Archive: October 2020

Scientific News

Contact tracing is used to control an outbreak of infectious viruses and diseases such as COVID-19. Tracing back who was in contact with a patient gives information on possible new cases as well as information about the virus itself. In this time of uncertainty, it is useful to have multiple options of moving forward. Contact tracing has been an effective ways to control infections spread by close contact such as sexually transmitted diseases. In this article, we will explore the process and results of Contact tracing in relation to the current pandemic.

There may be more unknowns to this virus than originally anticipated. There is concerning evidence that indicates that a COVID-19 infection may cause neurological side effects. Nerve damage and strokes are just two examples of this.  Who exactly is at risk, as well as more details about what is causing these effects remains unexplained, but there have been studies and research done to help the fight in breaking down these unanswered questions and more.

Pandemics, in the context of this article, are defined by an unusually high outbreak of a new, infectious disease that spreads in humans across large regions. For many Canadian youth, the COVID-19 pandemic is the first pandemic they have lived through or will remember living through, with direct consequences. However, there have been many more pandemics throughout history, including the Black Death/the Plague, Cholera, Smallpox, Spanish Flu, and HIV/AIDS. This article covers a brief history of these pandemics, and Infectious agent, Reservoir, and vector of each disease.

Just recently, Canada hit the biggest number of new cases in one day, instilling fear and a sense of weariness all over the country. With the second wave anticipated, provinces across Canada differ with phases of reopening and COVID cases. It has been interesting to see how provincial leadership has taken different steps towards slowing the spread of COVID-19. Today we'll be looking at the state of some provinces and territories regarding changes and updates in their fight against the global pandemic.

It’s clear now that we, as a country, are experiencing a new surge in positive cases. It is likely that we are at the forefront of a second wave, as our daily case count hasn't been this high for months. There are many aspects of this second wave that must be taken seriously for the cases to slow their rapid rate of increase. Imposing and re-introducing firmer restrictions, the flu season, and the potential ramifications of a second wave must all be taken into account when combating COVID-19.

Much about COVID-19, its potentially long-lasting side effects, and the full effects that it can have on one’s body are still under researched for the most part.  There are more links between COVID-19,  other ailments, and parts of the body then we’ve previously realized. A new potential link lies between the gut microbiome and COVID-19. Multiple studies that have been conducted point toward  inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and the gut-lung axis as the potential bridges between the two.

We all know that washing your hands is extremely important as it helps to remove COVID-19 from your hands which thereby prevents infection. But do you actually know how soap and hand sanitizer work to remove these particles? In this article, we discuss the chemical structure of soap and how this allows it to kill viruses as well as the differences in effectiveness between soap and hand sanitizer based on their compositions. Furthermore, many people may not be aware that they are washing their hands in an ineffective way, so in this article, we have also explained the proper way to do this so that infectious particles can be washed off completely.

Social Initiatives

Although COVID-19 has changed celebration for all of us, there are definitely still many ways that we can have fun celebrating Halloween this year while still staying safe. In this article, we go through a list of various ideas for Halloween activities during a pandemic, such as “trunk-or-treating”, attending drive-thru events, and even hosting candy hunts. This can also include having virtual pumpkin-carving contests, making DIY decorations, and baking treats with family and friends. We’ve also included a few tips for staying safe during this holiday, like avoiding wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask, eating candies only when you get home, and making sure not to share props.

Joyce Echaquan. 37 years old. Mother of seven. Wife. Atikamekw woman. 

 

On September 26th, 2020, Joyce Echaquan entered the Lanaudière Hospital in Joliette, Quebec, complaining of stomach pains. A few days later, on the 28th, she went live on Facebook in a 7-minute stream titled “JoyceCarol Dube” where she can be heard saying, “Venez m’aider, ils me droguent (Please help, they’re drugging me)” amongst unintelligible yelling. Learn more about this frightening case in this eye opening article.

