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.
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.
Quitting When You Are Ready - Tips on kicking the smoking habit
Here is the bad news: each year, smoking causes more deaths than alcohol, suicide, homicide, fires, illegal drugs and AIDS combined. One out of two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. Smokers are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers. Smoking is linked to lung cancer, lung diseases such as emphysema, impotence, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and lower birth weights for babies born to mothers who smoke.
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.
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.
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.