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Active Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
A Healthy Balance
Ankle Sprains
Active Kids, Healthy Kids
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Children, Nutrition & Exercise
Beat the Heat!
Cold Comfort
Cold Weather Workouts
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Core Stability
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Exercise is Medicine
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Exercising in Pregnancy
Female Athletes
FITT Prescription
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From Surviving to Thriving
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Get Moving!
Get Motivated
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Jump Start Weight Loss
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Live Actively
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Prehistoric Workout
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7 Wonders of Walking
Adolescent Health
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Acne
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Chronic Diseases in Teens
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First Period
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Junior High
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A Woman's Physical
Your First Job
Youth Violence
Ask the Doctor
Bone Density Testing
My Doctor Says I Need a Test
Childbirth
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advice from the Maternity Clinic
Advice from the Maternity Clinic (Part 2)
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Building a Better Baby
Birthing Etiquette
Birth Plans
Birthing Procedure Trends
Bleeding in Pregnancy
Breastfeeding Benefits
Caesarean Section by Request
Care for the New Mother
Cord Blood Banking
Delaying Motherhood
Blue after Baby or Postpartum Depression
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Eating Well for Pregnancy
Evolving Ideas about Pregnancy and Birth
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Flying During Pregnancy
Folic Acid in Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Getting a latch on breastfeeding
Group B Streptococcus
Induction of Labour
Infections During Pregnancy
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
In-Vitro Fertilization
Low Birth Weight Babies
Medication & Pregnancy
Miscarriage
Managing Your Own Labour
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Nausea & Vomiting in Pregnancy
Pain Relief in Labour
Prenatal Classes
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Planning a Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight
Prenatal Care Providers
Postpartum Repetitive Strain Injuries
RH Disease
Rupture of Membranes Before Labour
Sex During Pregnancy
Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
Ultrasound for Fun & Photos
Natural Remedies in Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight Gain
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Vacuum & Forceps for Delivery
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
When Baby Comes Home
Childhood
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Asthma in Children
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Choosing A Babysitter
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Daytime Wetting
Introducing Solid Foods
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Feeding Your Baby
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How Children Grow
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Children and Sports Injuries
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Not Just Baby Fat
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Preparing for Lab Tests
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Red Rashes
RSV-Childhood Respiratory Virus
Safe Summer Fun
School
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Sick Toddler
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Travelling with Children
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Vaccinations
Vaccination and Autism
When to go to the Doctor
Whooping Cough
Worried Sick
Yeast Infections in Children
Chronic Pain
Full Listing with story descriptions
Introduction
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
Moving Forward
Nutrition
Opioids
Pacing
Pain Medications
Prevention
Returning to Work
Understanding and Goal Setting
When Pain Doesn't End
Dental Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Antibiotics and Dental Surgery
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Teeth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Children's Dental Injuries
Choosing a Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Guards
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Dental Care Offshore
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Dentures and Healthy Jaw
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Fluoride
Fluoride Findings
First Dental Visit
Headaches
A Healthy Mouth
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Jaw Joint and Muscle Problems
Keeping it Clean
Laser Use in Dentistry
Mouth Protection Equipment
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Healthcare
Oral health and long term care
Oral Health Care Products
Orthodontics
Orthodontist First Visit
Painless Dentistry
Periodontal Disease
Removable Dentures
Root Canal
Seniors Oral Care
Sensitive Teeth
The Smile You Want
Sore Mouth, Aching Jaw
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Smiling through the Senior Years
Teeth for Life
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
Tongue Piercing
Tooth Whitening
Travel Dentistry
Water Fluoridation
Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
DIABETES
Full Listing with story descriptions
10,000 Steps
A1C Test
Accurate Blood Glucose Testing
Alchohol and Diabetes
A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
Artery Health
ASA Therapy
Benefits of Insulin
Benefits of Breakfast
Blood Glucose Medications
Blood Glucose Myths
Blood Glucose Testing
Blood Glucose Testing Tips
Blood Sugar Lows
Blood Glucose Monitors
C-Peptide Testing
Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Celebrating Health
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
Colds and Diabetes
Constipation
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Dangers of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Debunking Diabetes Myths
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Celiac
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes Diet
Diabetes Distress
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
Diabetes Etiquette
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and Thyroid Disease
Diabetes and Your Mouth
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes Management ABCs
Diabetes Meter Technicians
Diabetes Myths
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out
Drinking and Diabetes
The Discovery of Insulin
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eating Well During Shift Work
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Excuses
Why Fad Diets Fail
Fats
Fibre
Fill Your Day with Energy
Food Temptation
Foot Care
Footwear and Foot Health
Fruits and Veggies
Gastroparesis
Gestational Diabetes
Get Active
Get Physical
Gift Ideas
Glucose Meters
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads
The Glycemic Index
Going Green in the Kitchen
Grocery Shopping Tips
Guidelines for Diabetes Management
Holiday Party Survival Guide
Health Information on the 'Net
Healthy Happy Holidays
Healthy Beverage Choices
Health Benefits of Soy
Healthy Restaurant Meals
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
High Blood Lipids
Home from the Hospital
Home Alone and Sick
Hypoglycemic Unawareness
Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Immunization & Diabetes
Incretins-a Hormone Treatment
Injecting Insulin
Insulin Discovery-The Story
Insulin
Insulin Handling
Insulin - the Key to Energy Management
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Pen Needles
Insulin Pump Infusion Sets
Insulin Pump Therapy
Immunization and Diabetes
Internet Health Sites
Islet Cell Transplantation
Insurance
Ketones
Keep Cholesterol in Check
Kidney Disease - Reducing the Risk
Living with Diagnosis of Diabetes
Living Powerfully with Diabetes
Low Blood Glucose
