Does cold weather make you sick? – National

by BBG Hub

As summer turns to fall, the weather across Canada is changing quickly.

There’s an age-old myth that a drastic drop in temperature can make you sick, but according to experts, it’s just a fallacy.

READ MORE: Flu forecast 2019 — Here’s what to expect from this year’s flu season

“That’s completely untrue,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a researcher at the University Health Network and infectious disease expert.

“Infections — what we call upper respiratory tract infections — can occur all year round.

“The fact that it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that someone’s going to get a cold. The fact that it’s cold outside means that the season is changing, and there are some infections which become more viable in the winter months,” Bogoch said.

Catching a cold has nothing to do with the temperature

In order to catch the common cold, you have to come in contact with that infection — and that’s just as likely to happen in June as it is in December.

But it can seem like more people become ill in the colder months, a phenomenon Bogoch said could be caused by closer proximity to others.

“In the winter months, we tend to stay indoors more,” he said.

“We tend to huddle together more, and there’s probably more opportunities for people to transmit infections from person to person.”

WATCH: Health experts warn of a potentially bad flu season

There could be some loose evidence to suggest the immune system may not function as well in cold temperatures compared to mild temperatures, but Bogoch is wary of this theory.

“That’s not a strong belief among everybody [in the medical community]. The data suggesting that isn’t robust,” he explained.

“Even if we’re exposed to viruses or bacteria, we have a variety of mechanisms to clear these from our body … to either attack them or sweep them out of the lungs … and prevent them from spreading throughout our body.”

‘Flu season’ is real

However, it’s true that some viruses circulate more often at certain times of the year while other viruses circulate year-round.

One common infection that has “seasonal variation” is influenza, or what’s known as the flu.

Bogoch said beginning around late November, there’s a spike in the number of influenza cases across the country. “Flu season” typically runs until late February or early March.

READ MORE: Handwashing vs. hand sanitizer — Which one is better at killing flu virus?

“This will happen with high degrees of predictability,” he said. “It’s seasonal but it’s not to say that people can’t get sick [with the flu] throughout the year. They certainly can.”

When Canadian experts want clues on what our flu season might look like, they often look south, said Alyson Kelvin, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax and an influenza virologist at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology. She previously told Global News experts look at Australia, which experiences its flu season during our summer (and its winter).

“We can kind of look to see what’s going on there, and generally, there are trends seen in our later flu season,” she said.

There’s no ‘silver bullet’ for avoiding a cold

Despite common myths about tricks to “boost your immune system,” Bogoch said there are only two tried-and-true ways to avoid getting sick: wash your hands and get the flu shot.

“In terms of immune-boosting… a healthy lifestyle is probably the best thing you can do,” he said.

“Exercise, sleep and nutrition — these are the things that help our bodies function at their peak performance. By addressing all these issues, we really set ourselves up for success.”

Get your flu shot

The best thing you can do to protect yourself and others from the flu is getting your flu shot.

“The flu shot is useful for everyone in terms of reducing either the chance of getting influenza, and also, if you do get it, it should reduce the severity of it by giving some primed immunity to the virus itself,” Dr. Michelle Murti, a public health physician with Public Health Ontario, previously told Global News.

“As soon as the vaccine becomes available, that’s our No. 1 thing to say, that people — particularly those who are at high risk for influenza — should be getting the flu shot,” Murti said.

READ MORE: 4 in 10 Canadians say they won’t get the flu shot this year — poll

That includes people over 65, children under five, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity.

If you’re in one of these high-risk groups that could potentially have a more severe reaction to the flu, she said, you might even want to consider consulting with your physician before flu season starts to figure out a plan of action should you get sick. This could include things like having easy access to a prescription for antiviral therapy.

Aside from the flu shot, you should also wash your hands frequently, cough into your elbow or sleeve instead of your hand and stay home if you’re feeling ill, she said.

If you’re sick with a respiratory illness and you’re feeling short of breath, have a persistently high fever or have an illness that goes away after a few days but then comes back hard, Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University, says these are all signs that you should visit a doctor.

— With files from Leslie Young


[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What you should know before getting a second dog – National

by BBG Hub

Roxy is one of those dogs who makes everything easy.

“She’s just all love, very little maintenance,” Cameron Gearan says of her laid-back lab mix. “She never gets sick. She doesn’t bark.”

