Friday, October 31, 2014

Get a flu shot! It can't hurt, might help

Fluwatch season
What do you think? I think too many have been harmed by clueless public celebrities who do not know the truth.
Get a shot.
get a flushot!
Week 42

Three Albertans have died from the flu this season

Three Albertans — two in Edmonton and one in the province’s South zone — have died from the flu so far this season. Nearly two weeks after flu vaccination clinics opened across the province, Alberta Health Services issued its first numerical flu update of the season on Thursday.
  • three deaths,
  • 30 Albertans have been admitted to hospital
  • 66 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza A so far
  • 8 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza B

  1. This year's more virulent Eterovirus seems on the wane

    Toronto Star-Oct 19, 2014Share
    By: Joseph Hall News reporter, Published on Sun Oct 19 2014 ...Ontario has had more than 160 confirmed cases. It has been linked to seven deaths in the U.S., though none in Canada. ... yet far less ballyhooed viral threat — the annual influenza that kills tens of thousands across the continent each year — is in the offing.

Flu shot promotion goes 'viral'

The Sudbury Star-Oct 28, 2014Share
Ontario offers a free flu shot to individuals aged six months and older. ... universal influenza immunization program prevents 300 deaths, 1, 000 ...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Guest Post: A Forensic/Medical Author’s Take on Ebola and the CDC

Outbreak… Breakdown
A Forensic/Medical Author’s Take on Ebola and the CDC

My book, Louisiana Fever, involves the spread of a bleeding disease known as Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever. This is a real disease that, like its close relative, Ebola, is caused by an infectious virus.  And having researched this thoroughly (and having come from a forensic/health background) I feel compelled to weigh in on the Ebola outbreak.

When I was plotting Louisiana Fever, I figured I ought to have a character in the book that was once an infectious disease specialist at the CDC.  It seemed like a logical idea because the CDC is this country’s unquestioned champion against virulent organisms, an organization staffed with experts that know every nuance of tropical viruses and how they can be controlled.

To make sure my writing about the CDC would have an authentic ring to it, I asked the public relations office of the CDC if I might be given a tour of the place.  “Sorry,” I was told.  “We don’t give tours.” Considering how many dangerous viruses are stored in the various labs there, that seemed like a good policy, even to me.  So there would be no tour.  But then I heard from someone in my department at the U. of Tennessee Medical Center that one of our former graduate students now worked at the CDC.  I began to wonder if this connection might work to my advantage. 

And it certainly did.  The former student was now a virology section chief. A SECTION CHIEF…. Holy cow! This could be my way in.  But would the man be generous by nature and sympathetic to writers? He proved to be both of those.

On the day of my visit, I reported to the security office as instructed. There, I had to wait until my host came to escort me into the bowels of the place… no wandering around on my own with a visitor’s badge. That day I saw the hot zone in action and spoke with experts in many fields of virology, even spent some time with the world expert on porcine retroviruses.  At the end of my visit—including all the cumbersome clinical protocols I had to engage in both before and during said visit—I not only left feeling more educated, but actually more safe and secure that no tropical virus would ever be a threat to this country… not with the meticulous, detail-oriented, security conscious, microbe fighters at the CDC watching out for us.      

So, it’s with much regret and… yes, even a little fear, that I witnessed the head of the CDC recently assuring us that the Ebola virus is very difficult to transmit and that we know exactly how to control it. Instead of (what looked like) his clumsy attempts to soothe an ignorant and paranoid public, the CDC head should have given a blunt assessment, educated everyone like adults, and encouraged them to exercise precaution. Then, seemingly in answer, two nurses who cared for the index patient from Liberia become Ebola positive.  And the CDC clears one of those nurses to take a commercial airline flight, even though she was in the early stages of Ebola infection…depressing.  From a medical professional standpoint, this was practically criminal negligence. At present, the disease is not transmitted by air ("airborne"), but any scientist worth his/her salt cannot account for mutations the virus may undergo.  This is why the job of the CDC is to contain harmful microbes, issue protocols to protect the public against them and ultimately eradicate them... period.  It is not to be PR professionals for television cameras and fostering carelessness.
Guest author: D.J. Donaldson

I’m still convinced that the combined knowledge and brainpower of the CDC staff will be a major impediment to any virus taking over this country.  But Ebola probably has some tricks we haven’t seen yet. That means we may lose a few more battles before we can declare that this particular threat is behind us.