Managing Diabetes
Managing Blood Glucose
Metformin
Nutrition Food Labels
Meal Planning
Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
Metabolic Syndrome
Microalbuminuria
New Diabetes Technologies
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
Natural Health Products
No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Over-the-Counter Medications
Oral Health and Diabetes
Osteoporosis and Diabetes
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Pedicure Precautions
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Pet Diabetes
Planning for Pregnancy
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Preparing for Activity
Putting off Insulin
Reducing Stress of Surgery
Safe and Successful Travel
Schizophrenia and Diabetes
Sensible Snacking
Setting Health Goals
Setting Goals for Physical Activity
Sharps Disposal
Shorter Insulin Needles
Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
Snacking with Diabetes
Sodium
Social Media & Diabetes
Solving the Insurance Puzzle
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
Supplements
Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
Sweeteners
Sugar, Carbs and Blood Glucose Control
Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Travelling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes Medications
Understanding Ketones
Used Sharps
Urinary Incontinence
Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
Vitamin D
Walking
Wise Choices About Natural Medicines
Wonderful Water
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
World Diabetes Day
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
Full Listing with story descriptions
ADHD in Children
Allergic Rhinitis
Allergies
Antibiotic Use
Arthritis
Aspirin Every Day?
Asthma
Back Pain
Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
Birth Control
Bladder Problems
Blood Transfusions
Breaast and Prostate Cancer Screening
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Check-Up
Colon Cancer Screening
Contact Lenses
Contraception
COPD
Cost of Doctor's Visit
Diabetes Management
Diarrhea
Diagnostic Tests
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
Doctor Visit
Driving Vision
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Dealing with Dry Eyes
Does My Sore Knee Require an MRI?
Do I Need an Annual Physical?
Eczema
Electronic Medical Records
Epilepsy
Eye Exam
Family Doctor
Fibromyalgia
Floaters and Flashes
Food Poisoning
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
Gallbladder
Get Active!
Glare
Headaches
Healthcare Teams
Heart Health
Hemorrhoids
Hepatitis C
Human Papilloma Virus
High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure Risks
How to Talk to Your Doctor
Hypothyroidism
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Joint Replacement Surgery
Kidney Disease
Lazy Eye Blindness (Amblyopia)
Medical Digital Technology
Migraine
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Opioid Myths
Primary Healthcare Reform
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Red Eyes
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Restore Your Core
Rosacea
Screening Tests
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Special Diagnostic Tests
Stopping Stroke
Stroke
Superbugs
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Vaccination Controversies (ask the doctor)
Win by Losing
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
First Aid
Full Listing with story descriptions
Bites and Stings
Burns
Choking
Cuts and Scrapes
Emergency Care Guidelines
Eye Injuries
Fainting and Convulsions
First Aid Travel Kit
Hypothermia and Frostbite
Nosebleeds
Poisoning - Household
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Growing Older
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advance Care Plans
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Alzheimer Disease
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Building Strength
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Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
Cholesterol
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Controlling Medications
C.O.P.D.
Delirium
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Eating Well
Elder Abuse
Exercise Benefits
Erectile Dysfunction
Eye Care
Eyesight and Driving
Feet
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Get Active!
Glaucoma
Grief
Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Hearing
Incontinence
Joint Replacement
Lab Tests
Living Longer With Diabetes
Macular Degeneration
Male Menopause (Andropause)
Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
Memory Loss
New Corneal Treatments
Nutrition for Seniors
Osteoarthritis
Osteoporosis
Parkinson Disease
Problem Gambling
Prostate Health
Retirement
Seniors and Medications
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Sexually Transmitted Infections
Screening Tests
Seniors and Driving
Sleeplessness
Skin Structure
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Skin Over 50
Solving Sleep Issues
Staying Healthy
Stroke Prevention
Travel Tips for Snowbirds
Wills and Personal Directives
Modern Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
Abuse
Acupuncture
Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
Antidepressants
Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
Binge Drinking
Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Pesticides
Depression
Diabetes Epidemic
Discipline
Diseases from Pets
Downsizing
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Grief
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Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Humidex
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Ice Safety
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Lymphedema
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Schizophrenia
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Soy
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Sunburn
Sunglasses
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Unplugging
Whiplash
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Nutrition
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
Fat Phobias
Fats & Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits & Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Probiotics
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
Full Listing with story descriptions
After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biologics
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
Cold Relief
Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
Erectile Dysfunction
Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heartburn
Heart Health
Insomnia
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Obesity Medication
Over-the-Counter Drugs
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
Quit Smoking
Skin and Cosmeceuticals
Sports & Nutrition Supplements
Sunscreen
Taking Medication
Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Viagra
Vitamin D
Yeast Infections
Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
Prevention
Full Listing with story descriptions
Accident Prevention
Alcohol
Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bedbugs
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Caffeine
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
E-cigarettes
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
Injury Prevention
Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
Meningitis
Norovirus
Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
Sun Safety
Surviving Disaster
Sushi Preparation
Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
Vision Damage
Water Wisdom
West Nile Disease
Whooping Cough
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Anemia
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Cystitis
Endometriosis
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Fibroids
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The IUD
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menopause
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Osteoporosis
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
Vaginitis
Varicose Veins
Viagra for Women
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor
Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
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Family Health Magazine - CHILDHOOD

