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Whooping Cough

There are certain medical conditions that can affect children more-so than adults – whopping cough being one of them. While it can impact adults – including those diagnosed with a chronic respiratory illness, or women who are pregnant (especially those in their third trimester) – whooping cough is most commonly seen in infants younger than 6 months of age (who aren’t yet protected by immunizations), or children and teens between aged 11 and 18 with weakened immune systems.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract that is caused by the bacterium known as Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough typically starts with mild cold-like symptoms (such as runny nose, sore throat, and slightly raised temperature.) Approximately one week after the onset of these symptoms, severe coughing spells will follow (as well as the potential to cause trouble with breathing.) These coughing spells can be rapid and uncontrolled, and can last anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks – with the spells oftentimes worsening and becoming more frequent as the illness persists.

As mentioned, whopping cough is contagious and is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, while it can also be spread by coming into contact with the infected person’s mucus or saliva.

If left untreated, whooping cough can lead to other complications – especially in babies younger than 1 year of age – and may require hospitalization. Therefore, it’s important to treat it as early as possible with antibiotics. Hospital treatment typically focuses on monitoring breathing and giving oxygen if necessary, ensuring breathing passages are clear, and preventing dehydration. In addition to treating whopping cough with antibiotics, there are other things that you can do to manage symptoms at home, such as by keeping your home free from irritants (i.e., smoke, dust, and chemical fumes), use a humidifier to help loosen mucus and soothe the cough, wash hands often, and drink plenty of fluids (i.e., water, juice, soup.)

Vaccination is the best preventative measure against whooping cough, and is recommended for all babies, children, pre-teens, and pregnant women.

Cold Air and Asthma

Cold weather and asthma can be a dangerous combination, with cold air triggering asthma symptoms and exacerbating already-existing conditions. Cold air contains less moisture than warm air, and when those with asthma are exposed to cold air, this triggers the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals in the lungs, which can lead to things like airway narrowing and increased mucus production, resulting in symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

It’s also important to note that aside from change in temperature, colds, flu, and other viruses are more common in the winter months and can lead to increased inflammation of the airways and thickened mucus in the bronchial tubes, which can also worsen symptoms or cause one to have asthma flare-ups.

We also tend to spend more time indoors during colder weather, and with the heat on, which can also expose you to more indoor allergens and irritants – including things like dust, pet dander, mold, or cigarette smoke.

The good news is that there are some steps that can be taken to help prevent and alleviate asthma symptoms.

First, make sure you’re dressing appropriately for the weather. Wearing extra layers of clothing can help keep the body warm and provide you with some insulation from the cold air. It’s also recommended that if you’re going to be outdoors, you should wear a scarf and/or some kind of face covering, as this can also help protect the airways and keep them warm, and reduce the risk of having an asthma attack. If you’re someone who suffers from severe asthma attacks, you may want to stay indoors when possible – especially during times of extreme cold.

When it comes to medicinal measures, there are options such as short-acting albuterol inhalers – also known as “rescue” inhalers – that can be taken at the first sign of symptoms to prevent them from worsening. There are also long-term control medications that can be taken daily, on a long-term basis, to help maintain control of asthma that is persistent. Examples of these types of long-term use medications include Symbicort, Flovent, Advair, and Pulmicort, just to name a few. For more information on these medications and others, click here. You can also check out www.asthma.ca for additional resources.

Maintaining Good Mental Health

Mental health is an important part of our overall health and wellbeing. Everyone experiences mental health issues from time to time, but it can be difficult to know how to boost mental health and maintain good mental health. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies and techniques that can help you to do so.

1. Get Regular Exercise: Exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to boost mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that can help to improve mood and reduce stress. Exercise can also help to improve concentration and self-esteem. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise, such as walking, running, or swimming, four or five times per week.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy diet is important for mental health. Eating a diet that’s rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help to provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Avoid processed and sugary foods, as these can lead to spikes and crashes in energy and mood.

3. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is an important part of mental health. Getting enough sleep can help to reduce stress, improve concentration, and increase energy levels. It is essential to get enough sleep every night, as insufficient sleep can have a negative impact on mental health. Aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, and create a consistent bedtime routine.

4. Spend Time With Friends and Family: Spending time with friends and family can help to improve mental health. Having that connection with others can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. It can also help to reduce stress and provide emotional support. Try to arrange regular activities with friends and family, such as going for a walk or having a meal together, or even simply spending time talking on the phone.

5. Take Time for Yourself: It’s important to make time for yourself and do things that you enjoy. Taking time for yourself helps to reduce stress and can help to improve mental health. Try to set aside time each day to do something that you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature.

6. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and deep breathing, can help to reduce stress and improve mental health. Try to practice relaxation techniques for at least 10 minutes each day.

7. Talk to Someone You Trust: Talking to someone about your feelings can help to reduce stress and improve mental health. Try to find someone you can talk to, such as a friend, family member, or professional (i.e., physician.)

By following these tips, you can help to improve and maintain your mental health.

The Negative Effects of Alcohol

While alcohol is widely popular and considered socially acceptable, it can still have dangerous effects on people’s health. From a physical standpoint, alcohol can lead to dehydration, weight gain, and damage to the internal organs; in addition to having a psychological impact.

When it comes to physical health consequences, the most common is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes an increase in urination. This can cause dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, headaches, and other physical symptoms. As the body becomes increasingly dehydrated, it becomes more difficult for the cells to function and for the brain to process information. As a result, people can become weak, dizzy, and even faint. In addition to dehydration, alcohol can cause weight gain. This happens because alcohol is high in calories, but doesn’t provide any nutritional value. As a result, people who drink heavily tend to gain weight over time. This can lead to other health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Alcohol can also affect the internal organs. The liver is especially vulnerable to damage from alcohol. Over time, heavy drinking can lead to fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. The heart is also affected by alcohol, as drinking can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. In addition, heavy drinking can lead to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that can be fatal.

When it comes to psychological health consequences, the effects of alcohol can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed. At low levels, alcohol can act as a mild sedative, leading to feelings of relaxation and decreased anxiety. At higher levels, it can act as a depressant, leading to feelings of sadness, confusion, and memory impairment. In extreme cases, it can lead to a complete loss of consciousness, with individuals unable to remember what happened or recall events that took place while drinking. Alcohol is also known to have a profound effect on an individual’s mood and behaviour. Studies have shown that alcohol can induce a range of emotions, from relaxed contentment to heightened aggression. This can lead to risk-taking behaviour, such as driving while intoxicated or engaging in dangerous activities, as well as increased impulsivity, decreased inhibitions, and impaired judgment. In extreme cases, alcohol can lead to violent behaviour, impaired decision-making, and even suicide. Long-term alcohol abuse can also lead to profound psychological effects, including depression, anxiety, and even permanent neurological damage.

Alcoholism is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the world. In addition to affecting your health, it can also contribute to relationship issues, financial difficulties, and even cause death. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. There are a variety of treatment options available, and it’s important to find the right approach for you. With the right support, it is possible to overcome the challenges of alcoholism and live a healthier, happier life.

Dry February

“Dry Feb” is a fundraiser that challenges individuals to abstain from drinking alcohol for the entire month of February as well as raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. The initiative has become increasingly popular over the years, as people look for ways to improve their health and wellness, and is a fantastic way to reset your relationship with alcohol. Many participants report feeling healthier, more in control, and better able to make healthier decisions after taking part – such as focusing on things like exercise, meditation, or socializing.

Many who take part in Dry Feb find that it helps them break bad habits and build healthier ones. For example, drinking alcohol can be a social lubricant and make it easier to go out and have a good time. During Dry February, participants can focus on activities that don’t involve drinking and still have fun.

Participants may also find that they have more energy and focus during. Alcohol can have a negative effect on sleep, concentration, and energy levels. Taking time away from alcohol consumption can help people reset their sleep patterns and give them the energy they need to stay productive and focused.

Dry February can also be a great opportunity to save money. Alcohol is often expensive, and taking a break from drinking can help participants save money that can be used for other activities, or saved for a rainy day.

If you’re considering taking part in Dry February, below are a few tips to help you make the most of the challenge.

HAVE A PLAN: Think about your goals for the month and come up with a plan for how you’ll achieve them. Make sure to set realistic goals that you can actually stick to.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS: If you know certain triggers will make it difficult to stay on track, such as going to happy hour, plan ahead and come up with a plan for how you’ll deal with them.
GET SUPPORT: Ask your friends and family to join you in the challenge and support you along the way. This can make it easier to stay on track and can help you stay motivated.
CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS: At the end of the month, take some time to reflect on the progress you’ve made and celebrate your success.

For more information on Dry Feb, visit www.dryfeb.ca

How to Stay Fit During the Winter Months

Are you having trouble staying motivated to exercise during the cold winter months? With cooler weather, it can be hard to keep up with your fitness routine. But don’t give up hope; there are plenty of ways to stay active in the winter, and below are some tips you might find helpful.

  • Dress warmly: Before you head outside for a run or to the gym, make sure you’re dressed in layers. A base layer, such as a long-sleeved shirt and tights, will keep you warm and dry. Then, top it off with a warm winter coat, hat, and gloves.

