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Should you get another COVID booster? Guidelines are changing

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said it no longer “routinely recommends” additional COVID-19 vaccine boosters for medium or low-risk people, but one Canadian doctor is warning the “advice isn’t probably the best.”

The updated roadmap from WHO outlines three priority-use groups for COVID-19 vaccination: high, medium and low, and is designed to prioritize vaccines for those at greater risk of the disease.

The WHO recommended additional booster doses for high-priority groups such as older people, immunocompromised people of all ages, front-line health workers and pregnant people. But for those who fall under the low and medium-risk group, WHO did not recommend additional COVID-19 boosters, citing “low public health returns.”

The WHO’s updated guidance comes just weeks after Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) last updated its guidelines on boosters.

“Society is caught between wanting this whole thing to be over and still reconciling that it’s still a threatening problem out there,” Dr. Kashif Pirzada, a Toronto emergency room doctor, told Global News.

“We see plenty of people with just two vaccines who get a fairly brutal illness…the most severe your illness, the more chances you’ll have long-term lingering symptoms. So I think they didn’t really factor that in is that it’s still out there,” he said.

Despite the persistent presence of the highly contagious Omicron variant in Canada, COVID-19 is not expected to surge in the coming months as hospitalizations and deaths remain stable, federal health officials said earlier this month.

On March 10, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said that COVID-19 activity has reached a “relatively steady state,” in the country and “we may not see any major waves in the coming months as we prepare for a potential fall and winter surge.”

Because the country is seeing a decrease in deaths relating to COVID-19 infection, Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University Health Network, said she agrees with WHO’s recommendations.

“I think from a global perspective it makes a lot of sense and probably also makes sense from a Canadian perspective,” she said.

“We know that especially in Canada, younger people have a higher level of hybrid immunity. So having had vaccine doses, but then also prior infections…may offer better protection overall,” she said.

Canada — and the rest of the world — seems to be shifting into a new way of dealing with the disease, she added, which is transitioning into something “more sustainable” for the long term, such as focusing on high-risk individuals.

In terms of where Canada stands on vaccine boosters, Pirzada said there has been little messaging out there, other than a spring shot for high-risk individuals.

 

Canada’s current COVID vaccine recommendations

NACI’s latest guidance on COVID-19 vaccines on March 3 recommended that people facing a high risk of serious illness should get another COVID-19 booster in the spring.

The committee advises all Canadians five years old and up should get immunized against COVID-19 with a full primary series of vaccines. For most people, a primary series is two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, at a recommended interval of eight weeks apart.

NACI states that “children 6 months to under 5 years of age may be immunized with a primary series of an authorized mRNA vaccine.”

NACI further recommends a booster dose six months after the last dose of a primary course for everyone aged five years old and up.

‘Make a case’ to get booster

Because the most recent NACI guideline is only for high-risk individuals, Pirzada worries, like the WHO, NACI is not taking into account long-term COVID-19 symptoms, which can happen in healthy young people too.

“And the farther out you are from your boosters or from your vaccines, the more chances of having a much more severe course of illness,” he said.

His advice for Canadians is to get a booster if you are six to 12 months out of your vaccine, especially if you’re going to travel or be around large crowds.

If you don’t fall under the high-risk category and want to get boosted, Pirzada said “to make a case” to a physician or pharmacist saying, you’re worried about COVID-19 infection and want a booster.

“Boosters will protect you for three months from infection. That’s pretty good…protection for three months. If you are at high-risk settings in that time where you want to really have fun, that’s not a bad idea,” he added.

Hota believes that low-risk individuals, mainly those who feel nervous about travelling without a booster, should modify their behaviour “if they are concerned.”

The goal of vaccines, she said, is to reduce the risk of severe illness, and if an individual has a very low risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19 (because of hybrid immunity), “it’s probably not going to be offering you that much more protection.”

She stressed that vaccines will have the greatest impact on those at the highest risk.

According to Health Canada, a booster dose of a BA.4/5 bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine “provides increased protection against both symptomatic disease and hospitalization, compared to those who did not receive a bivalent booster dose but received at least two previous doses of original monovalent vaccines in the past.”

— with files from Reuters

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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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