Many of you have surely noticed our new logo at a growing number of our newly refreshed clinics throughout our network.
Press release – For immediate release
MONTREAL, November 10, 2022 – Montreal-based ELNA Medical (“ELNA”), Canada’s largest integrated network of medical clinics, announced today its acquisition of m-Health Solutions, a leading remote health diagnostics and monitoring solution for ambulatory patients since 2010.
Used by more than 4,300 physicians and specialists in over 60 hospitals and medical establishments across Ontario, m-Health Solutions provides ground-breaking in-home cardiac diagnostic and real-time monitoring systems. These include its wearable ECG technologies (Holter monitors), and a cloud-based AI-enabled reporting service that deliver faster results and a quicker treatment pathway for patients with cardiovascular diseases and other conditions, including sleep apnea.
“At ELNA we’re transforming the Canadian healthcare experience by making quality care not only accessible but convenient, when and where patients want it, through our three-pronged omnichannel ecosystem comprised of our 95 bricks and mortar clinics and points of care, virtual care offerings and innovative in-home solutions,” said Laurent Amram, President and Founder of ELNA Medical.
“Advanced technologies that keep patients and physicians connected are driving the future of healthcare. Our strategic acquisition of m-Health Solutions enables us to become a remote patient diagnostics and monitoring solutions leader, while looking to the future by providing new services that ensure better continuity of care, better data for treating physicians and ultimately better outcomes for patients,” added Laurent Amram.
ELNA’s acquisition of m-Health Solutions follows its investment earlier this year in virtual care provider MD Connected, a leading Ontario-based telemedicine services company connecting patients with medical practitioners via fully digital and human-assisted telemedicine clinics.
“ELNA shares our values and commitment to using technology to improve healthcare for patients and physicians alike. By joining forces, we will be in an even stronger position to continue providing the rapid, accurate and flexible diagnostics and monitoring that we have always prided ourselves on to an even larger number of patients nationally,” said Sandy Schwenger, CEO of m-Health Solutions.
“Improving the well-being of Canadians is at the heart of the National Bank’s core values. National Bank Private Equity was pleased to provide financial support to ELNA Medical for this significant transaction,” said Luc Ménard, Executive Vice-President, General Manager and Head of National Bank Private Investments.
CIBC Mid-Market Investment Banking acted as exclusive financial advisor to m-Health Solutions.
About ELNA Medical
ELNA Medical is Canada’s largest network of medical clinics. Serving more than 1.5 million Canadians every year, ELNA is transforming the future of healthcare delivery and continuity of care by building a seamlessly integrated omnichannel ecosystem. Always striving to improve and optimize access to quality care, ELNA empowers patients and practitioners by leveraging and building state-of-the-art technologies, with a focus on AI-powered systems, and strategic partnerships with global healthcare leaders to provide better outcomes for Canadians. ELNA combines its best-in-class medical offering with access to premier diagnostic services, thanks to its wholly owned subsidiary, CDL Laboratories, a leader in round-the-clock medical testing for more than three decades.
About m-Health Solutions
Since 2010, m-Health Solutions has been providing innovative cardiac monitoring technologies and cloud-based reporting services throughout Canada. Our evidence-based offerings focus on improving the patient monitoring experience while suppling better connected care which reduces wait times and hospitalization costs. Currently utilized by hospital networks and by more than 4,300 physicians and specialists across Ontario, our wearable ECG technologies allow patients full mobility to go about their daily routine, which dramatically improves patient compliance. Our cloud-based reporting services deliver faster results to facilitate a quicker treatment pathway.
If you’re like many Canadians, you consider your family doctor to be one of the most valuable resources you have when it comes to managing your health. But knowing how to talk to your doctor can help you get the most out of this vital relationship.
Making full use of a valuable resource: Your doctor
When it comes to staying healthy or living with a medical condition, your doctor is one of the most valuable resources you have. A recent survey of Canadians found that most consider their family doctor to be their major source of health information. But a visit to the doctor’s office is a wasted opportunity if you are uncomfortable bringing up your health concerns, if you don’t bring them up because you don’t think there’s enough time, or if you walk out of the office feeling like you and your doctor just had conversations in entirely different languages.
When you go to the doctor for a routine checkup, your doctor may use a variety of tests to monitor your health and disease risk factors and may also ask you about lifestyle factors such as exercise, smoking, and sexual activity. But your doctor isn’t a mind reader. Many medical problems don’t show themselves clearly in ten minutes seated in a room, and your doctor can only see and hear physical signs then and there, not how you feel or what has happened to you in the last few weeks.
So if you have any symptoms or health concerns, make sure to bring them up at your checkup. Or, if you aren’t due for a visit, schedule an appointment to discuss the specific issue at hand. Remember, your doctor is there to help or to refer you to someone who can.
And when it comes to discussing your concerns, don’t be afraid to speak up no matter how personal or private your problem may feel. Even if your problem is a sensitive one, chances are your doctor has heard it before. So rather than feeling embarrassed through your whole visit and then blurting out your concern as your doctor is wrapping up, broach the subject early so your doctor can understand how important your concern is to you and give the discussion the time it needs.
If your doctor is extremely busy or running behind and your appointment feels too rushed to have a meaningful discussion about your concerns, ask if you should schedule a follow-up visit to address the particular problem in greater depth. If a particular concern is extremely important and immediate, make sure it’s the first thing you discuss with your doctor. Making clear that an issue is a priority for you can go a long way towards getting it addressed during your visit. You can help to explain why a problem is a big concern to you by being specific about your symptoms and how they affect your life.
Just the facts: What your doctor should know
All sorts of things can affect your health, from your grandmother’s high blood pressure to the glass of wine you had with dinner last night. And accordingly, these are things your doctor should know in order to have the best possible understanding of the health risks you face and how to tailor your care.
Personal medical history
If you’ve been going to the same doctor for years, their records will likely reflect your health over the years. But if you’ve switched doctors or don’t have a regular family physician, it’s important that you keep a record of your health to ensure your doctor has an accurate understanding of your health over your lifetime.
If you’ve recently switched doctors, your former doctor’s office can help arrange to transfer your file, which will contain records from your physical exams and other visits, as well as lab results and other tests you may have had over the years. Your own records can also be helpful.
Before your visit, make a list of any major physical or mental conditions you may have had, the date you were diagnosed, and how you were treated. Your doctor should also be aware of any known food or drug allergies and any complications you may have experienced as the result of a medical condition or treatment. Don’t forget to mention if you are being treated by any other health care providers, including for mental health issues. You should also record any medications you may be using, including over-the-counter and herbal products, as well as your vaccination history.
Family medical history
Genetic factors play a role in the development of many conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, some types of cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many more. While having a family member who was diagnosed with a medical condition is no guarantee you will develop it too, it could raise your risk. That’s why a look back at your family’s medical history can be an important glimpse into your own health future.
Knowledge about any diseases or illnesses that may have affected members of your family can help your doctor to identify your own risks and, in turn, recommend lifestyle or medication changes and determine what diagnostic tests you may need.
A record of your family’s medical history should include a list of conditions that affected your immediate family members as well as their cause of death and age at death. Information on your grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and first cousins may all be relevant.
Lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity level, and drinking or smoking habits can all affect your disease risk as well as impact how particular medications affect you. As a result, it’s extremely important that you give your doctor an accurate portrayal of your own habits.
If your lifestyle isn’t always the healthiest, it may be tempting to gloss over the truth. But this is a clear case of honesty being the best policy – especially when it comes to risky behaviours such as smoking, overindulging in alcohol, or having unprotected sex with multiple partners. While your doctor may counsel you against such habits, it’s important for you to remember that they are doing so to help you stay your healthiest, not because they are judging you on how you live your life.