Meanwhile, how is development of that Ebola vaccine coming?

D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center—where he taught and published dozens of papers on wound-healing and other health issues.  He is the author of Louisiana Fever, one of the seven in the Andy Broussard/Kit Franklyn series of forensic mystery thrillers.

Louisiana Fever  |  Amazon  |  B&N      |  Apple   |  Kobo   

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This is my stress test

Stress test from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Caregivers really need to look after themselves. I had a Stress test, as I was getting high blood pressure, and chest pains. The stress test told us that it is, indeed, stress and I'm working on bringing down my BP.

I'm doing massage, relaxation, lots of quiet walks in the forest. Just sitting, petting the cat helps, too.
When worries pop in my mind, I blow them away and live in the present.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

End of life care

Ensuring a Better Ending
     Having a family conversation about your end of life wishes and putting them in writing ( advance directive) is the first step. The second is to have the basic skills on how to care for someone at the end of life.
9/10 people want to be kept at home if terminally ill. We need to help those patients and families to accomplish this.

I have been a registered nurse for over 10 years. Most of my career has been with working with end of life patients and their loved ones. The skill of caring for those who are at the end has become lost over the last 100 years. It is time we bring it back.

There Are 3 Phase of End of Life Care

The Shock Phase-  This is when someone first gets a terminal diagnosis.
What you can do: Remember that this person has just lost all control over their life. Being a great listener and giving them back control of as much decision making is key. Ask "What can i do for you?" Be a supportive presence and let them direct their needs. This is the same for the loved ones. Remember that everyone attached to this patient is going through this experience and needs support. 
2) The Stabilization Phase- This is where all the acute issues ex. pain, nausea, etc. have been stabilized and the patient has the highest quality of life. It is the time where conversations can be had. Closure and Forgiveness are key elements
in this phase. The stabilization phase is where the "work" can get done. We never know how long we will have in this phase. Peace and serenity are vital to a positive passing. Saying what needs to be said is so important.

3) The Transition Phase- This is where the body starts to systematically shut down. It is usually the time where the patient will go into a "sleeping coma" before they die. This period can go very fast and have many changes.
What can you do: Knowing that our bodies tend to shut down the same way is a beautiful fact that connects us all. Not everyone will experience every step, but we can anticipate what we may see and what we can suggest for comfort. Even telling a family that what they are seeing ( for example rapid breathing)  is a natural part of the end of life experience helps tremendously.

Examples of Transitioning are:
1) Patients will lose the ability/desire to eat/swallow
2)patients may become restless
3)sleep most of the time
4)talk about seeing past loved ones
5) become incontinent

It is our goal to have as many people trained with the skill of caring for those at end of life as possible. The Goal: To have this phase in our loved ones lives as positive as possible.

Please Join me for my COMPLIMENTARY 30 minute WEBINAR  on Thursday, October 30th at 7PM ET. REGISTER AT

ENROLLMENT is now open for The on-line  END OF LIFE DOULA TRAINING
LEVELS 1,2 & 3

Ticks and Lyme Disease - we should monitor them

It's good to see this being done. Kingston isn't that far away. They don't accept ticks around
here any more. I'm not sure why.

We don't need to go out and collect them. Dorah cat brought home three ticks yesterday. I don't know if she doesn't feel them crawling on her body. Buster seems to be out the most, brings home the least, but I think he grooms them off of himself. Daisy is having them less frequently.
With the long winter, we harvested about half the numbers from last year (2013 = 89). It killed a lot of them off, thankfully.

Dressed in what looked like haz-mat suits, public health nurses spent much of the day on Sept. 25 dragging pieces of fabric through the woods at Parrott's Bay Conservation Area west of Kingston.

