Accident Prevention: The Mission Possible Partnership -
a sure cure for accidents
Imagine! A proven vaccine that can reduce the number and seriousness of motor vehicle collisions. A vaccine, available at no cost, that can be easily and painlessly administered in mobile clinics across the country. In spite of the obvious benefits of the immunization program, would many people refuse this simple and effective treatment? Probably and unfortunately, the answer is yes.
Alcohol and Your Health - Are there benefits from a drink or a glass of wine?
Alcoholic beverages are an important part of many cultures and economies. In some cultures, they are taken regularly with meals and are a part of religious ceremonies. Other cultures forbid the use of alcohol. Just as there are varying attitudes about alcohol among different cultures, there are varying opinions about alcohol and its effects on health. While drinking may be an activity we enjoy, it can be difficult to know which habits may be good for us and which are unhealthy.
Antibiotic Resistance - Protect the effectiveness of life-saving srugs
Antibiotics are one of the greatest medical and public health discoveries of the twentieth century. First discovered in the 1940s, they make surgery safer and prevent countless childhood deaths. We have come to rely on antibiotics. What would happen if they no longer worked?
Are Pesticides Safe? Reducing the risk
Pesticides are any materials that control pests. They can be used against weeds, fungi, insects, rodents or algae. Over the past few years, some provincial and municipal governments in Canada have banned certain pesticides. Many people wonder if pesticides are safe for use, as they are allowed in certain provinces and territories but not in others. A recent survey in Edmonton showed that pesticides are one of the top environmental health concerns among parents and health care providers. By understanding the benefits, regulations, and potential risks of pesticide use, you can learn how to minimize risk.
Backpacks Can be a Pain for School Kids
Once thought unusual, back pain in children and adolescents has become quite common. A backpack loaded with heavy books is often to blame. In addition to considering the load and design of a backpack, a child’s physical fitness, and physical maturation are important factors to consider. Children and teenagers are particularly at risk for injury. Since kids are still growing and developing, excessive load can lead to poor positioning and increased tension on muscles and other supporting structures which can lead to acute injury or long-term chronic health problems.
Bacteria Fight Back - The scary facts about antibiotic resistance
Around the world, concern is growing about bacteria that are able to overcome the drugs used to fight them. For the last 70 years, antibiotic treatment of infections caused by bacteria has greatly reduced illness and death. However, bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics used to treat pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and skin infections. This means fewer antibiotics are able to treat deadly bacteria.
Bedbugs - don't let them bite!
In recent years, the number of reports of bedbugs across Canada has been growing. Bedbugs have been a common problem for centuries. However, improved cleanliness and the use of pesticides since World War II had reduced their numbers. We do not know the reason for the recent increase of bedbugs. It may be related to less pesticide use and increased global travel.
Bug Off! - Protecting yourself from insects
Bugs are all around us. If you have heard news stories about disease spread by insects, this may concern you. Most recently, West Nile fever and Lyme disease have been featured in the media. In other parts of the world, malaria, chikungunya, Zika, dengue fever, and yellow fever are possibilities. Insects and arachnids cause about one in seven infections the world over, and kill more than 700,000 people every year.
Preventing and Treating Burns - first aid skills make a difference
Burns are a leading cause of injury in the home. Young children and the elderly are especially at risk of being burned. Most burns in the home can be prevented. Severe burns can be life threatening. If you suspect a severe burn, get medical attention immediately.
Caffeine's risks and benefits - What's the Scoop?
Caffeine’s ability to stimulate and keep us awake is no secret. Rapidly absorbed by the body, caffeine acts on the brain in many ways. It increases energy and alertness as well as postponing sleep. Many studies have been done on ways that caffeine affects health. Considering how many of us use caffeine regularly, it is useful to know its risks and benefits.