Arm yourself with information
You can help get the most out of your visit to the doctor’s office and play an active and involved role in your own well-being by being an informed patient. Arming yourself with knowledge has a number of benefits for both you and your doctor. It can help you to focus any questions you may have and can improve your understanding of what your doctor has to say.
But with so much health information out there, how can you tell what’s reliable?
There are a number of strategies you can use to try to sort facts from fiction:
Be as specific as possible. If you are looking online, a search for a common affliction could turn up thousands if not millions of results. But the more you refine your search using specific terms, the less information you will have to weed through.
Know who to count on. When it comes to the Internet, the myths may far outnumber the facts. So how can you tell which sites have got it right? Consider your sources. Medical associations, universities, hospitals, and disease-related societies often offer unbiased, reliable information. On the other hand, if an article seems to be pushing a particular product or remedy, it could be biased.
Understand the science. You don’t need to have a medical degree to know some key things to look for when it comes to assessing the reliability of a study. Credible studies should be published in a journal that requires a review by medical experts. How a study is designed also makes a difference. For example, when it comes to clinical studies assessing the effectiveness and safety of a medication, look for studies that are randomized, controlled and double-blind, and have a large study population. This means that subjects are randomly broken into at least two groups – one of which receives the treatment in question and another that receives the standard treatment or a placebo (inactive “sugar pill”) – and neither the treatment administrators nor the subjects know who is getting which treatment, so as not to influence the outcome.
Doctor’s office do’s
You may only have a short time with your doctor, but employing the right strategies can help you make the most out of every minute.
Arrive on time. Sure, it may be frustrating if you have to wait (and doctors’ offices don’t have waiting rooms for nothing), but remember that if your doctor is running behind, it’s likely because they are spending more time helping someone else. But if you arrive late for your appointment, it could reduce the amount of face time you get with your doctor, making you feel rushed and cutting down on the time you have to discuss your concerns.
Come prepared. Write down any questions or concerns you have ahead of time, and bring your list with you. If you feel rushed or flustered during your appointment, it could cause you to forget the things you wanted to ask.
Check your shyness at the door. When it comes to discussing sensitive topics, don’t be too embarrassed to speak up. Chances are, your doctor has seen the problem before and is there to help you, not to judge.
Ask away. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about particular treatments you may have read about or heard about from friends, but be prepared to listen to what the doctor has to say – whether good or bad. Doctors appreciate an informed patient, but if you come in and try to diagnose yourself or tell them how to treat your condition, it can be frustrating for both of you. Remember that you came to them for professional advice – so be prepared to listen to their professional opinion. Rather than telling your doctor what you have and how to treat it, ask open-ended questions such as “What can you tell me about this treatment?”
Be specific. When it comes to listing your symptoms, be as specific as possible. Note the duration, frequency, timing, severity, and whether there seem to be any associated triggers or patterns. The clearer idea your doctor has of what is bothering you, the better they may be able to zero in on the problem.
Be honest. Your doctor can only help you if he or she has an accurate understanding of what is going on. So from questions about your symptoms to your lifestyle to other medications you may be using, make sure to answer your doctor’s queries as accurately and honestly as you can.
Make sure you understand what your doctor is saying. You should leave your doctor’s office with a clear understanding of your condition, your treatment, and any follow-up appointments, tests, or other care you may require. If you aren’t sure what your doctor is saying, don’t be afraid to ask them to explain it again or to write it down for you. You may also want to bring along a trusted family member or friend to help ensure you leave with a clear understanding.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/How-to-Talk-to-Your-Doctor
Fed up with wet and sleepless nights? If your child is wetting the bed, you’ve probably learned to dread those nighttime wake-up calls and frantic searches for dry sheets. Here are some simple strategies to help you and your child have a dry night:
Limit fluids after dinner.
Limit the amount of fluids your child drinks after dinner. Instead, have them drink more of their daily fluids earlier in the day.
Teach your child to use the toilet before bedtime.
If your child empties their bladder just before they go to bed, there’s less chance that they may wet the bed. Get your child into the habit of using the toilet before bedtime. Encourage them to go even if they don’t feel like they need to.
Provide easy access to the bathroom.
Make it easy for your child to reach the bathroom at night. This may mean installing a night light, propping doors open, and having a stool so your child can reach the toilet and sink.
Try absorbent products.
Absorbent products, such as nighttime underwear and disposable bed mats, can help minimize the discomfort of wet sheets and the frustration of nighttime sheet changes.
Take care of yourself.
To cope with bedwetting, you’ll need patience and understanding. This is easier when you’re not exhausted. Give yourself some extra attention – make time for the things you enjoy, and when you can, get to bed a bit earlier to make a deposit in your “sleep bank.”
Get help if you need it.
Talk to your doctor if your child is having accidents during the day, if bedwetting starts again after your child has been dry for at least 6 months, if your child feels a burning sensation when they urinate, or if your child is still wetting the bed at age 5 or 6.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Bedwetting-Nighttime-Survival-Strategies
Menopause is an important health issue. This health feature offers information about menopause: how to tell if you’re entering it, the role of estrogen replacement therapy, and tips on making yourself more comfortable – and staying healthy – as your body adjusts to this new phase.
Menopause – a change of life
All women eventually enter menopause, also known as “the change” or climacteric, which marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. The stage you go through before actual menopause is called perimenopause, which takes place over about two to eight years (the average is four years) as the body undergoes its hormone-driven changes. This is the time when levels of estrogen, progesterone, and androgen start to decrease. The ovaries gradually stop releasing follicles (eggs), eventually ending your reproductive stage of life. As the body adjusts to this new stage, certain signs and symptoms can occur.
During perimenopause, you might start to experience some of the symptoms of menopause but still have menstrual periods. However, menstrual periods tend to become more and more irregular during this time. You’ve officially entered menopause when your doctor has confirmed that you’re no longer ovulating (there’s a special blood test to check this), or when you haven’t had a single period in a whole year. Keep in mind that, unless your doctor tells you for sure, or until the full year is up, there’s still a chance you can get pregnant.
Women are most likely to be between ages 40 and 60 years when they experience natural menopause – the average age is about 51. If you begin to go through menopause before the age of 40, it’s called premature or early menopause. Menopause occurring after the age of 55 is considered a late menopause.
Some women experience induced menopause, which can happen for one of three reasons:
- Surgical menopause is triggered by having both ovaries removed during an operation. Women who have hysterectomies (removal of the uterus, therefore no menstrual periods) may or may not have their ovaries taken out, depending on how extensive the surgery was and why it was done.
- Chemotherapy-induced menopause is brought on by chemotherapy, usually in the course of being treated for cancer. These drugs can affect the ovaries enough to begin the process but, depending on different factors, chemotherapy-induced menopause isn’t always complete or permanent.
- Radiation-induced menopause can happen while undergoing radiotherapy for cancer. If the ovaries are exposed to enough radiation, they’ll begin to shut down.
The signs and symptoms of menopause – and how severe they are – vary so much from woman to woman that it’s hard to know fully what to expect. Some women go through menopause with only a few hot flushes. Others feel most symptoms to the hilt. Some doctors say that the best guide to knowing how you’ll be affected is to get your closest female relatives – mothers, aunts and grandmothers – to tell you about their experiences.
How can you tell if you’re entering menopause? Some signs include:
- less frequent or erratic periods, which last for fewer days or have a lighter flow (although some women temporarily experience much heavier flows than usual during perimenopause)
- hot flushes (or flashes) – bursts of feeling extremely hot, accompanied by sweating – which can range from being mildly annoying to intensely uncomfortable (some women are awakened by night sweats that literally drench their sheets)
- insomnia or difficulty staying asleep
- mood changes
- vaginal dryness and itching
- decreased libido
- difficulty concentrating
- urinary incontinence (leakage)
You should know that irregular bleeding, along with some of these symptoms, might be due to another cause. See your doctor to rule out other possible conditions.
