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The sniffles return!

Guest post by Yosé Cormier, Red Cross blogger

For parents, back to school means a lot of different things such as school supply shopping, back to work, extracurricular activities, homework and more work/life juggling. 

It also means the return of the sniffles.

But sometimes, those sniffles and coughs can be worse than the common cold. This year, a rare and severe virus – but not life-threatening – is sending some kids to hospitals across Canada and the U.S.

The enterovirus D68 is mainly affecting children ages 2-16, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions are experiencing more severe reactions. Symptoms are similar to the common cold (which is also caused by an enterovirus), but can be much more severe and lead to difficulty breathing. It’s also transmitted in the same way – coughing and sneezing being the main culprits. The Public Health Agency of Canada is monitoring the situation.

While you can get a vaccine against the flu, you can’t get one against the enterovirus D68. Furthermore, antibiotics won’t help because they are used to fight off bacteria not viruses. Rest, fluids, nutrition and time are the only treatment. 

Ultimately, the best offence against contracting any respiratory illnesses is a good defence. Cough in your elbow not your hand and stay home if you are coming down with something to prevent spreading. The biggest prevention method is washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap, especially after touching high-traffic objects like coffee pots, water coolers or doorknobs.

Find out more about what you can do to Plan for Flu Prevention.
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