Madely Health Headlines Commentary for April 9, 2010
Madely Health Headlines Commentary for April 9, 2010
Many diseases can alter the appearance of our fingernails and toenails. Curvature changes, discolourations, lines and pits are clues used to diagnose various conditions.
Mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE) remains in the news, with two more cases reported in cattle this month in Alberta.
All the ingredients for a potential health calamity are present
The tsunami survivors face great health challenges. To date there have not been reports of epidemics of cholera or other infectious diseases. However, the massive aid pouring into the affected regions is designed to address the health risks that have the potential to cause further harm.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen Friday, November 12, 2004 Original Title: Infection control for dummies Infection control can be a complicated matter, especially for viruses that spread as easily as the flu. The flu can spread through direct hand-to-hand contact, via airborne droplets (fomites) after a sneeze, and with contact with recently touched surfaces [...]
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen October 18, 2004 Original Title: The HN factor New information and reports of bird flu have shifted attention to the possibility of a new flu pandemic. The most lethal pandemic in our history occurred from 1917 to 1919 killing an estimated 20 million to 50 million people.
With the beginning of the school year, cold viruses, potential allergens and other infections are ready to greet our children at the door.
Hippocrates (460?-377 BC) described it in his written observations. Ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures refer to this disease. Outbreaks often coincide with warfare, mass migrations and other societal disruptions. The British blamed “bad air” in the mid 1800’s India for a disease that killed many of their nationals. This mala aria (from the Italian) has killed more soldiers in the 20th century wars than bullets. The World health Organization reported 270 million worldwide cases and one million deaths in 1998.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen June 11, 2004 Original Title: Stay away from Puss ‘n Boots We live with a multitude of bacteria and parasites in our environment. Many do not cause disease in healthy individuals.
They have exotic names but they are less than endearing. Intestinal parasites come in all shapes and sizes. Each has its own way of taking advantage of the body’s metabolism and anatomy.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen February 29, 2004 Originally titled: “Common Skin Infections” Bacterial skin infections are a common reason why people consult their family doctor. Each infection has its own specific treatment.
Southern vacations beckon during the long winter months. Depending on the destination, there may be certain vaccination and malaria- prevention measures that will reduce the traveller’s risk of debilitating disease. Many, however, wait too long before they visit a doctor for a travel medicine consultation.
Streptococcus, staphylococcus, E. coli, rhinovirus, Norwalk (gastroenteritis) and Coxsackie virus (Hand, Foot and Mouth disease) among others routinely contaminate our hands through the course of our daily activities. Our old soap standby does not eliminate germs as well as we think it does. Hand washing is a little more complicated than it seems.
Times like these sharpen our attention to the frailties of life. The SARS outbreak illustrates the public perception of risk.When faced with a death rate of three to four per cent, we all want to be able to protect our family and friends from harm.
As warmer weather approaches, children will be spending more time playing outdoors. So will dogs.
We are in the midst of several disease outbreaks of great concern to all. The lack of definitive information creates fear and anxiety. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) posted alerts about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/) and information about the upcoming season of West Nile virus infection (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm). Information puts risk in perspective.
How have society’s changing attitudes about sexual activity and responsibility affected our teenage children?
The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, a U.S. non-profit group promoting sexual abstinence outside marriage, lists the devastating toll laissez-faire attitudes have had on our teens.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen January 28, 2003 Original Title: Oh I do so like squeezing bubblewrap The problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics remains a major public health concern. Last week’s column reviewed several measures to reverse this trend. Yet despite public education, there remains an expectation at times that antibiotics will eliminate [...]
Educational campaigns alerting physicians and the public about the dangers of indiscriminant prescribing and use of antibiotics is beginning to raise awareness of the problem. This is a worldwide health issue. In many developing countries, prescriptions are not a requirement to purchase antibiotics. In the West, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in livestock and fish further complicates matters.
Recent reports of three cruise ship outbreaks of viral diarrheal illness (gastroenteritis) bring into focus how easily infections spread. Each ship had hundreds of passengers who fell ill. Carnival’s cruise ship Fascination, Disney’s Magic and Holland America’s Amsterdam all underwent extensive decontamination procedures.
At the end of October, the Flu vaccine will be available in our region. Many will opt to forego an inexpensive and safe approach to preventing a disease that causes significant misery and death. Some fear the vaccine causes the flu; others take the chance that it will pass them by and many others will roll up their sleeves. Why should we protect ourselves? The historical record provides an excellent answer.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen October 15, 2002 Original Title: Daycare Part III: A little red in the face Part I – Why children fight one cold after another Part II – Children’s eye diseases spread quickly What are the common childhood rashes seen in the school and daycare setting? Initially, many rashes can [...]
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen October 8, 2002 Original Title: Daycare Part II: Run, Run, Run, as Fast as You Can Part I – Why children fight one cold after another Part III – Childhood rashes hard to diagnose at first Last week, the effects of the common cold and ear infections topped the [...]
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen July 4, 2001 We know all too well the pain and suffering the victim, their families and friends endure from the scourge of AIDs. Imagine it’s the year 2051 and there is a vaccine for AIDs. AIDs has been virtually eliminated. Small outbreaks continue to occur but for the [...]