Menopause is a very personal life event. Knowing what to expect can go a long way to easing any concerns or anxieties you may have about going through “the change.” There’s an upside, too: many women after menopause say that they’ve never felt better!
The estrogen question
Is taking estrogen right for you? Is it safe? You’ve probably heard a lot about hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which may be used to treat the symptoms of menopause and, in some cases, to protect against osteoporosis and colorectal cancer. HRT is a controversial topic, especially now that the results of a major U.S. study (the Women’s Health Initiative [WHI] study) have become available. To help sort out the issues, here are some key points that can help you decide what’s right for you.
First, you need to speak with your doctor. You may be interested in taking hormone replacement but it’s not advised for women with certain health issues. This type of therapy isn’t recommended if you have a history of:
- endometrial or breast cancer
- blood clots
- unexplained vaginal bleeding
- active liver disease
Some women ask why they should take hormones for a perfectly natural stage of life. After all, it’s not a medical condition, is it? True, menopause is a normal state and doesn’t pose any serious health problems on its own. On the other hand, hormone replacement may help certain women in a few ways:
- by helping to get through the worst of their symptoms, including irregular bleeding, hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, mood disturbances, and vaginal dryness
- by protecting against osteoporosis: the WHI study found that taking a combination of estrogen plus progestin decreased overall fracture risk by 24% (the risk was reduced from 11.1% in women who did not take active medication to 8.6% in women taking estrogen plus progestin) and hip fracture risk by 33%. Estrogen and progestin also increased bone density in the hip by 3.7% (compared with 0.14% in women who did not take active medication). However, because of the risks of HRT, it is not recommended for preventing osteoporosis. It is not routinely recommended for treating osteoporosis except for cases where the benefits outweigh the risks.
- by reducing the risk of colorectal cancer: the WHI study found that taking a combination of estrogen plus progestin decreased the risk of colorectal cancer by 44%. This translates to six fewer colorectal cancers for every 10,000 women over one year.
- by reducing the risk of diabetes: in the WHI study, women taking a combination of estrogen plus progestin had a 21% lower risk of diabetes. This translates to 15 fewer cases of diabetes for every 10,000 women over one year. However, HRT is not recommended for the sole purpose of preventing diabetes because of its risks.
HRT also has some risks. Some of the side effects can include:
- tender breasts
- abdominal bloating
- vaginal bleeding
- uterine cramps
- weight gain
- mood swings
Estrogen replacement therapy can increase the risk of endometrial (uterine lining) cancer in women with an intact uterus. This is why women who have a uterus are also prescribed a progestin (such as medroxyprogesterone acetate) to protect them from endometrial cancer. Taking a progestin with estrogen replacement therapy reduces the risk of endometrial cancer to a similar (same or lower) level compared with women who are not taking estrogen replacement therapy.
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study recently found that the use of a certain combination of estrogen and progestin taken in pill form (a combination of conjugated equine estrogen 0.625 mg plus medroxyprogesterone acetate 2.5 mg) significantly increases the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It is important to note that not all forms of HRT have been linked to an increased risk and that these risks occurred with long-term versus short-term usage. It is also important to note that the group of women studied in the trial had an average age of 63 years (with a range of 50 to 79 years), and none had severe menopause symptoms (many had no symptoms at all). Therefore, it is not known to what extent the results will apply to postmenopausal women who have different characteristics than the study group.
Specifically, initial study findings showed that the hormones increased a healthy woman’s risk of:
- heart disease by 29%
- stroke by 41%
- breast cancer by 26%
Although these increases seem high, the actual number of cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots among the women in the study was small. The study authors say that given the increased risks they found, a group of 10,000 women who took the hormone combination for one year would experience:
- seven additional heart attacks
- eight more breast cancers
- eight additional strokes
- eight more blood clots in the lungs
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) also studied women taking estrogen alone (women who had had a hysterectomy). For every 10,000 women taking estrogen alone, the risks and benefits for these women were (per year):
- an increased risk of stroke: 12 more cases of stroke
- possibly, an increased risk of blood clots: six more women with blood clots
- a decreased risk of hip fractures: six fewer women with hip fractures
- possibly, a decreased risk of breast cancer: seven fewer breast cancers
As a result of the WHI study, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) does not recommend that hormone replacement therapy be started or continued for the sole purpose of preventing heart disease, since estrogen plus progestin can actually increase the risk, and estrogen alone does not have any significant effect on the risk. Hormone replacement therapy may be used to treat menopausal symptoms (such as hot flashes), or to protect against osteoporosis and colorectal cancer. However, it is not recommended for women who do not have any menopausal symptoms. The current thought is that the risk of developing breast cancer increases after five years of taking HRT. Because some symptoms of menopause subside after two to three years, a woman should re-evaluate her need for HRT each year. The SOGC recommends that the lowest effective dose of HRT should be used for the shortest period of time needed.
Since each woman’s health history is different, it’s important that you openly discuss your concerns and needs with a doctor. Together, you can weigh the pros and cons of hormone replacement. If you decide not to take hormone replacement therapy, there are other treatment options for menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. If you decide to go ahead with hormone replacement, you’ll be prescribed a treatment plan that’s tailored for you. Hormone replacements come in many forms and dosages, including pills, patches, gels, vaginal preparations, and injections.
The first time hormone therapy is suggested might be while you’re still in perimenopause. Some doctors recommend low-dose contraceptive pills to help regulate the menstrual cycle as it becomes more irregular. It’s convenient, but the drawback is that you can’t tell if your period has stopped completely or not.
It’s only natural
Whether or not you choose hormone replacement, other methods may help ease some of the discomforts of perimenopause and menopause. Because not all women are affected the same way, finding the right solution is sometimes a matter of trial and error.
For hot flashes:
- stop smoking
- avoid caffeine and alcohol
- get regular exercise
- decrease body mass index (BMI) if your doctor says it’s too high
- reduce stress either by relaxation, biofeedback, meditation, or some other method you find soothing
- lower your room temperature
- dress in layers to reduce body temperature as needed
- don’t eat a heavy snack before bed
- avoid caffeine and alcohol
- make your bedroom as inviting and “sleepy” as possible; don’t use your bedroom for anything other than sleeping or sexual intimacy
- develop a calming bedtime routine every night
- avoid taking daytime naps
For problems with urinating too often or having episodes of urinary incontinence (leakage):
- avoid hard alcohol or any liquid that triggers the need to urinate such as coffee, tea, or beer
- practice Kegel (pelvic) exercises daily
- wear a pad if you’re afraid of being caught in an embarrassing situation
Don’t limit your fluid intake to keep from urinating unless you’re advised to do so by your doctor. Dehydrating yourself will make menopausal symptoms worse.
For decreased sexual desire:
- if you don’t have enough vaginal lubrication, try using a water-soluble gel
- set a sexy mood by wearing that special gown, lighting candles, or playing romantic music
It also helps to let your partner know how you’re feeling, so that you can both take the time to get in the mood.
You can also speak to your doctor about highly effective non-hormonal medications to treat your menopausal symptoms. For example, venlafaxine or clonidine may reduce the frequency of your hot flashes, and medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may help control mood swings.
If you’d like to try herbal remedies for some of your symptoms, check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that these don’t interact with any medications you are taking and that you don’t have any medical conditions where these herbal remedies should be avoided.
Staying healthy after menopause
It used to be that the average lifespan of a woman in North America only extended into the early 60s. Now that women are living into their 70s, 80s and beyond, this brings a whole new dimension to women’s health.
The main health concerns after menopause are osteoporosis, heart disease and breast cancer. We’ve been told that hormone replacement can help lessen the risk of osteoporosis, but if you’re one of the women who can’t take the drugs or have decided not to, there are other ways to help protect yourself. These measures benefit all women – whether they’re on hormone replacement or not.
