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What to know about RSV, a virus surging among young children in Canada – CBC News

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Children’s hospitals in Canada are seeing an increase in cases of a common respiratory virus that, in rare cases, can lead to severe illness in infants.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. It can result in severe infection in some people, including babies under two and older adults with pre-existing conditions.

Cases of RSV dropped dramatically early in the pandemic, but spiked last fall and are now surging in many parts of the country, says Dr. Earl Rubin, director of the infectious diseases division at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Rubin says that surge is part of the reason his hospital is struggling with long wait times and a shortage of beds.

“We are overwhelmed,” he said. “We are experiencing in the pediatric hospitals what the adult hospitals were experiencing during the peak of COVID.”

Rubin says the “triple threat” of the flu, new coronavirus variants and RSV is cause for concern. 

Here’s a look at what’s behind the increase in RSV cases.

What is RSV?

The virus generally leads to cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, cough and fever. It’s the most common cause of lower respiratory tract illness in young children worldwide, and typically leads to outbreaks in Canada from late fall to early spring. 

While many infections are simple colds, children less than two years of age are at risk of severe disease such as bronchiolitis — a blockage of small airways in the lungs — or pneumonia and may be hospitalized.

“Almost all babies are infected by two years of age. It’s very common … but some babies can get very sick with it,” said Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor at the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine. 

In its most recent update, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported a rise in RSV cases in many parts of the country, though Banerji says testing isn’t widespread enough to get a complete picture. Hospitals in the United States have also reported an increase in cases.

Quebec’s Ministry of Health reported a higher positivity rate than the national average. CHEO, an Ottawa children’s hospital, said in a statement RSV cases were part of the reason it “just had its busiest September ever.”

Why are cases rising now?

Both Banerji and Rubin say there were fewer RSV cases when public health measures were in place because of COVID-19, but there was a spike last autumn and again this year as young children were exposed to more people.

Many of those children don’t have strong immunity because they weren’t exposed previously and, similarly, their birth mothers might not have been exposed and passed immunity on either, Banerji said.

At his Montreal hospital, Rubin says he’s also seeing some slightly older children, between age one and two, that are sicker than usual.

“They have no immunity, and if they have any predisposing conditions, whether it’s asthma or allergies, that will predispose [them to RSV],” he said. 

How does it spread?

RSV is predominantly spread by aspirated droplets, says Rubin. He recommends hand washing and, for older children, ensuring they sneeze into their elbow and cover their mouth when they cough.

It can also spread through contact. “If you touch a contaminated surface and then rub your eye, pick your nose, you can infect yourself,” he said. 

People infected are usually contagious for three to eight days. Babies and people with weakened immune systems, however, can spread RSV for longer. 

Who is most at risk and what can be done?

Those with pre-existing conditions, particularly those born prematurely, can be vulnerable to the most serious infections. 

Studies conducted by Banerji also suggest that Inuit infants in Canada’s north are particularly at risk. 

“They have much higher rates of admission than almost any other population in the world,” she said.

During RSV season, injections of an antibody-based medicine are sometimes prescribed to protect premature infants and other very vulnerable babies.

Banerji launched a petition — now with more than 200,000 signatures — calling on the Nunavut government to expand the use of that medicine to make it available to all babies in the territory.

More generally, doctors may also prescribe oral steroids or an inhaler to make breathing easier. In serious cases, patients in the hospital may get oxygen, a breathing tube or a ventilator.

“If a child needs to be admitted to the hospital, it’s because their oxygen levels are low or they’re having a really hard time breathing on their own and may need to be ventilated or they’re not feeding well,” Banerji said. 

At home, she said, parents can do their best to manage symptoms with fever medications, and ensure their baby is adequately hydrated.

WATCH | What to expect this winter from COVID:

Another COVID-19 winter is coming. Here’s how to prepare

2 days ago

Duration 5:32

Heading into a third pandemic winter, COVID hospitalizations in Canada are up, vaccine uptake is down and new variants are circulating. But experts say we’re not completely in the dark, and some of the tools to get through it are already in our hands.

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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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