  • Exercise inside: If the weather is too cold or icy to venture outside, you can still get in a good fitness routine. Look up local gyms or community centres to find indoor classes. From yoga to Zumba to spinning, there are plenty of options to keep you moving and motivated.

  • Get creative: If you don’t want to brave the cold or you can’t make it to the gym, get creative. Utilize your living room and furniture to do exercises like squats, lunges, and planks. You can even try out a new exercise video or YouTube tutorial for a different change of pace.

  • Switch it up: If you’re feeling bored or uninspired, try a new type of exercise. Winter activities like snowshoeing, skiing, and ice skating can be fun and a great way to stay active. Or, if you’re not up for the cold, look for classes like Pilates, barre, or boxing.

  • Set goals: Make a plan for yourself and set realistic goals. Whether it’s running a certain distance every week or taking one new exercise class a month, having specific goals will help you stay motivated.

Winter doesn’t have to mean the end of your fitness routine. With a few simple tips, you can keep your exercise goals on track even during the colder months. So bundle up, find a class or activity you enjoy, and stay active this winter!

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Mental health refers to a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. Mental illness is an umbrella term used to describe any type of mental health condition that affects a person’s mental or emotional well-being. Common types of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); while other mental health conditions include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders and phobias. All of these can affect a person’s overall sense of wellbeing, impacting their ability to work, study, interact with others and handle everyday activities.

Mental health is important at all stages of life; from childhood and adolescence all the way through to adulthood. Over the course of a lifetime, if left untreated, mental health conditions can worsen, leading to increased stress, decreased ability to handle day-to-day tasks, and a diminished quality of life. Fortunately, there are a number of different treatments available to help people with mental health conditions.

Mental health treatment can take a variety of forms, depending on the individual’s needs and the severity of their condition. Treatment options may include:

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is a form of mental health treatment that focuses on helping individuals recognize and work through their emotional and psychological issues. During psychotherapy, an individual can explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an effort to understand their mental health issues, any triggers, and work toward making positive changes.
  • Medication: Medication can be used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Medication can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning, but is not a replacement for psychotherapy – just as psychotherapy should also not be used as a replacement for medication. The two are commonly used in conjunction with one another.
  • Support Groups: Support groups provide individuals with the opportunity to talk with and learn from others who may be experiencing similar mental health issues. Support groups can provide a sense of community and help individuals feel supported in their recovery, and can also be a good way to make new friends.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and managing stress can help improve mental health. It can also be beneficial to set goals, practice self-care, and find ways to stay connected with others.
  • Alternative Treatments: Alternative treatments, such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture can be helpful in improving mental health. However, it’s important to speak with a medical professional before trying any alternative treatments.

Mental health treatment should be tailored to the individual’s needs. It is important to discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to determine the best approach. It is also important to remember that if you are diagnosed with a mental illness, it is not something to be ashamed of. Mental health conditions are common and can affect people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. Seeking help for a mental health condition is an important step in taking care of yourself and should be seen as a sign of strength, not weakness.

Types of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive form of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia, and is ranked among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada. It is is a complex disease, and there are several different types that can be diagnosed.

The first type of Alzheimer’s is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s, which is diagnosed in people under the age of 65. Early-onset Alzheimer’s is relatively rare, but it is typically more aggressive, and can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life.

The second type of Alzheimer’s is late-onset Alzheimer’s. This is the most common type of Alzheimer’s that is diagnosed, and is found in those over the age of 65. Late-onset Alzheimer’s is typically slower and less aggressive compared to early-onset Alzheimer’s, but it can still have a major impact.

The third type of Alzheimer’s is known as familial Alzheimer’s. This form of Alzheimer’s is inherited, and is typically caused by a mutation on one of three genes. Familial Alzheimer’s is relatively rare, and tends to have an earlier onset than other forms of Alzheimer’s.

The fourth type of Alzheimer’s is known as posterior cortical atrophy. This form of Alzheimer’s is typically characterized by a slower onset and a more gradual decline in mental abilities. It is often associated with visual problems, such as difficulty recognizing faces or objects.

Finally, the fifth type of Alzheimer’s is known as mixed dementia. This type of Alzheimer’s is a combination of different types of dementia, such as vascular dementia and others. Mixed dementia is often harder to diagnose, so it is important to seek medical advice if you are exhibiting any signs or symptoms.