To protect against osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis Canada recommends taking 1,200 mg of calcium per day, along with 800 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily if you are over 50 years old. Be sure to mention if you’re taking any kind of supplement to your doctor.
- Stay active. If you haven’t already and can do so, begin a weight-bearing exercise program. Studies have shown that weight-bearing exercises encourage healthy bones and prevent bone mass loss. If you can’t participate in a regular program, simple walking routines or gardening also help. If you’re one of the many women with joint pain, perhaps swimming would be a good option for you.
- Stop smoking, avoid caffeine and eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium and vitamins.
There are also medications specifically designed to treat bone loss, so you may want to discuss this with your doctor if needed. As well, you may want to go for a bone-density measurement test to get a baseline measurement. This way, you and your doctor will know where you stand and if you’ll need regular monitoring.
In the past, hormone replacement therapy was also used to protect against heart disease. However, a major clinical study, the Women’s Health Institute (WHI) study, has found that instead of preventing heart disease, long-term use of hormone replacement therapy actually increases the risk. For this reason, it is no longer recommended that women take hormone replacement therapy for the sole purpose of preventing heart disease. Therefore, it’s more important than ever for women to find other ways to reduce their risk of heart disease.
To protect against heart disease
- Stop smoking. Yes, you’ve heard it before, but here’s yet another good reason to quit. Cigarettes increase your risk of stroke and heart disease.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in saturated fats.
- Watch your blood pressure. Have it checked regularly and follow your doctor’s recommendations for lowering it, including medication if needed.
- Watch your weight. Obesity contributes to heart disease.
- Get physical. Move around to keep your heart healthy.
- Try to limit your stress levels.
If you’re in perimenopause, or have already entered menopause, it’s important to take stock of your health status, especially if you’re aware of conditions for which you may be at high risk. Talk to your doctor about the options available to keep you healthy. Information about taking preventive steps can help you fully enjoy the many years to come after menopause.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Menopause
Prepare yourself for piles of leaves, a Thanksgiving feast, and the festive, fun foods of the fall harvest.
Fall for 10 healthy autumn eats
The move from summer to fall can be bittersweet: Clearing out the summer clothes to make way for sweaters, prepping for cold and flu season, and trying to cope with your ragweed allergy. But the seasonal food switch is nothing but sweet – and warm and flavorful and super-nutritious.
Fall for these 10 healthy autumn eats:
Apples: How you like them apples? There are reasons why apples are the old autumn harvest standby, the magical super-fruit that’s supposed to keep the doctor away. At just under 100 calories each, apples provide vitamin C and lots of beneficial fibre. Both the soluble and insoluble fibre found in apples help to support healthy digestion and cholesterol levels. Considering the sheer variety of apple types, you could eat an apple a day and never tire of the sometimes tart, sometimes sweet, always good-for-you flavours.
Beets: Beets are versatile, low in calories, naturally sweet, and packed with nutritional B-enefits. Beets are full of folate, a B vitamin crucial to healthy cell growth, especially during pregnancy. Two more Bs abundant in beets: betacyanin, a pigment that is a potentially powerful antioxidant, and betaine, a heart-protective nutrient. Beets are also a great source of fibre.
Bell peppers: Get in on the crunch and colour of bell peppers when they’re at their best and most abundant, from August through October. Minus the capsaicin that makes other peppers so hot, bell peppers offer a cooler, crisper, sweeter pepper flavour to foods. And just one medium bell pepper provides more vitamin C than you need in one day! Munch on sliced raw peppers, sauté with a lean protein like tofu or chicken, stir-fry with other veggies, or dice onto a salad for some crunch.
Brussels sprouts: These little mini-cabbage look-alikes belong to the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, along with broccoli, kale, and spinach. Though Brussels sprouts top many a least-favoured veggie list, they are worth a bite. Cut a cup of these pods into quarters and braise them along with your favourite herbs and spices for a delicious dose of vitamins and minerals. Brussel sprouts are rich in vitamin K, which regulate bone metabolism and blood clotting.
Cranberries: Bright red and tart to the tongue, cranberries crop up in the autumn to add to the colourful foliage. Whether plucked off a berry bush or cultivated in shallow, sandy pools, cranberries pack in lots of fibre and vitamin C. Toss a handful of the berries into a mixed fruit salad, add them to a vinaigrette salad dressing, mix into hot oatmeal, or bake into muffins and cookies.
Figs: Figs are small, low-calorie fruits, but they are densely packed with nutritional benefits. Potassium, which is essential for proper heart, kidney, and muscle function, is abundant in figs, as is bone-building calcium. And 8 ounces of fresh figs yields 25% of your daily recommended fibre. As with any fruit, figs are a great source of antioxidant vitamins. Tea extract made from fig leaves has also shown potential to support the health of people with diabetes.
Pears: Though softer, sweeter, and more delicate, pears provide just as much vitamin C and fibre as their apple kin. Add to the pear’s profile the benefits of the antioxidant mineral copper and a juicy, buttery texture that makes the fruit a natural poached, sliced onto salads, or chunked into hot cereal.
Pumpkins and other squash: The rich, deep colours of pumpkin and other types of squash give a hint at the plentiful nutrients within. Vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, is abundant in these gourds. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant essential to healthy vision, and it may also boost the immune system and protect the body from the kind of free radical damage that may cause heart and blood vessel disorders and cancer. Squash provides plenty of potassium, a mineral that helps to regulate the kidneys and the heart, as well as the muscles and nerves. You’ll also find tons of fibre in these fine fruits, which helps to reduce cholesterol, maintain intestinal health, and moderate blood sugar levels.
Parsnips: Parsnips don’t land on too many “superfood” top ten lists, but that’s only because they tend to be overshadowed by other veggies. They look a bit like pale carrots, but they actually contain much more heart-friendly potassium and folate than carrots. Folate is a B vitamin required for the creation of healthy cells, and having insufficient levels of it has been linked to cancer and birth defects. Parsnips may have only half the protein of potatoes – but they boast more fibre.
Sweet potatoes and yams: Whether you choose the more common sweet potato or the harder-to-find yam, you’ll dine on a nutritious, low-calorie vegetable. Of the two, sweet potatoes have more iron and are a better source of antioxidant vitamin A, but yams have more fibre. The two are about equal in heart-helper vitamin B6, but yams pack more of a punch than sweet potatoes for potassium, which is needed for proper heart, kidney, and muscle function.
For many, preparing a Thanksgiving turkey is one of the biggest cooking and food safety challenges of the year. When you’re faced with a big, uncooked bird, questions will arise. Let’s talk turkey and cook up a few answers.
How should I store it?
If you will be using your turkey within 2 or 3 days, store it in the fridge. Otherwise, keep it in the freezer. Don’t leave it to sit at room temperature – this can allow harmful bacteria to grow.
How long will I need to thaw this bird?
Never thaw a frozen turkey on a countertop at room temperature. Instead, choose one of the safer options. You could keep it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic or placed in a deep pan to hold drippings. Or you could pop it in the microwave, determining thawing time and temperature by either consulting the microwave’s manual or following a by-the-kilo recipe. Another thaw alternative is to wrap the turkey in its original airtight wrapping and thaw it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes so it stays cold enough.
How much time will it take to thoroughly cook it?
Figure for 30 minutes of cooking time per kilogram of turkey (15 minutes per pound). Set the oven temperature to 165°C (325°F) or higher. If using an oven cooking bag, carefully read the bag’s instructions first. Poke a meat thermometer into a thigh or breast to see if the turkey’s internal temperature has reached 85°C (165°F). By this temperature, the turkey should be thoroughly cooked. Check that meat is tender and no pink juices remain. If you’re stuffing your turkey, expect that it will take about 15-30 minutes longer.
What sort of bacteria are on and in turkey that could possibly make me and my family sick?
