EDMONTON - Alberta's medical officer of health says a recent spike in the number of children with respiratory illness is pretty normal for this time of year.
Dr. James Talbot says Alberta tested 100 samples from children under 18 who were admitted to hospitals across the province in the first 10 days of September.
The results were that 71 had rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, while the rest were enteroviruses.
A type of enterovirus, called EV-D68, has been confirmed in 104 young people in 10 U.S. states, from mid August to Sept. 15.
Talbot says 18 of the 100 samples in Alberta were EV-D68, but further testing has to be done to see if it's the same strain as in the U.S.
He says they only tested for enterovirus because of the interest over the U.S. situation.
"Every year we have what we call a post-back-to-school respiratory spike and this year's been no exception," Talbot said Monday.
"It's so normal that Alberta Health Services plans for it and they've opened five peds (pediatric) ICU beds in case some of the hospital cases require it."
Talbot says there is no vaccine for enterovirus D-68 and the same steps are taken to reduce the spread of disease as for the influenza virus and colds.
"This is a good time to emphasize hand washing with the kids, make sure they cough into their elbow, and they discard soiled Kleenexes as soon as they used them," he said.
"Keep sick kids away from daycare and schools so they don't transmit the disease to others. If your child is doing well with rest and fluids and staying home from school and starts to feel better in two or three days, it's just your common common, garden-variety cold."
Talbot says if a child has asthma and gets what appears to be a cold, a parent should watch more closely and consult with a doctor if the asthma medication doesn't appear to be working.