When Gearen decided to bring a second dog into her Chicago home, she figured the new addition would offer more of the same. She soon discovered, however, that “you can’t get that dog twice, actually. That’s not going to happen.”

Her new dog, Zack, required much more time, effort and expense than Roxy ever had. Though he’s now happily acclimated, Gearen says she struggled through moments when she wondered if this new arrangement could possibly work.

That’s a common experience.

READ MORE: Pets play big role in many Canadians’ financial decision making

“We sometimes have expectations of pet No. 2 that are coloured by our experience with pet No. 1,” says Candace Croney, an animal behaviourist and director of Purdue University’s Center for Animal Welfare Science. “And it’s not necessarily fair to either of them.”

Especially when a pet is getting older, bringing in a second animal can seem like a natural thing to do. Owners may hope a puppy can give the older pet an infusion of exercise and energy. They may also hope the presence of another pet will soften the blow when they eventually lose the older one.

Brette Sember has had good luck adding a new golden retriever puppy to her home each time her older golden retriever has reached its final years.

WATCH: Survey finds pets help reduce loneliness for seniors

“It’s always gone smoothly,” says Sember, who lives in upstate New York. “There’s an adjustment period where they figure out dominance and become friends. The hardest part is the housetraining and policing the chewing the new puppy does.”

But for many pet owners and pets, the process can be challenging. The cheerful bonding they’d hoped for between two pets might not happen when a dog accustomed to being on its own is suddenly paired with an animal of a different age or temperament.

Here are some tips if you’re considering getting a second dog.

Consider the commitment

It takes time, effort and money to add another pet to your home.

READ MORE: ‘It needs to stop’ — Owner of dead dog pleads for end to use of rabbit poison

“That puppy phase, it’s so time-intensive,” says Lauren McDevitt, co-founder of the pet placement service Good Dog. “So you need to think about whether you’re able to dedicate that time.”

And even if you’re adding an older pet, it takes time: introduce the pets slowly by keeping them mainly in separate spaces during the first days or even weeks.

“I tend to give it a few weeks,” Croney says. “Most people don’t tend to have the patience to do that. But it’s much better to go slow and set things up to succeed rather than having to course-correct.”

Be patient with yourself and the pets on difficult days. As she incorporates a new puppy into her home, Sember says: “There is always at least one biting incident where the older dog establishes dominance. It’s happened every single time but is never serious.”

WATCH: Veterinarians seeing more cases of dogs eating pot

What age is best?

People often opt for a puppy or kitten, and that can work. Older dogs “can do well with a young puppy,” McDevitt says, “but sometimes, it can be a little bit of a nuisance to them.”

Croney agrees, noting “many of these older pets just want to rest and relax” and might be happier if their new playmate were closer to their age.

You may be hesitant to adopt an older animal, especially if you’re already facing medical issues or concerns over losing your current pet, she says.

“But older pets can be so wonderful and, frankly, are somewhat less work.”

The right match

Although it might seem logical to bring your current pet to a shelter or breeder to meet a prospective new friend, a dog’s behaviour in a place crowded with other animals might not reflect what life would be like at home. And taking your dog to a dog park for the first time to assess its experience with other dogs also might not yield accurate information.

READ MORE: How much does it cost to own a dog? 7 Canadians break down their budgets

The most important thing is talking with the shelter staff or breeder about the right pet for your home.

“Ask a lot of questions about the pet’s interaction with other animals,” McDevitt says. How much have they been around other pets, and have those experiences gone well?

If you’ve found a possible candidate, Croney suggests introducing the dogs on leashes on a walk so they can meet in a neutral space. Ideally, have them interact on walks on a few different days to see how they get along.

Be sure the new pet is healthy to avoid any health risk to the other animal.

WATCH: Oshawa city councillor looking to limit dog tethering

Lastly, don’t assume the new pet will be able to handle the same routine as your current pet. Some dogs, like Gearen’s Zack, can’t tolerate being at a “doggie daycare,” for instance. Animals have their own personalities, habits and feelings, just like children, Gearan says.

Despite the challenges, she says adding her second pet turned out to be a wonderful choice.

“It was a learning experience and an expensive one,” Gearen says. “Now, Zack is this incredible source of love in our family, and none of us can imagine if he wasn’t here.”