Turkey and other poultry can carry bacteria that can cause food poisoning, including salmonella and campylobacter. When cooked properly, most bacteria will be killed off so turkey is safe to eat. Still, it is vital that food handlers follow safety guidelines to prevent cross-contaminating other foods being prepared. Avoid touching turkey juices and drippings. Wash hands thoroughly with soap before and after touching food. Do the same for any plates, utensils, towels, and cutting boards you use before switching them to another use. Plastic cutting boards are easier to sanitize than ones made of wood. If you can, reserve one cutting board for use with meats and poultry and another to use when preparing vegetables or other foods.
How healthy is turkey anyway?
Turkey is a lean, low-calorie source of protein. It also contains tryptophan, an amino acid known for its snooze-inducing powers. However, it’s not really the bird that’s the culprit of that post-dinner snooze, but usually the heavy carbohydrates in that holiday feast.
Pile leftover turkey onto whole-grain bread for post-Thanksgiving sandwiches or shred the meat to make a base for a turkey soup. But to make sure you make the most of the surplus bounty, refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.
Safety tips for raking leaves
As the days begin to grow shorter, the leaves turn from green to gold, red, brown, orange. The green tree canopy of summer gives way to a rainbow of autumn colours and many of us wistfully watch the leaves fall to the ground. Others of us just think, “Great, now I have to rake the lawn.”
If that blanket of dead leaves awaits you, you’ll need not only a rake but also a few safe raking reminders:
Wait for the full fall: Before you reach for your rake, wait for the full fall of leaves. Aside from some spot-clearing on pathways, it’s better to plan one big rake job. Quick, small clean-ups may tempt you to take safety shortcuts that could spell trouble in the form of slips, falls, and sore muscles.
Choose your tools wisely: The right rake for you may not be the right rake for someone else. Shop around for one that is a comfortable fit for your height. And while it may be tempting to buy a cheaper, lightweight rake made from plastic, be warned that the lighter the rake, the more energy you will need to use to move and scoop up piles of wet leaves. Opt for a rake that has a handle with gripping material. Ergonomic rakes are also available, specially designed for comfort and ease of use and to prevent injury.
Dress the part: Wear lightweight clothes that keep you warm enough without trapping sweat you may build up. Shoes should be supportive and comfortable, and should have slip-proof soles in case you come across a patch of wet leaves. Slip on a pair of sturdy gloves featuring grip material to help keep your hands around the rake handle. If you’re allergic to mould and mildew, consider wearing a mask to cover your nose and mouth.
Do a pre-rake warm-up: It may not seem like a workout, but you can burn nearly 300 calories during an hour of raking! Walk around a bit before you start so your blood gets flowing. Do a couple of stretches to prevent straining the muscles of your shoulders, neck, and back. Side bends and knee-to-chest lifts help open you up and ready you for all of the raking, bending, and lifting you’ll do.
Practice proper raking posture: To keep your neck and back happy, stand upright and rake leaves to the side of you, alternating dominant hand now and then. Bend at the knees – not the waist – when picking up piles of gathered leaves. And avoid twisting to toss leaves. Instead, step to the side so your whole body switches position, not just your shoulders and back.
Take rake breaks: The repetitiveness of raking can become painful after a while. Take a rest every 10 to 15 minutes. Sip on water to stay hydrated and stretch to release tension you may have built up.
ll material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Autumn-Health
As we spend more and more hours on our computers, it’s time we stop to consider some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of a life lived online.
Social networking: Faces, spaces, and connections
Try envisioning your life as a house, a place to which you retreat after work or school. A social networking site can be like a window. We can throw the window open wide or crack it just a bit. If we want to, we can stick our heads out there into the open air of the online universe and shout, whisper, or speak our messages.
Sometimes many people hear us, like when we post updates to our friends on Facebook or Twitter. Sometimes we share our message in the form of images, like on Instagram or Flickr, personal photo- and video-sharing sites, or on Tumblr, a space in which to plop all of the random things admired or inspiring – pictures, songs, videos, quotes. Sometimes our message is light, while at other times it is serious and full of purpose, as on professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
This feeling of connectivity to the wider world that we get from social networking sites is what social scientists call digital ambient awareness. This type of awareness or intimacy is akin to real physical intimacy. A friend shares their cold symptoms in a status update. A high school chum posts photos of their dog. We publicize the results of a personality quiz we took. It can all feel like we’re looking over each other’s shoulders or having coffee together.
The sense of intimacy and connectedness are two big motivations for millions who take part in the whole “social” scene. But our reasons for transmitting parts of ourselves out into the vast social space of the online world are as varied as we are.
We can bridge gaps: Social networking sites can help us to nurture and maintain the “weaker” ties in our lives. Think work colleagues, friends of friends, long-lost high school buddies, or cousins living in other countries. By linking up to these people online we are able to glimpse their lives in ways that we wouldn’t have done before. This access we grant to one another opens doors to future interaction. You might discover that a co-worker you never talk to is as into knitting as you are – or jazz, or a particular TV show. You may be more likely to strike up a conversation with this knowledge, which could be especially helpful for those who are shy.
We can strengthen bonds: Research has revealed that most people use online networks to keep up with existing offline relationships rather than initiate new relationships with people they meet online. For the most part, despite how many friends or followers we have, we still only keep in regular contact with our smaller core group of friends and family. Because of the format of many of these sites, it is simply more challenging to form new, deeper connections. Twitter, for instance, allows only 280 characters to get your messages across!
We can ask for help: Lots of people get wrapped and tethered in our nets. The bigger our net, the farther we can cast it out when we need answers, support, or advice. Among your network, you could find someone who could hook you up with a lucrative job or even a potential romantic connection. Your network might offer tips on great bargains or a new take-out joint you’d never know to try. Students post topics they’re researching for essays. Journalists send out questions to help them flesh out articles and find interview sources. Having a network within keystroke’s reach may also help to soothe feelings of loneliness.
We can create niches: Say you’re passionate about a community issue, or an actor, an artist, historical recreations – whatever! Friends or coworkers can initiate a group weight-loss or stop-smoking challenge. An online community can be forged out of a common cause, shared interest, or a group goal.
We can nurture our creative side: Painters and photographers can scan and display their art. Amateur musicians can upload and share new songs. Many sites out there allow you to archive and share images, quotes, videos, and songs that inspire you. Others can view the creative output and offer their comments and feedback. These sites act as virtual bulletin boards, galleries, jukeboxes, and scrapbooks.
We can scan: Aren’t we busy enough as it is? Why would we want to add more things to our day that we need to look at, update, and address? The thing about most of these social networks is that when we publish our digital ephemera, people are free to pay attention – or not. Unlike an email, which begs to be read and responded to, our friends, followers, or connections can choose to scan our messages and photos and decide for themselves whether they wish to reply or react. If you follow 100 people on Twitter, you’re not likely to closely read each status update or follow every single link they all share. We scan, we peruse, we filter. It’s expected and accepted.
I blog, therefore I am
By now, nearly everyone knows what a blog is: a web log. An online chronicle of anything and everything, a blog is whatever its creator makes of it. Blogs sprouted like weeds in the early 2000s, when blogging software became more user-friendly and accessible. Many businesses have a blog going, and millions and millions of individuals have personal sites that function as anything from a PR tool for a struggling actor or a church group’s info hub to a poet’s outlet for anonymous odes.
The simple act of disclosure – sharing our thoughts, ideas, and feelings with others – can make us feel better. That’s probably why so many people pay psychotherapists for their services. It’s why so many people write journals, love letters, and books. And it could also be why so many people write blogs.
Writing about emotional topics has been linked to reduced stress and improved academic performance. Physical health also saw an upswing – some research showed that after a period of regular writing exercises, people may take fewer sick days off from work, require fewer medical appointments, or experience better immune function.