The work was the start of what is to be an ongoing effort by Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health to get a better look at how prevalent lyme disease is in the Kingston area and where are the higher risk areas. 
Dorah and a tick

 Since 2006, the public health unit accepted ticks from members of the public who found them on their bodies. That informal collection system helped public health keep track of lyme disease in the Kingston area. The new program is designed to take that effort farther. "Developing an active surveillance process, like the one we've got here, allows us to go looking for ticks," said Dr. Ian Gemmill, the medical officer of health for KFL&A Public Health.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


CCC logoccc free media registration



WHEN: OCt. 25 - 28

  • Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Lack of physical activity, tobacco use, poor diets, inappropriate advertising of poor food and beverage choices to children and excessive consumption of sugar, particularly in sugary drinks, and salt. HSF Lecturer Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C.’s provincial health officer, opens the Congress by looking at how our health system is threatened with being flooded by these challenges ─ and how health professionals can lead the push for changes to the environment that contribute to these deep-seated problems.
  • How do mental health disorders impact your risks for heart disease or stroke?Study investigates how psychiatric medications, unhealthy behaviours and issues accessing care impact one’s risk.
  • When it comes to the blood used for heart surgery...does age matter? A study looking at the age of stored blood used for transfusions in over 2,000 heart surgery patients has some surprising results.
  • Ethnicity and heart disease: A Toronto study looks at the widely varying differences in Canada’s ethnic groups’ risks for developing heart disease – and at their awareness of what is and isn’t a risk factor.
  • Robotically assisted bypass surgery: A look at the impressive results of this rapidly evolving technology, which is now being used in Vancouver, Montreal and London.
  • First Canadian recommendations on inherited high cholesterol: If not detected early, inherited high cholesterol can lead to severe cardiac disease and death at an early age, but if detected early it is so eminently treatable you can essentially normalize the patient’s cardiovascular risk. Establishment of a national registry and family-screening program aims to save lives.
  • Women play dangerous waiting game with heart symptoms: Study looking at how people perceive their heart symptoms and at what stage they are prompted to seek medical care, finds that women are putting their lives at risk by how they respond to their symptoms.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Questions to ask your healthcare team

Navigation can be tricky
 Your family or primary doctor will refer you to a specialist, you wait a week or two, or a month or two, and finally get in to see him or her.

In the meantime, you've forgotten all of the things that happened. This is why I counsel all of my clients to visit a doctor with either your spouse, a family member or a family friend. In case you do not have anyone to accompany you, you can talk to Community Home Support in your area and ask for a volunteer to go with you. I have done this many times. I've been with clients to see a family doctor, the Pain Clinic in Ottawa, the Heart Institute, a Communicable Disease specialist, as well as other individual specialists.

How many hours waiting?
Your doctor will ask: When did you first begin noticing symptoms?
How often do you have symptoms?
Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?

This list is appropriate for all patients. 
  1. Write down symptoms, use an agenda, notebook or planner, filling extra notes. 
  2. Save the list from the pharmacy, which lists all of your prior medications. Tape it into your agenda.
  3. Write down all over-the-counter medications. They may be important, including vitamins and other supplements, e.g., creams, herbs, lotions.
  4. take notes
  5. Create questions for your doctor. They may include: 

  • What might be causing my signs and symptoms? 
  • Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis? 
  • What treatment approach do you recommend? 
  • What are the side effects from this treatment?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary treatment approach that you're suggesting? 
  • What health routines do you recommend to improve my symptoms?
What I've found is the busy specialists often fail to speak slowly and clearly, rushing through to get to the next client. They have no idea if their patient understands what they are saying, either due to dementia (a hidden symptom for many people) or a physical barrier, such as a hearing impairment.
It is up to us to ask the right questions, get answers we understand, and feel valued.

  1. What might be causing my signs and symptoms? 
  2. What is my diagnosis? (Write this down, and ask how to spell it.)
  3. Are (other) tests justified to confirm the diagnosis? 
  4. Which treatment approach do you recommend, or are there other options? 
  5. What are the side effects from these treatment(s) on my quality of life?
  6. What health routines do you recommend to improve my symptoms? (E.g., exercise, diet, nutritional supplements, massage, complementary therapies.)
  7. Are there others who can provide assistance? (E.g., specialist, pharmacist or a naturopath.)
  8. Are there any other sources of funding for these treatments?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

FLU Season 2014/15 - Canadian Fluwatch has begun!