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University isn’t ‘better’ than college. Why does it get all the glory? – National

by BBG Hub

This is the third story in a four-part series about the transition between high school and “the real world” — whether that’s college, university, the workforce or something completely different. Failure To Launch examines the gaps in Canada’s education system. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Justin Mclaughlin wishes he had a university degree under his belt.

He graduated from Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont., with a business diploma in 2018. Like most new grads, he began the process of applying for jobs in his field.

But during the interview process over the years, the 24-year-old realized he was being passed over because of his college diploma.

READ MORE: ‘Failure to launch kids’: Canadian students aren’t prepared for adulthood

“I’ve been interviewed and told my education credentials didn’t meet those of others,” he said. “My career pathway has seen a large roadblock. I (get) filtered out.”

Like Mclaughlin, some students are forced to choose one institution over the other. This can be a result of family pressure, finances and even misguided conversations around one type of post-secondary education being “better” than the other.

The pressure students feel is completely normal, but it can also leave them feeling overwhelmed and unsure of their decision in the first place. Experts say parents, as well as educators, need to do a better job at giving students a variety of options to approach their post-secondary education.

Choosing between college or university

Mclaughlin made the choice to go to college because he preferred its hands-on learning style and the more affordable price tag.

“Universities made me feel like an application number compared to a possible future community member (at college),” he said.

There’s no denying the stigma of choosing college over university still exists, and often, this idea can trickle down to the job market, says Linda Schweitzer, a professor of management and strategy at the Sprott School of Business in Ottawa.

“Historically, it was privilege that allowed you to go to university, and if somebody went to college when they could afford university, it was looked upon as, ‘why would you do that?’” she explained.

Mclaughlin is still dealing with the consequences of going down a path that wasn’t the right fit.

This year he planned to attend Lakehead University in Orillia, Ont., but the Ontario Student Assistance Program funding cuts in January forced him to defer his acceptance to 2020. Deferring his acceptance meant further delaying his ability to find a job in business.

“(The cuts) put university out of reach again due to my finances,” Mclaughlin said. “University is still praised and valued as prestige and those who are fortunate enough to afford it reap the benefits.”

Start with your passion and go from there

In retrospect, Mclaughlin would’ve chosen a college-university combined program. This is a combination Robert Shea, associate vice-president of academic and student affairs at Memorial University in Newfoundland, calls the “academic ladder.”

Shea encourages students to start with their passion and go from there — getting a diploma, entering the workforce and then going back for a degree to move up into management.

Using university, if needed, to supplement a college diploma is the best way to save time, money and emotional well-being, he explained.

WATCH: Global News asked 10 students if they felt there was a stigma around choosing college over university

After seeing many students who felt like they were “floundering,” or unsure of where they were going in university, Shea hopes ⁠more students and parents are open to this idea.

“What we as a society are not doing is providing those maps (to students),” he said.

“It’s about having students (understand) that there’s no wrong decision; it’s how you build on those things.”

This, he adds, can help improve institutions’ retention rates. When a student ends up choosing a post-secondary option that isn’t the best fit, there is a high chance they’ll drop out.

About 14 per cent of first-year students across the country dropped out of their university programs, according to the 2011 Youth in Transition Survey from Statistics Canada. When accounting for all undergraduate students, the number rose to 16 per cent.

The survey followed 963,000 students aged 18 to 20 who were in post-secondary institutions by 2005. By December of that year, roughly 143,000 had dropped out.

Students dropped out for a variety of reasons, the study noted, including academic pressures, trouble meeting deadlines, choosing the “wrong” program and for many, cost.

Illustration: Laura Whelan

Another 2008 study by the Canadian Education Project, a Toronto-based education policy and research association, found 38 per cent of college and university students in Canada will drop out or change majors over the course of their post-secondary career.

While it’s unknown if these students who dropped out moved to different institutions, Schweitzer says there is still a stigma when making this move.

“There’s a stigma attached to that switch, like ‘I made a mistake,’” she says. “It’s not a mistake; it’s an evolution. Nobody has one career.”

But Toronto-based career expert Fiona Bryan argues some young people don’t have patience when it comes to building a career.

READ MORE: Canadian school counsellors are stretched thin — and it’s our students that suffer

Two decades ago, Bryan says people understood the need for a job right away, even if it wasn’t their passion.

“It was just accepted (back then) that you came out of post-secondary and you needed to work or were already working,” she said. “We are the instant gratification generation because we have not really experienced a recession that set our expectations.”