Vaccinations
A safe way to guard against serious illness

Vaccination has long been proven to prevent disease. This old medical practice has been expanded greatly in recent years. The famous English doctor, Edward Jenner, developed the first vaccine in the late 18th century. Jenner noticed that milkmaids who caught cowpox did not catch smallpox, a common and very terrible disease in those days. From that observation, he went on to develop a method of vaccinating people against smallpox using cowpox materials.

His process was refined over the next two centuries, but the vaccine is still based on the same principle. Even today, the smallpox vaccine uses a related virus, not the actual smallpox virus.

The smallpox vaccine was very effective. In the 1960s a joint effort to protect every person on the planet was launched by the United Nations and World Health Organization. This worked so well that there have been no cases of naturally occurring smallpox in 25 years. The vaccine has not been given routinely in North America for almost 30 years, although the terrorist threat may soon change that.

Other vaccines were developed during the 150 years after the discovery of the smallpox vaccine. The most important to Canadians were diphtheria (widely used since 1930), tetanus and whooping cough. The first two protected against serious, though fairly uncommon diseases.

Whooping cough, however, was very common. It causes a long lasting and serious cough, often accompanied by vomiting. Sick children may cough for up to six weeks. Any parent who had a child affected remembered it for years afterwards. The first vaccine became less effective over time and had more side effects than the new version introduced in the past few years. Even this one does not protect everyone, so the disease continues to circulate in our country.

The polio vaccine

Another major success for vaccination came about 50 years ago. Between 1950 and 1952, every child’s summer cold caused parents terrible fear. Polio often begins with headache and a sore throat, and then sometimes transforms into a paralytic disease. Many thousands of children were horribly afflicted. There was nothing medicine could do to help if they became ill. Even today, there are only treatments for the symptoms of the small numbers of people who do catch polio. There are no effective treatments after the disease takes hold. Early in the 1950s, Dr. Jonas Salk developed a safe and effective vaccine to prevent polio.

Many adults over the age of 50 will remember when whole schools lined up for vaccinations. It was nearly unheard-of for anyone to refuse a shot, because everyone knew how horrible the disease could be.

Within a few years, the number of new cases dropped greatly. The wards filled with patients in ‘iron lungs’ gradually emptied. Yet today, some people are still visibly affected. Their wasted and poorly functioning arms and legs continue to remind them of their bout with polio.

Work on polio vaccines did not stop there. Within a few years, another vaccine had been produced. It could be taken by mouth, was very effective, and soon replaced the original vaccine.

The two vaccines used different approaches to stimulate the body’s immune (defence) system. Salk used a technique where polio virus was killed and processed to provide material to stimulate the immune system. The oral form, made by Dr. Sabin, used what is called an attenuated live virus to stimulate the immune system. In this process, the virus is changed in the lab so it will make the immune system react, while almost never causing the disease.

