indulged as guilty pleasures, introducing fruits can transform these moments into healthier delights, enriching them with vitamins, minerals, and fibres. Whether you’re a home cook looking to improve your family’s diet or a culinary expert aiming to innovate your menu, adding fruits offers a myriad of benefits. These range from boosting the aesthetic appeal of your dishes with vibrant colours to enhancing the natural sweetness with a lower calorie count.

The tips provided here will help you seamlessly integrate more fruits into your dessert recipes, making them irresistibly wholesome and appealing to all ages. This approach not only caters to the health-conscious consumer but also opens up a palette of fresh, tantalizing flavours that can redefine what dessert means.

Explore Variety

Diversity is key in enriching desserts with fruits. Experiment with different textures and flavours, from berries to tropical fruits. This variety ensures each bite is unique and delightful. Try combining sour cherries with sweet mangoes, or add citrus segments to balance richer desserts. Even blending frozen bananas into a creamy texture can mimic ice cream. Consider adding a double fudge bar frozen dessert to your fruit platter for an indulgent twist.

Use Fresh and Seasonal Fruits

Seasonal fruits offer the best in flavour and nutrition. Incorporate fresh, local produce into your desserts to capture peak tastiness. Fresh strawberries or peaches can elevate simple dishes like ice cream or cakes. Local farmers’ markets are ideal for finding the freshest options. Remember, the closer the fruit is grown to its consumption point, the more nutrients it retains. This approach supports local agriculture as well.

Make Fruit the Star

Create desserts where fruits are the main attraction. Dishes like fruit tarts or berry-packed pavlovas highlight the natural sweetness of fruits, reducing the need for added sugars. Let fruits dictate the dessert’s flavour profile and design, focusing on the natural colours to attract the eye. This strategy can make even simple dishes feel luxurious and crafted with care. Plus, it often leads to lighter, less calorie-dense desserts.

Opt for Healthier Preparations

Instead of always baking or frying, try raw preparations or use healthier cooking methods like grilling or poaching. Grilled pineapple or poached pears offer a delightful texture and are easy to prepare. These methods preserve the integrity and nutritional value of the fruit better than baking or frying. Cooking fruit in this way can also unlock new flavours, enhancing your dessert experience. Try brushing fruit with a little honey or maple syrup before grilling for a caramelized finish.

Experiment with Spices

Spices can enhance the natural flavour of fruits. A dash of cinnamon, cardamom, or vanilla complements fruits like apples and pears beautifully, adding complexity to any dessert. Nutmeg and ginger are also excellent with juicy fruits like peaches and plums. Experimenting with spices can transform a simple fruit dish into an exotic and enticing dessert. Such additions are simple but effective ways to elevate the taste without added sugar.

Incorporate Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are concentrated in flavour and can be a great addition to desserts. Sprinkle raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dates over oatmeal cookies or mix them into homemade granola bars for a chewy texture. Dried fruits work well in baked goods because they provide a burst of sweetness and texture. They are also perfect for decorating cakes and adding to snack mixes. Be mindful of the sugar content in store-bought dried fruits, opting for unsweetened varieties when available.

Create Colourful Fruit Layers

Layer fruits in parfaits, trifles, or cakes to create visually appealing and delicious desserts. Layers of colourful fruits not only look spectacular, but also offer varied flavours and textures. This layering technique can be applied in smoothie bowls and gelatin desserts for a stunning visual effect. Try to choose fruits that contrast in colour and texture for the most striking presentations. These desserts are particularly appealing to children and can make eating fruit more exciting for them.

Finish with A Healthy Twist

Top off your desserts with a nutritious twist, such as a dollop of Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds for extra crunch and nutrients. These additions provide a contrast in textures and increase the health benefits of your dessert. Nuts add healthy fats and proteins, making the dessert more satisfying. Consider using a drizzle of natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar to enhance flavour without resorting to refined sugars. Such finishes not only improve taste but also boost nutritional value, aligning with a healthier lifestyle.

Incorporating fruits into your desserts is an enjoyable way to make your sweet dishes healthier and more flavourful. By using fruits in various forms, from frozen to dried, and employing them in creative ways, such as natural sweeteners or vibrant toppings, you can transform any dessert into a delightful and nutritious treat. So next time you prepare a dessert, remember these tips and enjoy the added benefits of fruits in your culinary creations.

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5 Life-Transforming Tips to Make it More Fun-Filled

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Everyone wants to make the most out of life. From personal life to establishing a successful career, enjoyment is all that people crave the most. But the key to happiness is having fun most of the time. It can be challenging to find time and moments of fun in the routine as life becomes boring and dull for many.

However, you can cultivate your mindset and embrace more pleasure and laughter in your everyday routine. To transform your boring and dull life into a fun-filled one, here are a few tips that you can consider in this blog.

Read on to explore!

 

1.    Start Enjoying Little Moments

The fun doesn’t need to come from an extensive and spectacular event happening around your life all the time. There are so many small moments in your life that can turn into more fun. All you have to do is embrace those little times in your life and be happy.

For example, you can give yourself a little break from a hectic day and enjoy some chocolate. Or you can make time to enjoy things that you like.

 

2.    Be Spontaneous In Life

Just like life becomes unexpected most of the time, you can be a little unpredictable with it as well. To bring fun to your life, you can work on being more open to new and unplanned experiences.

If you get an invitation for any activity, event, or sport, don’t say no to it. Getting to indulge in more social activities will help you create new memories and experience new thrills in life.

 

3.    Bring a Furry Friend in Life

A boring life can easily distance you from fun. To embrace joy in life, having a furry company can do wonders. You can cherish love and warmth and have little moments of joy with a furry one.

If you don’t have a furry companion, you’re majorly missing joy. It’s time for you to look for the best puppy-selling company, such as Fou Fou Puppie’s website, to bring a cute puppy into your life.

 

4.    Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness will help you to live the present to the fullest. As most people worry more about their future, it makes them overlook the current joys of life.

What you can consider best to bring fun to your life is practicing mindfulness for at least 2 minutes. Let go of all the thoughts that pop into your head and focus on the positive aspects of living.

 

5.    Participate More in Fun Activities

There should be no excuse for having fun in life as there are many low-cost fun activities for the community that you can explore to have fun. It can be simple, but it prevents you from living a boring and less-inspiring life.

For example, you can call your group of friends to have coffee together and share more laughter, or you can go to the movies to unwind yourself. These activities will not cost you a fortune and allow you to make the most out of your day, week, and month.

 

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