Meanwhile, the belief that one’s passion should also be one’s full-time career is a disadvantage for new graduates, she said.

“Follow the money, and figure out the happiness later… It’s wrong to tell people to follow their passion because they don’t know what their passion is yet.”

WATCH BELOW: A career coach says students need to look beyond cost, location and programming when deciding where to take post-secondary education. Laurel Gregory reports. 

Not ready to choose? You have options

Another issue is the pressure to figure out exactly which institution you want to attend right after high school. But research suggests more young people are creating their own paths to get the jobs they want.

A 2015 study conducted by Henry Gary Decock of the University of Toronto found that an increasing number of students entering Seneca College had used the college’s program as a vehicle to university.

Seemingly in response to the growing interest in college-style learning, Schweitzer says that there is still a clear divide when it comes to the workforce.

Illustration: Laura Whelan

She says a lot of parents want to know what their kids are training for in university, when in actuality a degree provides the structure for a career rather than something job-specific.

When it comes to choosing between college and university, Schweitzer says weighing the long-term versus short-term “return of investment” is important. And like anything, take time to make this decision.

“Colleges are supposed to be in touch with the industry,” she adds. “In theory, you are training in college to serve to fill a need in the industry, which means that you will get a job.”

University, she says, is meant more as an exercise for the mind, while college is more focused on getting graduates into their fields. “You are being trained in college to fill a need in the industry,” she said, adding that universities are now feeling the pressure to be more college-like.

An advocate for “no education is wasted,” and as a mother herself, Schweitzer is a huge proponent for taking the time needed to figure out what one really wants to do ⁠— even if that means taking time off.

Whether it’s spending time traveling or working, a gap year is a great solution for those who simply don’t know what makes them tick, Schweitzer said.

The positive effects of the gap year, aside from having time to save money for a post-secondary education, are undeniable. Taking a year off before post-secondary leads to better grades, increased job satisfaction and even higher pay later in life, the American Gap Association noted.

One in two respondents of their 2014-2015 national alumni survey cited exploring academic options as a key motivation to taking 12 months off.

When Keidi Janz, 30, graduated from a Toronto high school, she had no idea what she wanted to do.

Instead of forcing herself to choose, the 2008 graduate decided to do a gap year working full-time in IT while saving up for post-secondary education.

Janz focused on herself by going to therapy and exploring outside hobbies, this provided some clarity for her future.

While she didn’t end up completing her social work college-university degree at George Brown College and Ryerson University in Toronto, she learned some valuable skills that helped her get to where she is today ⁠— a self-love coach.

Illustration: Laura Whelan

“I pull on a lot of things that I did actually learn in school for social work. Obviously not to the level of a graduate, (but) I’ve gone through training on my own,” she said.

“(A gap year) was so important for me maturing,” she added. “You don’t have to (keep going) to school because it’s what you’ve done since you were a kid.”

Shea agrees that taking a gap year can be a useful tool in students taking control and designing their futures responsibly.

“It should not be a year to do nothing, but a year to volunteer, work and explore career options and potential areas of study,” he said. “Exploring the world is important to develop global competencies but it should be planned strategically.”

Not losing momentum in whatever choice students choose — whether it’s college, university, both or a gap year — seems to be the key to later success in life.

Just ‘get started’ — wherever you feel comfortable

Bryan says it doesn’t matter so much what students decide to study in the beginning. What matters more are the interpersonal skills and networks they build along the way.

She recommends parents help their kids get started, even if that means enjoying a passion on the side while studying in another field.

“Co-ops and internships are invaluable. They teach us that it is a job,” she said. “It gives us connections early on [and] allows us to explore what we do and don’t like.”

“Long-term, it’s not going to matter,” Schweitzer said.

“Approach (post-secondary) in terms of keeping doors open. The less specialized you can be, the better.”

Mitchell Jabalee, 24, can attest to the importance of connections he made while studying history at Cape Breton University for his undergraduate degree in 2018.

“It is because of some of them that I’m where I am now,” he said.

Though Mclaughlin has some regrets of not being better equipped to make the right decision for his own career, he knows there’s no one right answer.

“I don’t believe though that one path is the ultimate pathway,” he said. “I think a combination of college and university is necessary to truly equip students for a successful future.”

“Programs that offer a combination of both education systems is the key, I believe, and I wish I’d been more well-informed of the differences.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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