Cardio Ex is a mobile game in which healthcare providers and students enrolled in cardiology classes can apply theory learned in their programs into practice. One of the best features of this learning method is that there are no real-life consequences; everything is virtual! This is especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, where students are able to apply their understanding right at home. Through the app’s three game modes—Diagnosis, Treatment, and Interventional—users can develop their deductive reasoning, decision making skills, and expand their knowledge of real cases in the field. In this article, take a deeper dive into the Cardio Ex app and explore the game’s features, challenges, as well as the evolution of apps in the classroom—including video games like Cardio Ex that help students grasp new knowledge and experience!

Health care, like many other industries, is not immune to racial bias. Black patients of white doctors have reported mistreatment and negligence time and again; lack of proper sedation, cruel and apathetic attitude, snarky comments between staff, and sloppy procedures. This malpractice dates back too far too long and unless we act sooner than later, progress will slow to a halt.

Many animal shelters are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although they are allowed to operate, some decide to forego this option to reduce the risk of transmission. Dogs and cats are not the only pets you can bring into your home, though! Lagomorpha, rodents, and reptiles are usually out of the question. So if you've ever thought about becoming a small-pet owner, consider one of these ‘less-liked’ animals. They will not only be grateful for you, but you’ll be grateful for them. This article will provide you with enough resources if you are considering fostering/adopting.

During the pandemic, hospitals and doctors’ offices have become high-risk areas for COVID-19. As a result, virtual care has emerged as a safer way for medical professionals to treat their patients! Throughout the past months, many Canadians have been advised to use this strategy, as opposed to visiting hospitals or medical centres where the risk of exposure is increased. Virtual care, taking place in the form of phone calls, video calls, emails, or texts, is mainly used for the management of minor flu-like symptoms, such as allergies, coughing, headaches, etc. Throughout this article, the author covers topics on virtual care, what it looks like, how it is used, and what the next steps should be if you feel sick. Although there are obvious limitations to virtual care, it serves as a necessary substitute for general communication with your doctor and other healthcare providers.

Over the past few years, thrift shopping has become a popular trend in the ever-growing world of fashion, especially among members of Gen Z. In a society where people are becoming increasingly conscious of their social and environmental choices, thrifting has become a go-to method of decreasing clothing waste while picking up unique articles of clothing along the way. Of course, because everything is second-hand, it’s all at a discounted price, so what’s not to love? Well, there are a few things to consider before grabbing your friends for a huge thrift haul. There’s actually a lot of ethics behind the concept of thrifting.

Bleed the North is a federally registered non-profit organization based in the Greater Toronto Area fighting period poverty and stigma. Mia Medic, head of Bleed the North’s advocacy team and the co-head of National Period Day, has been working hard for the organization over the past six months. “I joined back in April because I didn’t see many non-profits that were fighting period poverty or period stigma or even opening up the conversation about menstruation,” she says. From contacting politicians to educating others to organizing city-wide period product drives, Bleed the North is truly making an impact. Their latest project is National Period Day, which will take place on November 7th. The week surrounding it, November 2nd to 9th, will include exciting events like webinars, networking sessions, and speakers following specific themes.

Masks are one of our primary means of defence against Covid- 19. Aside from its designed medical purpose, however, masks are now being used as a form of human expression worldwide. Museums across the globe have started to immortalize and document the different personal touches, and significances that different mask designs can have. From activism and raising awareness on social injustice, to artistic freedom and intricate designs, masks have evolved to become a symbol of the human experience, and the stories that we have to tell.

 

We’ve transformed an object that used to connote lack of emotion, and an absence of identity, into a form of connection, and newfound creativity.

Small businesses are truly the foundation of a strong economy. Not only do they contribute to the authenticity and enrichment of a community, but they also create an opportunity for inspiration and innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on these businesses, who have struggled to maintain steady revenue throughout the global lockdown. During this time, small businesses need our support more than ever. In this article, we will be discovering ways in which you can lend a hand to small businesses in your community in this difficult time.