Journaling is a method some people encourage for those going through a difficult diagnosis or medical treatment. Writing offers patients an avenue for focused self-expression and a place for venting the surplus of emotions and sensations that often accompany living with a disease or condition. Move these journals online to a blog format, and the writing gains a new dimension, a new power: it becomes accessible to others in similar situations who can then reflect, react, and respond. The opportunity to build a new community based on shared experience opens up.
It is this social element that really sets blogging apart from writing for oneself. Blogging combines the cathartic experience of writing with the “social capital” – friendships, community ties – you can gain by linking online to others. And when you gain social capital, you may increase your overall feeling of well-being.
Considering launching yourself into the blogosphere? Consider the pros and cons first.
- Blogging is belonging: People who blog and share their thoughts and feelings with an audience enjoy an enhanced feeling of belonging. In what can feel like an increasingly isolated world, blogs can pull together likeminded individuals to form a new kind of community that allows for friendship and social support.
- Blogging creates friendships: As a person blogs and fields comments and gains “readership,” their social network can grow and become stronger. This can mean strengthening ties to existing friends or creating new ties to people who may become friends. And the friendships forged online can become as real, as binding, and as supportive as offline relationships.
- Blogging is inclusive: The online platform isn’t just for extroverts and those seeking attention. You can choose to be open and out there on your blog or maintain your anonymity. It’s a safe space where the usual social constraints – awkwardness, insecurity, shyness, hesitation to talk about tricky topics – don’t have to get in the way.
- Blogging can become addictive: Once you get the blog buzz, you may never want to go without it. No doubt about it: it’s fun to get feedback, to meet new people, and to watch traffic to your posts grow. But in the 24-hour news cycle of the internet, bloggers can become compulsive about posting frequently enough or about getting the scoop on fellow bloggers. Blogging binges can cause sleepless nights, stress, and precious time away from offline relationships.
- Blogging can open you up to criticism: This is a risk we run whenever we open ourselves up to others. The tech twist to this vulnerability is the “comment” function. Reveal your emotions or unleash your opinions on your blog, and you may receive comments attacking, scrutinizing, or dismissing what you’ve written. The good news is that since people seek out blogs based on common interest and read them voluntarily, most comments and interactions are positive.
Stuck to the screen?
While there are lots of ways that social networking can potentially support our mental, emotional, and even physical health, there are warnings to heed.
Especially at risk are young children, who are now exposed to screens at younger and younger ages. Some kids even have an online presence from infancy, as parents post baby photos, personal stories, and progress reports online. And we used to be scared our parents would bring out our old baby photo albums or home movies. Now kids have to worry about someone Googling their name and finding YouTube videos of them in diapers!
In terms of screen time, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends:
- for kids under 2 years of age, screen time should not be permitted.
- for kids 2 to 5 years old, screen time should be limited to less than 1 hour a day.
- for kids older than 5, screen time should be limited to less than 2 hours a day.
Compare that to the numbers reported by Statistics Canada: about 76% of children aged between 5 and 11 years get more than 2 hours of screen time per day.
It’s not unheard of for a child to get home from school and spend their entire afternoon and evening switching their attention from one screen to another until bedtime: text messaging, scrolling on social media, computer game, TV show, online chat, and sleep. Who knows? They may then fall asleep and dream about getting to the next level on their current favourite video game. Aside from possibly restless sleep, what’s the harm in a life lived stuck to the screen? Here are a few potential online-living hazards that apply to both children and adults:
Pain: Ergonomics is the science of healthy workspaces. When we sit at a computer workspace that has poor ergonomics, the result can be back and neck pain, as well as wrist and hand problems.
- In general, a monitor should be positioned just below eye level and at an arm’s length away from you. Wrists should be positioned parallel to the keyboard with elbows at about a 90-degree bend. Feet should rest comfortably flat on the ground.
- Consider the main parts of a workspace and make them suit the person who uses it most. Fitted back supports can be purchased and used to discourage slouching.
- If it’s a child’s workspace, invest in a kid-sized chair, mouse, and desk. That way, a small child will not strain their neck to look up at a monitor placed at adult eye level.
- For children, set limits on how long they can sit in front of the computer and encourage breaks.
- Be a good role model, too, by setting reminders for yourself to get up from your workspace now and then for stretch-and-move breaks.
Eyestrain: Our eyes were not designed to stare at flickering screens all day long. And yet that’s how many of us spend most of our waking hours. Although it’s true that digital screens emit blue light, many eye issues that are caused by prolonged screen time are not due to blue light, but rather something called computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome can be a real strain. Eyestrain occurs when your eyes simply get tired from too much use. Eyes that simply feel sleepy and slightly sore can become dry, watery, and itchy. Blurred vision, headaches, and trouble shifting focus can develop.
- Give your eyes regular breaks away from the screen. Schedule a timer on your computer to go off every half-hour or so to remind you to rest. Every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet away from the computer screen for at least 20 seconds.
- While working on the computer, people have a tendency to forget to blink! The resulting dry, irritated, and tired eyes can be prevented by consciously remembering to blink your eyes, encouraging tear formation, and keeping your eyes moist.
- In addition, sometimes lighting changes, glare-reduction, and adjusting the brightness settings on your computer can help to lessen the strain.
- Experiment with display text size and background colour to find a setting that works best for your eyes.
Obesity: According to a large survey done by Statistics Canada, 25% of people who spent their leisure time watching 21 or more hours of television were also classified as obese. Men and women who spent 11 hours or more per week online were more likely to be overweight than those who spent 5 or fewer hours. And among children, computer use has been linked to higher levels of body fat and excessive television-watching has contributed to the increase in childhood obesity. So, as our hours in front of screens increase, so do our waistlines and other associated health risks, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Start a screen time log for yourself and for your family. You can use your smartphone to log this, as most smartphones have a feature to track screen time. Record how much time you spend in front of screens over the course of a normal week – you might be shocked at the number of hours sucked away! For every one of those hours, imagine how many other activities you could have been doing that would support your health.
- Make a plan to substitute at least a few of those hours with physical activity.
- Additionally, think about your eating habits in relation to screens. Do you snack while you’re channel- and net-surfing? Screen-time eating can become mindless, and all of these extra calories can suddenly sneak into your day. Make meals and snacks screen-free activities.
Mental health: It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard that social media can harm your mental health. You may even be tired of hearing this, but it’s because there have been many studies that show a link between social media use and numerous mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Now that it’s almost impossible to avoid social media in our daily lives, we need to rethink how to utilize it without falling victim to the risks.
- Limit the time you spend scrolling each day. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re scrolling down on Instagram – but a study has shown that people who limit their time spent on social media to under 30 minutes per day report happier moods.
- Follow people and pages that encourage you or bring you joy. If you notice that particular types of social posts make you feel anxious or depressed, you’re not alone. Unfollow or mute content that bothers you, and instead follow the content that make you happy.
- Consider a social media detox. Just like any other detox, you can choose to set a period of time and stay away from social media. It’s easier to quit something when you already know the advantages of quitting. If you benefit from a social media cleanse, you may feel more comfortable reducing your time spent on social media in general.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Online-Life-Is-It-Healthy
It’s back-to-school time again! Make the transition from summer to school smooth and stress-free.
Children’s medical conditions at school
Amidst all of the back-to-school bustle, some families must add their child’s chronic medical condition to the list of September stresses.
If your child has a chronic condition like diabetes, asthma, or epilepsy, or if he or she has a significant food allergy, a little extra planning can ensure a safe, healthy, and low-stress school year. For instance, children with diabetes may need to be given insulin injections or check their blood sugar, and parents of a child with asthma may be concerned about air quality in the school. And school staff will need to know what to do in the event of an epileptic seizure or the signs to watch for if a child is exposed to a food allergen.