With all the attention on Ebola, and zero cases in Canada, we should turn our attention to those more common viruses, like the flu.

There are a lot of infectious diseases that deserve as much attention as Ebola.

Flu has hospitalized many (22,492 Canadians), and killed 1333 since 2009. These are only those cases which were tested and confirmed.

Enterovirus D-68  has begun to increase, for example.
On October 16, 2014 the British Columbia Centre for Disease ControlExternal link confirmed that a young man who died earlier this week had EV-D68. The patient had a history of severe asthma and was in the hospital when he developed respiratory failure.

The barrier to education and good practices is that it isn't mandatory for the provinces and territories for reporting of all of the viruses to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML).

As of October 6, 2014, a total of 75 specimens tested positive for EV-D68 at the NML, with specimen collection dates between August and September 2014, and were received from several provinces across Canada. One person has died.

What did we learn from SARS?

After SARS, the more expensive protective gloves were replaced with the previous, lesser quality ones, I heard in a CBC radio interview with an ER nurse.
We have learned about the efficacy of hand washing. Patients are learning to demand this from their healthcare workers.

Infectious Diseases - Public Health Agency of Canada

They manage reports by weeks, and flu season has started! This, of course, only includes those who have had tests confirmed for influenza. Many of us are home sick (I hope) rather than out at work.

 Figure 3. Number of positive laboratory tests for other respiratory viruses by report week, Canada, 2014-15
Week 40 tests positive

Chart Key
What do you think? I think Ebola is getting far more attention than it deserves. 

Look at the cases in long-term care, vs. hospital.
  • In week 39, five influenza outbreaks were reported in long-term care facilities
  • Two outbreaks of influenza-like illness in schools.
  • One outbreak of A(H3N2) in another facility were also reported in the same week. No new outbreaks were reported in week 40.
With all the attention on Ebola, and zero cases in Canada, we should turn our attention to those viruses, like the flu.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Parkinson Support Group –Look for one in your community!

  • Have you been diagnosed with Parkinson’s? 
  • Are you supporting a person with Parkinson’s? 
  • Would you like to learn more about the illness? 
  • Would you like to talk with others in a similar situation?

Consider joining a:

for people with Parkinson’s
and their carepartners

Perth Parkinson Group
Last Monday of every month
1:30 p.m.

40 Sunset Blvd., Suite D, Perth, ON

This local support group for people living in Perth and surrounding communities is a partnership with Community Home Support Lanark County. This group provides a supportive environment where questions are answered, ideas for coping are shared, and friendships are formed. This group can help you cope with your emotions, frustrations and changes that may accompany Parkinson’s disease.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dying With Dignity: what a powerful day!

Our Voices for Choice
Resounded Across the Nation

Yesterday, hundreds of Canadians from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver, British Colombia, and 7 other cities in between, rallied in support of assisted dying. 

Missed the hearing? Watch the podcast here.

Thousands more have signed the pledge and we continue to build our voice through social media. We raised our collective voices and stood in solidarity with Gloria Taylor, Kay Carter, Sue Rodriguez and many others who wished for an assisted death.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada heard compelling testimony in support of assisted dying. Although it will likely be months before a decision is released, it's clear that this is a discussion that is not going away.

Today, we continue onward as there is still so much to do. In the past three months, Dying With Dignity Canada has hired new staff; commissioned with Ipsos Reid, the most comprehensive national poll ever conducted on the issue of assisted dying, and with the help of dozens of dedicated volunteers, organized the first ever National Day of Action and Solidarity in support of assisted dying.

Friends, our work is not done yet. 

Tomorrow and in the months to come, we need to continue our work to make sure the Canadian public and our leaders recognize the magnitude of support for assisted dying. We could not have gotten this far without you, our generous supporters. Please donate now to help us keep the momentum going.

With appreciation and hope,
Wanda Morris, CEO
Dying With Dignity Canada