The most common signs and symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s are as follows:

1. Memory loss
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
3. Problems with speech
4. Disorientation
5. Poor or decreased judgment
6. Problems with abstract thinking
7. Misplacing things
8. Changes in mood or behavior
9. Changes in personality
10. Loss of initiative

No matter what type of Alzheimer’s you have, early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and can help a person maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, as well as resources that can be of benefit to you and your family, visit the Alzheimer Society of Canada website at www.alzheimer.ca.

Vitamin & Mineral Sources

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients our bodies need in order to develop and function at its fullest potential. Without these important nutrients, it’s possible to experience a wide range of unpleasant symptoms, including fatigue and weakness and/or light-headedness, hair loss, pale skin, constipation, and even trouble breathing – and while there are supplements you can take to ensure you’re getting some of the essential nutrients that your body requires, the best sources of vitamins and minerals often come straight from the foods we eat.

When it comes to vitamins, these are separated into two different categories: Water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble means that the body will expel what it doesn’t absorb, while fat-soluble is where left-over amounts are stored as reserves in the liver and fat tissues.

Water-soluble vitamins consist of:

• Vitamin B1
• Vitamin B2
• Vitamin B3
• Vitamin B5
• Vitamin B6
• Vitamin B7
• Vitamin B9
• Vitamin B12
• Vitamin C

Fat-soluble vitamins consist of:

• Vitamin A
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin K

The best food sources of water-soluble vitamins include things like fruits and vegetables (i.e. citrus fruit, watermelon, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, potatoes, fortified and whole grains, as well as enriched grains and cereals, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, soy, meat, poultry, fish; while good food sources of fat-soluble vitamins also include certain fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, cabbage, pumpkins, mangoes, certain meats and fish such as beef and shrimp, nuts, and vegetable oils.

Like vitamins, minerals are also separated into two different categories: Major and trace. While “major” minerals aren’t necessarily considered to be more important trace, the difference between the two is that one provides greater amounts to your body. Just like vitamins, minerals also come from many of the same foods you would consume – though the types of foods you should eat all depend on the type of vitamins and minerals you’re looking for, but it’s always good to ensure that your plate consists of a variety of food so that you’re getting a variety of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. You can learn more about the specific functions and sources of minerals by clicking here.

As for supplements, certain people may need them. For example, if you’re on diet that is restrictive of calories, you’re likely not getting enough vitamins and minerals and therefore would require a supplement; while individuals who are sick or recovering from surgery, are of a certain age (over 50, for example), have food allergies, are pregnant or breastfeeding may also need a vitamin and mineral supplement. If you’re feeling unwell and cannot pinpoint the exact reason why, it’s a good idea to see your physician for an examination. He or she will likely order bloodwork to determine the root cause of why you’re not feeling well, and this bloodwork may or may not detect a deficiency, such as low iron.

Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is considered a fat-soluble vitamin. It acts as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage that is caused by free radicals, which are compounds that form when our bodies convert what we eat into energy. One of the most common uses for Vitamin E is to prevent or treat certain diseases and illnesses, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer (including lung cancer, oral cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer), as well as fight inflammation, balance hormones, and reduce PMS symptoms (such as cramping, cravings, and even anxiety.) Some people also use Vitamin E for diseases of the brain and nervous system (such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia), Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and restless leg syndrome.)

Vitamin E also has some surprising uses and benefits that you might not be aware of. If you have dry, itchy skin, Vitamin E oil is one of the best moisturizers you can use. Regular use of Vitamin E oil, especially on the hands, can keep the skin supple and prevent it from cracking. Vitamin E oil can also be used on chapped lips for the same reason. If you suffer from hair loss or want to promote quicker hair growth, Vitamin E can also be helpful. When applied to the hair and scalp, it stimulates capillary growth and widens blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the hair follicles. It can also reduce split ends and give your hair a more shiny, voluminous look without needing to use any store-bought products. If you develop stretch marks as a result of pregnancy or changes with your weight (such as weight gain), you can also benefit from using Vitamin E, as it can reduce the visibility of stretch marks, as well as reduce the visibility of scars. The best way to do this is to massage Vitamin E oil directly into the skin, where the stretch marks or scarring is visible, for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Vitamin E is also an excellent remedy for brittle nails. While brittle nails are usually a part of the body’s natural aging process, applying a small amount of Vitamin E oil to you nails daily before bed can reduce the risk of breaking or cracking nails.

If you’re wondering how you can find Vitamin E, there are two different ways. The easiest way would be through the foods you eat. Things like almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, butternut squash, trout, palm oil and olive oil contain the most Vitamin E. If these foods aren’t appealing to you or if you are allergic to any of these foods, you can also get Vitamin E through a supplement, which can be found at most drug stores as well as some health food and vitamin stores.