Can I Catch Something From My Pet? Healthy habits can protect you from disease
Most Canadians are in contact with animals, be they pets, farm animals or those in the wild. Have you ever wondered if animals could affect your health? Infections or diseases that can be passed from an animal to a person are known as zoonotic diseases or zoonoses. Rabies is one of the most well-known examples and also one of the most dangerous. Most zoonotic diseases are less harmful than rabies and can be avoided through clean habits. However, children and anyone else who is unaware of these diseases may take unnecessary risks.
Cellphones and Driving - Don't make that call
Over the past ten years, no less than 160 scientific studies and reviews have been done around the world that point to the dangers of cellphone use while driving. Those who use cellphones while driving are four to six times more likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions. This is true whether the driver uses a hand-held or hands-free cellphone. Problems with drivers using cellphones become more pronounced as traffic density increases.
Cancer Prevention - Tips to reduce your risk
Most Canadians know someone who has had cancer and many have faced the disease themselves. About 130,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease in 2001. Survival rates continue to improve as better diagnosis and treatment methods are developed.
Chronic Disease Prevention - the role of physical activity
Mei, Carol and Jane’s stories illustrate the physical activity and health profiles of many women of the same age. They are concerned about chronic diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease, and conditions such as obesity. The many ways these women include or exclude physical activity in daily life is shown in their stories. The activities chosen and variety in how often they are done are fairly common in our population.
The Cold and Flu Season - can you prevent Illness?
Influenza (the flu) and colds are caused by viruses. The flu differs from the common cold in severity, as the flu can knock you off your feet. People with colds rarely get high fevers, headaches, or suffer from the extreme exhaustion that flu viruses cause. People with colds more often have stuffy, running noses and sore throats.
Disaster Planning - How to prepare for an emergency
Imagine a disaster that strikes without warning, changing your community forever. A chemical spill triggers the evacuation of a neighborhood or an entire town. Your town is affected by raging wildfires. Your community is flooded. A tornado cuts through your city. Terrorism is also a possibility. Whatever the event may be, no one is immune from the threat of disaster.
E-Cigarettes - Is vaping a safer way to smoke?
The fact that fewer Canadians are smoking cigarettes these days may suggest that we are making healthier choices. However, alternative products that deliver nicotine are being used more often. Many people think of alternatives like electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as being relatively safe. E-cigarettes come in a variety of attractive forms, flavours and sizes. Still, is this product actually better for your health than using a traditional cigarette?
Farm Safety for City Kids - Make certain your farm memories are happy ones
Very few things match the excitement and adventure of a visit to the farm. Many of us recall wonderful visits from our own childhood. Did you ever try to milk a cow? Why wouldn't any milk come out? Remember Popcorn, the old gray pony? We would climb up and over and under – she wouldn't move a muscle. It is natural to want our children to grow up with similar memories.
Foodborne Illness - was it something I ate?
Foodborne illness, often called food poisoning, strikes about two million Canadians and costs society over $1 billion each year. Since only about one in 25 cases is reported, it is hard to know the total effect. Many people pass symptoms off as ‘stomach flu.’ At one time or another, all of us have probably had a foodborne illness. Symptoms may be mild and disappear in a few hours or days. In severe cases, a stay in hospital may be needed. It can even be fatal, especially in the very young and the elderly.
Focus on the Road - It's the Law!
Another weekday morning, and you are late for work. As you drive, you send a text message to a co-worker, skim the newspaper headlines, and program music on your MP3 player. Many people find this kind of multi-tasking behind the wheel saves time. Unfortunately, it also puts lives at risk.
The Flu and You - After the H1N1 pandemic
The World Health Organization has declared the 2009 H1N1 pandemic to be largely over. Now, attention is turning to the current fall and winter influenza season. Every year, tens of thousands of Canadians fall ill with influenza. Many die. While last year was a unique 'pandemic' year, we expect that the 2010/11 season will be like previous years. With this in mind, reviewing prevention measures can help us to stay healthy.
Growing Too Big - what parents should know about childhood obesity
Almost every day, you can find news stories about the 'epidemic of obesity' in North America and the health consequences of expanding waistlines. While the media often focus on adults, our children are following the same path. Many 'adult' chronic diseases are now being diagnosed in overweight children.
