When the kids get back to school, here’s how to keep RSV, COVID, and other diseases at bay

With back-to-school around the corner and the number of COVID-19 cases rising, it’s important to remember the basics to keep respiratory illness at bay, says an expert.

dr Dina Kulik, a pediatrician and founder of Kidcrew Medical, told CTV News Channel Monday that we can reduce the risk of viruses like COVID-19 and RSV by maintaining proper hygiene and keeping children out of school when they’re sick Masking if you think you might be contagious.

“I think the more we send our kids to school sick, the more we return to work sick, the more likely we are to spread virus, especially … indoors without masks, etc.,” she said. “We want to make sure we spend as much time outdoors as possible. We mask if we feel unwell or if we think we might be contagious and wash our hands thoroughly.”

According to Health Canada, there was late August COVID-19 activity is increasing in Canadawith the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients increasingly from 1,836 to 2,125 between August 23 and 29.

Many regions in Canada are no longer tracking or reporting their COVID-19 numbers regularly, meaning the numbers may be under-reported. Around One in 54 people could be infected right nowaccording to the latest estimate from the Canadian COVID-19 Hazard Index, a COVID-19 data aggregation project led by a volunteer group of scientists and epidemiologists.

COVID-19 hit the headlines again in August when the first case of BA.2.86 – a new, heavily mutated variant – was discovered in British Columbia. Also known as Pirola, the variant has fueled fears that it could evade vaccine protection because its spike protein has more than 30 mutations compared to its closest ancestor, BA.2.

Initial research suggests that the new variant may not be as dangerous as initially thought. Two studies conducted in China and Sweden found that BA.2.86 does not look that different to our immune system than feared and that while the new variant poses a threat, it does not become one in cases where the new variant occurs surge The advent of Omicron did.

“It’s great news that the new research shows it’s less contagious and less invasive to the immune system than we previously thought,” Kulik said. “Nevertheless, children can contract it, particularly those who have not recently contracted COVID or have not been vaccinated for a long time, and a major concern we have as we return to school is that the children will be back in a closed one Be cage locked.” Environment, fewer outdoor activities (than) we have in summer.”

Currently, XBB variant sublineages are predominant in Canada, with XBB.1.9.2 representing the most prevalent lineage group for the past three weeks (as of August 29). The federal government is preparing for the introduction of new COVID-19 variants. 19 shots in the fall, with Health Canada still reviewing applications from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to update their COVID-19 shots to one targeting XBB.1.5 and its sublines.

Fall also means we’re likely to see more cases of RSV, which follow a seasonal pattern and usually strike heavily in the fall.

Another concern about returning to school is “the risk of contracting COVID and RSV and/or influenza at the same time, which has been a concern for us for a number of years,” Kulik said.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses in schools is for parents to keep their children at home when they are sick and not send them to school with a cough or a runny nose, she said.

Though school is starting up again, she said that “parents seem less concerned about COVID this year,” noting that “we’re not masking much anymore, we’re going back indoors.”

Some parents are likely to feel that the specter of the virus is less threatening if their children have a history of contracting COVID-19, she said.

But COVID-19 can still have major impacts, and not just in the acute stages. According to the World Health Organization, almost 36 million people in Europe alone could have long-term health problems due to long-COVID, a chronic condition that medical experts are still working to understand.

“Some children, including adults, are (still) getting pretty badly ill with COVID, and we want to avoid repeat infections as much as possible, which may not be good for us in the long run either,” Kulik said.

She added that it’s important for children to get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet.

“We know these things can help keep us healthy year-round, but especially during virus season,” she said.

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