Every medical condition will call for slightly different measures and plans, but a few commonalities apply to most:
- Keep your child’s emergency contact information as up-to-date and thorough as possible. List contacts in order of preference that they be called, and offer clearly marked alternative phone numbers for each, if available (mobile phone, work number, etc.). Include in this list the contact information for your child’s pediatrician, primary physician, or dentist, as necessary.
- Inform the school of your child’s condition. Write up a document including a brief medical history, medications your child requires, and details about your child’s special needs and/or restrictions (physical activity, dietary considerations). Be clear, concise, and complete so that directives can be easily followed.
- Ask for a meeting with relevant school staff to discuss your child’s emergency care plan. When it comes to your child’s health, you want to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. You will need to work together with your child’s school to draft a plan detailing the actions and responsibilities in case of an emergency. This plan may also include details about administering medication or treatments within the school day and during class field trips. Invitees to such a meeting may include your child’s teacher, principal, school nurse, and P.E. coach; the coordinator of special needs services; as well as any aids or health care providers who may have helpful input. If your child is old enough, he or she should also be involved in the planning.
- Keep in touch. Check in with your child’s teacher for any changes in behaviour or energy levels. Ask your child how things are going at school, if they take their medication as they should, if they feel different or are having any trouble with other children in regard to their condition. And be a strong advocate for your child’s health by following up with the school to revisit or update your child’s care and emergency plans.
School lunch bag safety
Time and space constraints in schools mean that students often toss lunch bags into a shared classroom bin, cubbies, lockers, or other storage spaces. Sometimes bins are kept outdoors, exposing lunches to heat or cold. Most schools simply cannot offer students space in a refrigerator to keep their food safe from bacteria or cross-contamination. Parents can prevent foodborne illness by practicing a few simple safety habits:
Pack for posterity: The foods that can “keep” the longest are a better bet for lunch bags.
- Minimize highly perishable foods, like mayonnaise, eggs, butter, milk-based products, and even those popular lunch meat combos kids seem to love.
- Opt for non-perishable foods and drinks – water, whole and dried fruits, crackers and chips, cereals and breads, or nuts and seeds.
- Sandwiches make an easy go-to choice, but keep in mind that lunch meats and tuna require refrigeration to stay safe. Old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly may be nixed from many menus because of fear of food allergies, but it is a natural in a sack lunch because it won’t go bad.
Pack with temperature in mind: Depending on schedules, your child’s lunch will need to “keep” for at least 2 to 3 hours.
- If food should be eaten cold, use frozen freezer packs or an insulated lunch box.
- If food should be eaten hot, heat food before your child leaves for school and store in a heat-preserving container or thermos.
- Freeze a juice box or yogurt snack ahead of time and use these items to keep other foods cool until mealtime.
- Consider an insulated lunchbox or freezable gel packs to keep lunches at their safest temperatures.
Practice a safe lunchtime routine with your child: Remind your child of the habits they need to practice each day when they hit the cafeteria.
- Talk to your child about the lunch bag storage situation and remind them to store their lunch in a cool, dry place out of the sun and away from other heat sources.
- Discuss hygiene, going over the right way to wash your hands or how to use a sanitary hand wipe before and after their meal.
- Remind your child to throw out perishable leftovers instead of toting them home (this may not be possible if the school has a waste-free lunch policy). Too many moms and dads have found rotten, stinky surprises in their children’s lunch bags!
Sort out sharing rules: You try your best to raise generous kids who share without prompting, and then turn and tell them not to share their lunch food or drinks!
- In an age-appropriate way, explain to your child why sharing a drink bottle or straw is not a good idea (risk of spreading germs).
- Talk to your child about why you probably shouldn’t swap snacks with a schoolmate (you never know who’s allergic to what).
Keep a clean, tidy lunch bag: While you can’t control what happens to your child’s lunch during the school day, you can work together with your child to keep their lunch bags clean.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning lunch bags.
- Teach your child to wipe down and clean their own lunch bag inside and out after they’ve eaten their school meals.
Food safety starts at home: Follow smart food safety practices when preparing lunches at home.
- Thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well.
- Keep kitchen surfaces sanitized and have plenty of laundered dishcloths or towels on hand.
- Pay attention to the “use by” dates on food packaging.
- Do not reuse plastic bags and food wrappers.
If you’ve taken your child to city parks, you may have noticed that playgrounds have changed a bit since you were a kid. Gone are the metal, wood, and concrete. In their place, you’ll see lots of brightly coloured plastic and spongy, foam-like ground covering.
Despite the modern safety upgrades, children still fall from monkey bars, get burned by hot slides, and get catapulted off of swings or seesaws by over-exuberant playmates. Kids still sport bruises and bumps, scrapes and cuts, knocked-out teeth, and fractures and sprains.
Teachers and P.E. coaches often take students on tours of the school playground and go over safety rules and tips and “play skills.” Still, most playground injuries happen to 5- to 9-year-olds, so it wouldn’t hurt to take your younger students to the park to go over some safety basics one-on-one:
- Know the slide rules: You’d think slides would be simple stuff to explain. They go down, right? Well, kids will find all sorts of creative ways to slide wrong. First off, give your child time to practise getting up the stairs safely. Then set a “bums-not-bellies” rule, emphasizing how important it is to go down feet first, one child at a time. Remind your child to check the bottom of the slide to prevent collisions with straggling sliders.
- Get in the swing: Playground swings are the sources of many childhood injuries, from fingers caught in chains to kids who face-plant when trying to leap out mid-arc. Warn that no matter how cool some daredevil kid looks, it hurts to fall and a broken arm could be the result. Go over the proper swing posture – sitting, not standing or kneeling – and set a safe distance for walking around or near active swings. Two-to-a-swing may seem fun for best buddies, but swings are only built to safely hold one child at a time.
- Set the seesaw scene: You may see fewer teeter-totters these days. Too bad, since more than any other piece of playground equipment, a seesaw requires cooperation and communication. Practise with your child the art of balancing and landing without thudding into the ground or springing your partner out of their seat. Talk about how tricky and unsafe it would be to work a seesaw if you faced the wrong direction, let go of your post, or horsed around.
- Don’t go off the rails: One kind of equipment you may see more of is the track ride, or slider, as kids often call it. Sliders are made up of a suspended handle that slides along a track. To use one of these rides, children grab onto the handle with both hands and propel themselves across the track. Sliders may not be used by children under a certain height. These rides definitely take some practice and getting used to, so this is a good one to work on together outside of school. Test whether your child is tall enough and whether he or she has enough upper body strength to make the slider slide, and practise proper dismount.
- Clear the area: Especially at early-morning recess when students first arrive at school, the playground can become a minefield of potential trips and falls and injuries, with backpacks, books, balls, and jump-ropes strewn all over play surfaces. Discuss with your child the safest spots to leave their school materials. And while you would hope it would go without saying, warn your child against tying jump ropes to playground equipment.
- Don’t dress for danger: Cords and drawstrings on clothes pose a playground safety risk, since they can become caught or snagged in play equipment. Same goes for hoods, draping fabric, purses, long keychains, scarves, and even shoelaces. Snaps, buttons, Velcro, or elastic are safer bets.
Other playground pointers to discuss with your child: keeping “roughhousing” play away from structures, equipment, and crowded areas; looking before leaping off any structure or equipment; and testing the temperature of equipment on hot days.
Simple ways to foster independence for school success
Children learn more at school than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. School is a place for children to practise interpersonal skills – like interdependence and sharing. And school is a safe place for kids to “have a go” at independence.
An independent student may be more comfortable tackling a tough math problem or making sense of a new word. An independent student may maintain optimism and try hard despite fear of failure. You can foster your child’s independence in simple ways every day:
Hand over all “homework housework.” Depending on your child’s age, homework may be but a few minutes of shared reading and some colouring or a full-on essay or science project. While you should assuredly be aware and involved in your child’s home studies, you should also stand back and let your child lead the way. Homework is an opportunity for children to hone their skills as planners, organizers, time managers, decision makers, and problem solvers. Likewise, children can be given the responsibility of keeping their workspace tidy and loading their backpack with their supplies and books.