Advice on dealing with obesity is plentiful - but often conflicting. Parents are confused about how to recognize or prevent extra weight in their kids. It can be difficult to know how to help.
Planning Ahead for the H1N1 Virus - What you should do
1. If you’re otherwise healthy with mild illness – stay at home when sick
2. Those with chronic illnesses, having severe symptoms, pregnant women and babies under six months should get medical evaluation and antivirals if prescribed
3. Get vaccinated... twice seasonal and H1N1 shots)
4. Be prepared
5. Stay informed
Heading home for a visit - Safeguard your health while travelling
Canadian immigrants often return to their home countries to visit family and friends. In 2010, this group of travellers accounted for 17 percent of international visits made from Canada. Referred to as visiting friends and relatives (VFRs), they are at a higher risk of illnesses related to travel compared to other travellers.
Health Tips for Snowbirds - staying healthy in warmer climates
In Western Canada we know that winters can be long and harsh. Just as birds head south for warmer climates before winter settles in, many of us feel the urge to escape to warmer areas when winter is most intense. Some go south so often in the winter that they are known as "snowbirds".
Hearing Loss and Music Players - The Sound of Silence
For the last few decades, it has been easy to carry our favourite music along with us. The current MP3 player is just the latest version of almost-forgotten portable devices like cassette and CD players. Newer players are smaller, cheaper and longer lasting, and can be filled with vast quantities of audio on demand. Ear bud-type headphones that sit in the ear canal allow us to tune in without disturbing those nearby. As a result, portable music players can used almost anywhere by people of all ages around the world. However, modern players can operate at very high volumes, posing a threat to hearing. Any noise has the potential to cause permanent hearing loss, if it is loud and listened to for long enough.
Household Mould - The unwanted guest that can make you sick
Moulds are part of our everyday lives. They are useful as sources of antibiotics such as penicillin, and in making some cheeses. However, mould can be a problem if it grows indoors. Visible mould growth indoors occurs in up to a third of Canadian homes. The commonly found moulds in homes include Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium.
Infection Control in the Home
Bacteria and viruses are all around us. They are responsible for most infections, though fungi and parasites are less common causes. Bacterial and viral organisms can be found in soil, water and food, on skin and in body fluids, and on pets and objects in our environment. Most are harmless. A small number of bacteria and viruses are a risk to all people. Others are a risk only for certain people, including pregnant women, the very young or very old, or those whose immune (defence) system does not work as well as it should. Taking certain simple precautions greatly reduces the spread of these germs.
Preparing for an Influenza Epidemic – Self-care during a crisis
Each winter, we anticipate cold weather, snow – and flu season. Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by a virus. These viruses have the ability to change themselves from year to year, and so can cause outbreaks every winter.
Injury Prevention - much ado about something
Stephen, 20 years old, is driving his truck home from a friend's party on a Saturday night. He's had a few drinks but assures himself that any effect of the alcohol has worn off by now. He is not wearing his seatbelt. He thinks it is too uncomfortable and there is little chance that the cops will be checking for seatbelts at this hour.
Keeping Your Kids Mentally Healthy - parents can make a difference
When it comes to protecting our children's health, preventing illness and avoiding accidents come to mind first. Good mental health is often overlooked. By teaching our children resiliency and allowing them to grow in a secure environment, we give them the tools they need to stay mentally healthy throughout life.
Keys to Preventing Cancer - Your choices make a difference
Cancer. It’s a difficult disease, and no one wants to be diagnosed with it. With this condition, abnormal cells in the body grow out of control. About one in four Canadians will die of cancer.
Low Birth Weight Babies - why little babies can have big problems
"How much did your baby weigh?" A mother often hears this question when her baby is born. Babies are weighed shortly after birth to help make certain that they are healthy. Low birth weight (LBW) babies weigh less than 2500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces). Very low birth weight babies (VLBW) weigh less than 1500 grams (3.3 pounds). Low birth weight can mean health problems for life. Happily, learning more about the condition may help in avoiding it.
