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Don’t get spooked by H1N1

Something more frightening than ghosts and goblins may be lurking inthe shadows this Halloween when kids go door-to-door or dig into theircandy stash.

Something more frightening than ghosts and goblins may be lurking in the shadows this Halloween when kids go door-to-door or dig into their candy stash.

Doctors say crowded parties or communal candy bowls could potentially contribute to the spread of the H1N1 flu, but that with a little common sense children and parents should be able to avoid any unexpected scares.

Halloween isn’t typically known as an occasion where children spread illness more than any other time, but it does combine several key risk factors for spreading the flu, says Dr. Anne Matlow, director of infection prevention and control at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

“Crowds of kids ... the excitement of putting your hands in all that candy and just eating stuff as you go along and kids all crowded around the door,” she says. “You add it all up, it’s got the makings for something.” Matlow says first and foremost, kids who are not feeling well should stay home.

Children should avoid eating anything that is not wrapped. Attention should also be paid when children are allowed to reach into a bowl to pull out treats, because a virus on one child’s hand could end up on the candy and picked up by another child.

Handwashing or using hand sanitizer can cut down the risk, she says.

“When you come home and want to sort through your candies, you should first wash your hands.”

 
 
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