These two techniques are still the basis of many vaccines, though newer technologies are being used with some diseases. The techniques are all very effective against viruses and bacteria that are genetically stable. Fortunately, most organisms causing disease in people are stable and do not change their characteristics much over time.

In the few cases where there is change, it is difficult to create a vaccine that is effective for any length of time. For instance, influenza is an unstable virus and we need to produce a new vaccine each year. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is another example. An effective vaccine has not yet been created, even with intense efforts for more than 15 years.

Today’s childhood vaccinations

Since the 1950s, more vaccines have been developed. In the 1960s, vaccines were introduced for some of the most common and troublesome childhood illnesses.

Measles was very common in school-age children until the vaccine was introduced. Symptoms of measles include high fever, a whole body rash, and eyes that are very sensitive to light. In well-nourished children, the usual result is a sick and cranky youngster for a few days. Usually there are only a small number of more permanent injuries and only a tiny number of deaths.Some may develop an illness that affects their brains and eventually they die several months or years after the first illness. A small number of children die as a direct result of the disease.

Since the vaccine has been so successful, few doctors under 40 years of age have ever seen a measles rash firsthand. At one time some people thought there might be a link between the measles vaccine and autism in children but this has been disproven.

Mumps was a disease that commonly infected young children. The most obvious symptom in this disease is a painfully swollen parotid gland, a salivary gland just in front of the ear. In healthy youngsters, the number of victims with serious problems is very small. However, males who catch it after reaching puberty can suffer serious problems. After puberty, the virus can affect the testicles. When these swell, the pain is very severe. Worse, the testicles may be so damaged that they cannot make sperm after the mumps infection.

Rubella is the third part of the common measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and came into wide use in the mid-1980s. Often known as German Measles, Rubella causes a mild illness and faint rash. Although rubella is not often significant for the affected person, in some women arthritis can be a result.

However, if the disease affects a pregnant woman, the results can be terrible for her baby. Many infected women lose their pregnancy. Those who do deliver a baby often find their child has severe handicaps. The risk is greatest if she is infected in the first three months of pregnancy, but there is some risk throughout pregnancy.
An intense screening and vaccination program ensures all young women who are or might become pregnant are immune to rubella. The program has all but ended the horrible toll once exacted by this virus.

Vaccination for all three of these diseases is done routinely today. However, timing is critical. Some of the shots are very much less effective if given at too young an age. For example, measles vaccine must be given after 12 months of age. If the vaccine is given earlier, it has a relatively poor effect. Many of these children will not develop long-lasting immunity (protection). Even those who receive it between the recommended ages of 12 to 18 months may have a weak response. To ensure a really effective response, a booster dose is now given to children just before they enter school (four and a half to five and a half years of age). These efforts have been so effective that there are almost no cases of this disease now.

By 1990, a fairly standard set of childhood vaccines existed. Babies were vaccinated against diphtheria, whooping cough (Pertussis) and tetanus in their first year. In their second year, children received vaccines against measles, mumps, and rubella. Polio vaccine was given by mouth while they were still young. A booster dose of tetanus vaccine was given at about age 14.

Significant advances

In the last decade, there have been some dramatic changes. New disease threats have been seen in Canada. New vaccines to protect against a variety of diseases have become available.

Hepatitis B was always common in less developed countries but rare in Canada. However, over the past few decades, it has gradually become more common here. Since it can cause long-term, serious disease, school children are now vaccinated against it.

Vaccines can now protect children from infections by bacteria known as haemophilus influenza type B (HIB) and pneumococcus. These cause a mild disease in many children, which goes away on its own. However, these bacteria occasionally cause terrible diseases like meningitis in susceptible children. Due to the severe illness that some children get, most children now receive the vaccine for these diseases.

A vaccine has recently been developed for chicken pox. This is another common childhood illness that involves a great deal of discomfort, but rarely causes serious illness. However, some cases do cause enough suffering that it justifies giving the vaccine to children. This vaccine is now provided routinely in some provinces.

A variety of other vaccines exist in addition to the routine shots. These are available for those who may be travelling or otherwise at risk of getting a specific disease. These illnesses include Hepatitis A and yellow fever.

Health departments also make certain vaccines available when there is an outbreak of a disease in a specific area. Alberta’s meningitis vaccination program during the last few years is one example.

The exact order of vaccinations that are given changes, as newer and more effective ones are developed. Different provinces also have some differences in the vaccines routinely made available for children. The nearest Public Health office will have details on the most current programs.

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FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written
with the assistance of
The College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
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