Norovirus - how to cope with 'stomach flu'
Norovirus is an extremely infectious disease that affects the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal system). Often referred to as 'stomach flu,' it spreads easily because the virus creates many copies of itself within the body. Outbreaks usually happen where people live in confined spaces. It occurs only in humans, and is found all over the world. Many countries have programs that monitor this disease.
Out on the Water - follow the rules of boating safety
Every time you go out on the water, you could be in for more adventure than you expect. It is always best to be prepared. Boating is the leading activity contributing to water-related deaths. Immersion in the water is always sudden and unexpected. Three-quarters of fatal boating incidents involve capsizing, swamping or falling overboard. Following safety guidelines can help you enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer of fun on the water.
Preventing Cancer - Your choices make a difference
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Canada. Second only to cardiovascular diseases, it accounts for nearly 30 per cent of deaths. This means that each of us has almost a one in three chance of dying from causes related to cancer. However, healthy behaviours and choices can reduce the odds.
Preventing Burns and Scalds - take action to keep your children safe
More Canadian children are seriously burned by hot liquids than are injured and killed by house fires. Scalds, or hot liquid burns, are the number one type of burns that result in children coming to the Emergency Department and Hospital Burn Unit.
Preventing Meningitis - an infectious disease that mostly occurs in children
Meningitis has been in the headlines often lately. Since this disease often strikes the young and early diagnosis is critical, parents want to know what signs to watch for in a sick child. Although meningitis can happen at any age, it is more common in children, especially those under five. The risk of getting the disease is higher for people with diabetes, alcoholism or those without a spleen. Also at risk are those with damaged immune systems and those who have had recent brain surgery.
Quit Smoking 101 - keys to success
Most of us know that smoking is a bad habit. What’s more, it can have a devastating effect on health. When a doctor asks whether you smoke, there is a reason (see sidebar on page 23). Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the world. Smoking increases the risk of having most major medical diseases. Not only does smoking harm you, it can also hurt those around you. The good news is that it is never too late to quit.
A Rainbow on Your Table - preventing cancer through good nutrition
Cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Canada for men and women, and one in three Canadians will develop the disease. Certain cancers appear to run in families, but account for only five per cent of deaths related to cancer. However, 30 to 40 per cent of deaths related to cancer are linked to poor diet, unhealthy body weight and inactive lifestyle.
Respiratory Infections - a major cause of illness and death
Respiratory infections are a huge cause of illness and death all over the world. In Canada, pneumonia and influenza together are the leading cause of death from infectious diseases and the sixth leading cause of death overall. There are two groups of respiratory infections. Upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold, are generally mild. They last less than a week and seldom result in complications. Lower respiratory infections, such as croup, bronchitis and pneumonia, can be serious.
Seniors and STIs - An issue for anyone who is sexually active
Many of us think of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, as only a concern for the young. It is true that in Canada, those under age 30 are most likely to contract STIs. However, infections have begun to increase in people over age 40, including seniors.
Should You Immunize? - Debunking the myths
Immunization is one of the greatest success stories in modern medicine. Today, parents and children can feel safe from diseases that once threatened millions of people. However, many diseases that can be prevented by vaccines still exist. They can still harm anyone who has not been immunized. The need for routine immunization is as great as ever.
Sun Safety - A little protection goes a long way
Over the last few decades, we have learned that too much sun can age skin and lead to cancer. Damage is the same whether it comes from a tanning booth or the sun itself. Like the link between smoking and lung cancer, years can pass between the start of the activity and developing cancer.
Surviving Disaster - are you prepared for an emergency?
Is it just our imagination, or is the world becoming a more dangerous place to live? Tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, ice storms, huge forest fires and terrorist attacks have all made recent headlines. It seems not a week goes by without bad news from some part of the world grabbing our attention. If you think things are getting worse, you aren’t being paranoid. They are worse for several reasons.