Give your child (gradually widening) space. Children don’t have control over too much in their lives. You can give your child space at home – a special homework space, safe and unsupervised playtime, their own room. And you can give your child space at school, too. One example is the morning drop-off process. Some parents only feel comfortable letting go of their young child’s hand when they can pass their child’s hand directly over to their teacher. But once you and your child understand the drop-off process and the route to the classroom or playground, let your child do it themselves. Those few moments on their own may be met with tears and fears at first. Stick to it: It gets easier!
Give your child (gradually expanding) responsibility at home. Being held accountable to regular chores may pay off in your child’s classroom accountability. Chores can seem like more work than they’re worth. Is it really worth fighting over an unmade bed or a messy room? Yes, especially when you consider that teachers often assign students to classroom jobs and responsibilities, including watering plants, fetching snack bins, or tidying up the corner book nook.
Let your child choose. Your child will need to make decisions all throughout the school day. If parents dictate every tiny decision at home, children may be unable to sort through their many options in the cafeteria, on the playground, or in the school library. One way to practise choice at home is with food and clothing. Offer up 3 snack options and let your child decide which they’d prefer. Pick out 3 school-appropriate outfits and your child can choose their favourite.
Let your child lose. If all a kid knows is A+ and “Perfect!”, how will she react when she misses the mark? Will she fold or will she fight? Yes, it hurts to watch your child hurt. But instead of swooping in to save the day whenever your child faces a challenge, encourage critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Rather than giving an answer to a homework question, brainstorm with your child ways to solve it. Of course, you want to keep your child out of harm’s way and prevent injury or distress, but small moments of struggle are where a child gains strength as an individual.
Be a model of independence. Your children learn from their teachers, but they learn from you, too. Show them the hard work that goes into making decisions and facing challenges. Let your child in on short-term goals you set and talk about how you hope to achieve them. Talk about times you’ve struggled with new learning or about how you realized the cause-and-effect connection in your successes and failures.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/School-Health-and-Happiness
Press release – For immediate release
Montreal, May 11, 2022 – Canada Health Infoway (“Infoway”) and Montreal-based ELNA Medical (“ELNA”), Canada’s largest integrated network of medical clinics and owner of Medicentres Canada, are pleased to announce the rollout of the innovative PrescribeIT® e-prescribing service at all 26 Medicentres family care clinics throughout Alberta.
PrescibeIT®, Canada’s national e-prescribing solution, enables prescribers to send prescriptions and renewals seamlessly and electronically to a patient’s pharmacy of choice, resulting in more efficient patient care, enhanced safety and improved communication between pharmacists and physicians.
The launch of PrescribeIT® across all of Medicentres’ Alberta clinics follows an agreement between both parties and a successful pilot launch of the service at Medicentres’ Lethbridge clinic, in southern Alberta, in 2019.
“The rollout and availability of PrescribeIT® at all Medicentres clinics throughout Alberta is already beneficial to patients, prescribers and the health care system as a whole. We are proud to be the first clinical network to offer this innovative e-prescribing service across the province and to integrate it as part of our growing range of omnichannel care offerings that improve overall accessibility and ease of care for all Albertans,” said Laurent Amram, President and Founder of ELNA Medical..
“PrescribeIT® will make it easier and more convenient for thousands of Medicentres patients in Alberta to get their prescriptions filled, and it will also make prescribing more efficient for prescribers at Medicentres family care clinics in the province,” said Jamie Bruce, Executive Vice President, Infoway.“We look forward to continuing our partnership with ELNA Medical to expand the use of PrescribeIT® throughout Alberta.”
About Canada Health Infoway
At Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) we believe a more connected and collaborative system is a healthier system, and we work with governments, health care organizations, clinicians and patients to make health care more digital. We’re working to ensure that everyone is able to access their personal health information, book appointments, get prescriptions, view lab test results and access other health services, online. We’re working with our partners to transform the health system because we know that digital in health can be as transformative as digital has been in other aspects of our lives. We’re an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Visit us online at www.infoway-inforoute.ca.
Canada Health Infoway is working with Health Canada, the provinces and territories, and industry stakeholders to develop, operate and maintain the national e-prescribing service known as PrescribeIT®. PrescribeIT® will serve all Canadians, pharmacies and prescribers and provide safer and more effective medication management by enabling prescribers to transmit a prescription electronically between a prescriber’s electronic medical record (EMR) and the pharmacy management system (PMS) of a patient’s pharmacy of choice. PrescribeIT® will protect Canadians’ personal health information from being sold or used for commercial activities. Visit www.PrescribeIT.ca.
About ELNA Medical
ELNA Medical is Canada’s largest integrated network of medical clinics. Treating more than 1.4 million Canadians every year, ELNA is disrupting healthcare through a one-stop integrated omnichannel ecosystem. Focused on comprehensive care, ELNA provides easily accessible and personalized primary and specialty medical services of the highest quality at over 95 clinics and points of care throughout the country, including at 26 family care clinics under the Medicentres banner in Alberta. ELNA combines its extensive medical offering with access to premiere diagnostic services, thanks to its wholly owned subsidiary, CDL Laboratories, a leader in round-the-clock medical testing for three decades. Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, and strategic partnerships with global leaders, ELNA strives to provide better healthcare outcomes for Canadians.
Inquiries about PrescribeIT®
Press release – For immediate release
Montréal, March 29, 2022 — Montreal-based ELNA Medical (“ELNA”), Canada’s largest integrated network of medical clinics, announced today its investment in MD Connected, a leading telemedicine service provider that connects patients with medical practitioners via a wide range of systems.
Founded in 2017, MD Connected’s unique model includes fully digital and human-assisted telemedicine clinics, virtual care and COVID-19 testing at 34 clinics located within Rexall Drugstores, Metro and other well-known pharmacies in Ontario.
“This investment in an important virtual care provider supports ELNA’s omnichannel growth strategy, while expanding access to integrated medical services for hundreds of thousands of Ontarians,” said Laurent Amram, President and Founder of ELNA Medical..
“Providing our patients with the very best in easily accessible quality care has always been the cornerstone of our mission. With other upcoming openings in the pipeline, MD Connected’s extensive reach makes it an optimal fit for ELNA, and our partnership will allow it to scale rapidly beyond Ontario,” added Laurent Amram.
“With a longstanding tradition of excellence in primary and specialty care, ELNA’s broad Canada-wide network will allow for the continued expansion of MD Connected’s virtual and telemedicine services across the country. We are proud to partner with ELNA to leverage one another’s expertise and bring our collective patients a best-in-class personalized healthcare experience,” said Venky Weylagro, CEO and President of MD Connected..
About ELNA Medical
ELNA Medical is Canada’s largest integrated network of medical clinics. Focused on comprehensive care, ELNA offers a vast array of primary and specialty medical services, therapies and procedures at 95 clinics and points of care. ELNA combines its extensive medical offering with access to over 1,500 diagnostic tests, thanks to its sister company, CDL Laboratories, a leader in round-the-clock medical diagnostics for three decades. Treating more than 1.4 million Canadians every year, ELNA is true to its innovative spirit and mission of providing easily accessible and personalized medical services of the highest quality. Leveraging state of the art technologies, and strategic partnerships with renowned industry leaders, ELNA strives to provide better healthcare outcomes for Canadians.
About MD Connected
MD Connected Ltd. launched in 2017 with a mission to reduce barriers to accessing exceptional healthcare for all Canadians. MD Connected Ltd. is a virtual healthcare provider that uses advanced technologies, highly trained medical practitioners, and a secure telecommunications platform to conveniently unite healthcare professionals with patients. MD Connected has over 30 locations and has conducted hundreds of thousands of virtual visits to date.
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Relations