Gender norms have become predominant in many areas of society, including the requirement of school uniforms in some school environments. Multiple groups of students have recently held protests against these inequalities as part of a movement that aims to fight against the hypersexualization of girls as well as toxic masculinity. In this article, we’ve explained the reasoning behind this movement and have interviewed Zachary Paulin and Simon Lefebvre-Gagnon, students at the Quebec high school, Collège Nouvelles Frontières.  At this school, boys borrowed and wore skirts to fight such gender roles, and to help normalize males dressing in a feminine way. This group of students have definitely brought awareness to this issue and has helped push the message that forced gender norms can often be unnecessarily detrimental in our current world.

 
 

Advice/Tips

Face masks have become a part of our new normal during the pandemic, and they have saved many lives throughout these past months. However, it’s always important to remember how exactly you should be caring for your mask, as that can be crucial in making sure it is still functioning effectively. In this article, we’ve explained the recommended ways to take off, store, and wash your mask, as well as how long its lifespan typically is.

Autumn is a season many have come to love. The awe-provoking colour changing leaves, the nostalgic childhood memories like pumpkin patch visits and thanksgiving dinner. Although these are some pleasurable autumnal activities, there are always the tiresome ones including preparing for unpleasant weather, dealing with leaks or struggling to find the most beautiful decor. In this article, we will provide you with lifestyle hacks to make your autumn superb!

School can be hard, and we know that firsthand. School, work, social activities, and extracurriculars all take an eventual toll on students, especially with the added stress of a pandemic. You don’t have to barely get by during the school year, you should be able to enjoy your time as a student and learn as much as you can. Burnout is a common reaction to stress that many people experience during hard times despite the fact that it is 100% avoidable with the right coping mechanisms and resources. That’s why this week, we wrote an article detailing some attainable ways to avoid burning out!

The months of September and October often get quite busy for both students and parents alike. However, it’s important to not use our lack of time as an excuse to neglect taking care of our minds and bodies. Here at Race To A Cure, we’ve put together an easy and efficient workout that you can squeeze in your schedule as a wakeup routine, desk detox, or a just quick breather in between errands. What’s more, it requires minimal space and takes no more than 15 minutes out of your day. By taking these little steps to maintain your health during busy times, you’ll ultimately find that it boosts productivity, energy levels, and overall happiness!

With the flu season approaching and COVID-19 case numbers increasing throughout Canada, people are focused on staying healthy. The Internet provides endless information and advice to prevent sickness. But can you believe everything you see on the web? It is important to identify what is true and what may be myths when it comes to information about germs. Can wearing gloves prevent sickness? Does vitamin C cure a cold? Is the common saying “feed a cold, starve a fever” true? In this article, the author shares facts and busts myths regarding germs, the flu, the common cold, vaccination, and more.

Tests have always been difficult for many students — and that definitely has not changed with the arrival of a global pandemic. Although tests may be different now, with the possibility of them being online, the challenges that come with being properly prepared for a test still persist. In this article, we’ve given some tips for completing these evaluations, including advice for studying, having a responsible pre-test routine, managing stress, and taking online tests rather than in-person ones. These are all very important factors, as what you do leading up to a test could end up being far more impactful than what actually happens during the writing of your test. However, make sure to prioritize your mental health over any test result — everyone makes mistakes, and that’s perfectly normal!

Failure is an inevitable part of the human experience. It is dreaded and always hurts when we experience it, but it is inescapable. To move past this initial dread, we must realize that it is an essential part of our growth. Failure can enable an individual to bounce back and highlights a person’s resilience. The experience itself does not define us, but how we choose to move past it can. Whether you’re dealing with academic shortcomings, failed interviews, or even fallout from a relationship, failures are experiences that we have to learn to deal with.

In times such as this, we must look after ourselves physically and mentally. Looking after yourself has become a more difficult task for many due to our change in schedules, home-lives, extracurricular activities, online-school work, etc. Finding enrichment by taking the time to do activities that we enjoy or taking the time to healthily wind-down after a tough day prevents us from burning out and feeling frustrated. There’s more to self-care than just warm-baths and face masks, however. We take the time to delve into the variants of self-care and how you can build the right routine for you.

Social distancing rules, although extremely important, have left many people feeling isolated and lonely as they can’t connect with friends as much as they used to before the pandemic. However, there are actually many ways to regularly stay in touch with friends, and in this article we list some of these ways, which include using Discord, Netflix Party, and even games like Among Us. 