Sushi Preparation - Tips for safely preparing this delicacy at home
Sushi is a popular choice on restaurant menus across Canada, and varies from traditional Japanese fare to fusion cooking. Not only do Canadians enjoy sushi when eating out, but many people are also preparing it at home. This healthy food choice is high in protein and low in fat, and the colourful arrangements can be tempting. However, before you try preparing sushi, keep a few health and safety points in mind.
Teens, Drugs and Driving - ‘Under the influence’ includes drug use
Like most parents, you have probably talked to your kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. How about drugs and driving? Over the past twenty years, drinking and driving campaigns have made that dangerous behavior socially unacceptable. Most teens know not to get in a car after drinking, or with an impaired driver. Your teens will call you if they need a ride home. However, the latest growing trend for teens is to smoke a joint and grab the car keys.
Ten Risky Habits that can Damage Your Vision
Vision is a precious asset, yet it can be easily damaged. Take a look at the following risk list to see whether you are caring properly for your sight.
Travel Medicine 101 - are you prepared to hit the road?
As international travel becomes more common, travellers are exposed to a variety of health risks in unfamiliar environments. Whether planning a business trip, a family vacation or a honeymoon, thinking ahead can reduce the risk.
Travel to the Sun - health tips for visiting Mexico, the Caribbean and Arizona
You've booked your dream vacation and look forward to sun, sand and fun. But have you thought about the health risks? Even at a fancy resort, you can get sick or injured. Tourists seeking adventure in remote areas face even more hazards. The key is to visit a travel health specialist before your trip to get the vaccines, medicines and advice you need to stay healthy. Travel health specialists are trained to help travellers who may encounter exotic illnesses. Most Canadian cities have clinics offering these services.
Type 2 Diabetes - Can it be prevented?
In Canada, the number of people living with diabetes is increasing. It affects 2.4 million people (almost seven per cent of our population). Twenty per cent of those have not been diagnosed. Estimates suggest 3.7 million Canadians may develop diabetes by 2019. About 90 to 95 per cent of all diabetes cases are type 2.
Water Smarts - prevent and avoid drowning
Every summer, we flock to the water to cool off, swim, play, fish and go boating. Each year more than 500 Canadians of all ages die in unintentional, water-related incidents. Knowing the facts about water safety, learning three simple skills, and making smart choices in, on and around the water are all essential. Armed with this knowledge, you and your family can enjoy the water – safely.
Water Wisdom - being prepared can avert tragedy
There will probably be about 600 drownings in Canada this year, if statistics hold true. Of this total, about one in five (20 per cent) will be watercraft related. This includes falling out of boats, overturned canoes and water skiing accidents. Most shocking is the fact that most of the victims will not be wearing life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFD). Those who do wear a life jacket or PFD often will use the wrong size or fail to tie it properly, making it useless in a real emergency. We also know that approximately two of five (40 per cent) of adult drownings, and up to 60 per cent of boating related drowings result from people being impaired by either alcohol or drugs.
West Nile Virus - another reason to hate mosquitoes
You may have heard about West Nile virus from friends, television, magazines or newspapers. Why has this virus got everyone talking? Should you be worried for yourself or your family?
Whooping Cough - immunization can make a difference
It can be difficult to watch your small baby or child receive an immunization. However, it is harder to care for a sick child, or deal with the complications of illness, knowing that the illness could have been prevented. Whooping cough (pertussis) is a disease that we immunize against during the first six months of life. It is one of the most frequently reported diseases that can be prevented by immunization in Canada.
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Alcoholism can cause difficulties, accident or injury in almost any job or profession. Many years ago, as a student doctor in a small community, I worked with a surgeon who had a drinking problem. It was well known that after work hours, the surgeon was likely to be intoxicated. If an acute appendix came into the hospital during the day, he could be relied on to perform good surgery. However, after five o’clock any surgical cases had to be sent elsewhere. The local community accepted this, as they at least had a surgeon in town from nine to five.