 

We’ve also explained the importance and benefits of connecting with your friends during these times; for instance, maintaining friendships can actually decrease your stress levels, improve your self confidence, and even live a longer and healthier life! We encourage all of you to try out some of these methods to connect with your own friends, as it can really help your mental health.

Are you struggling with prioritization? Do you often feel overwhelmed with nerves before assessments? Are you in need of developing good study habits? If so, look no further than Race to a Cure’s Student Success Box #2, where we discuss all these topics and more! In this article, three Race to a Cure members share their insights on dealing with test anxiety, building good study habits, and implementing prioritization. With topics such as practicing mindfulness, memorization tips, note-taking systems, setting goals, and much more covered throughout the article, you will certainly be prepared to take on your next upcoming test or exam!

About 1 year ago, news spread that we had 11 years to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. Many people liked and shared this information on social media and youth organized a strike on September 20th, 2019. It was one of the largest climate strikes in history, where they protested to demand action be taken to address climate change. Yet one year later and amidst the global pandemic, this problem has not been given the attention and awareness it should have despite the urgent need for solutions. The forgotten climate crisis is still continuing despite an international pandemic, but there are a lot of ways we can all become a better steward to the environment while safely socially distancing.

 
 

Other News

These days, there is so much music out in the world that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start! While some playlists are created by Spotify’s editorial team, it’s the playlists put together by Spotify users themselves that provide the most interesting and relatable experience. We’ve compiled a list of bizarrely specific moods, and we’ve found the perfect playlists to match them. From Wattpad vibes to all-nighter study sessions, there’s something for every moment. Visit the article for the full playlist!

Many people assume the math that students learn in high school is overly complex and not going to be applicable  in “the real world”.  The truth is, studying math increases cognitive function, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. Math is found in all areas of life, even if you don’t go into STEM. This article shines a light on a plethora of benefits to taking math in high school, along with places where math can be found, even if you didn’t know it!

Girls in Canada and other first world countries are lucky to have the opportunity to voice their opinions, go to school, and take care of their bodies when it’s their time of the month. Unfortunately, girls in developing countries are facing a harsh future. In countries across Africa, South America and Asia, girls are dealing with issues such as child marriages, lack of feminine hygiene products, and missed opportunities to have a proper education.

Dogs make brilliant companions, but that’s not their only role, especially in the field of healthcare. They have an excellent sense of smell, which is hundreds of times better than that of humans, and this can be extremely helpful in identifying conditions and/or alerting their owners. In fact, Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are actually trained specifically for this purpose. They utilize their olfactory receptors in their nose to recognize high blood sugar levels in diabetics, nut or other allergen particles in the air, and even cancerous cells! In this way, dogs can be extremely helpful to many people, although they cannot fully replace medical testing.

Over the past few years, social media has found its way into many of our lives. It has become our go-to means of connecting with others, sharing special moments, and speaking up about causes we care about. In the strange and isolated situation we live in right now, it’s not a surprise that social media has become more important than ever. In fact, if you think about it, this pandemic is the first ever in history to be documented so extensively through online platforms. From spreading news to relieving loneliness, social media is capable of reaching millions across the world. However, as with everything, there are certain risks to using social media.

This past month, Race to a Cure's readers submitted many insightful questions to our Student Success Box. To answer them all, we present our October Student Success Box #2, where we discuss the topics of professional speaking, academic opportunities, and staying focused. In this article, four Race to a Cure members share their insights on building confidence in public speaking, the best places to find academic opportunities, and tips to maximize focus when studying! Through these topics and more, we hope you can discover advice that will assist you in all your aspirations!

For folks with Type One Diabetes, an integral part of daily life is monitoring blood sugar levels. Luckily, by using the Continuous Glucose Monitor (or CGM for short), this task has never been easier. The CGM has revolutionized the way blood sugar levels can be checked. By simply sticking the sensor on their arm or stomach and connecting the monitor to their phone, people can check their blood sugar at any time, and in any place!

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