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The flu is an acute respiratory infection that brings along a fever, cough, chills, aches and pains, and can lead to serious complications like pneumonia. For the elderly, pregnant women, chronically ill or young children, influenza can be deadly. It kills around 3,500 people per year in Canada.
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Over the last few years, triclosan has been the subject of much debate. Those in favour of these products hail their ability to keep bacteria at bay. Those against suggest there is no real benefit in everyday consumer home use whereas the risks -- both to humans and the environment -- are too great.
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The spread of infectious diseases at large events, also known as mass gatherings has become a major concern as a result of numerous outbreaks. The issue has become so great mathematical models have been developed to predict an outbreak depending on the event.
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If you ever suspect that your doctor, nurse or other health-care provider forgot to use the hand sanitizer, by all means raise the question. But, in reality, most patients in your situation are reluctant to do so. Surveys going back almost a decade found that Ontario patients didn't want to be placed in the role of a police officer to ensure that doctors and nurses wash their hands.
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Disinfection keeps our environment clean. Social distancing allows us to stay clear of those who are contagious. Then there is the use of barrier protection, such as masks, gloves, and yes, condoms, to prevent any chance of a pathogen from harming us. But the best and by far the easiest is a short and sweet practice known as hand hygiene.
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December is now in full swing as are all the activities related to the holiday season. From shopping, to parties, to those getaways to escape the cold, Canadians are moving and mingling. Sadly, this time also marks an upwards shift in the number of respiratory infections.
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As we say goodbye to the warmth of the fall and hello to winter, our thoughts turn to the season known as the holidays. We will undoubtedly hear of and be invited to a number of work parties, family gatherings, and social soirees. But while these moments may lead to our hearts being comforted, for many this season, another sensation may occur: gastrointestinal upset.
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The complaints of a cold, the dread of diarrhea, and vexation of vomiting are all part of a child's growing up process. But one of the keys to a happy school year is to have these unfortunate events happen as infrequently as possible. For that, kids have to be hygienic and stay that way.
However, one action, hand hygiene, learned in our youth has an incredible ability to keep us healthy, but also to ensure an even safer world. Because of this link between hand hygiene and health, the WHO has set aside May 5th as a day for celebration of this part of our daily life.
October also brings in a day that commemorates what should be a part of our daily activities but for many is either forgotten or simply ignored: handwashing. It's not a surprise as handwashing is not considered -- other than perhaps in the public health field -- to be an incredibly important part of living.
According to some advertisements, back to school is the most wonderful time of the year. But for many parents, the dawn of the school year can also mark a much less joyous time, filled with sniffles, coughs, and diarrhea.
Anyone who has suffered from pneumonia -- or witnessed a loved one battle with the illness -- knows how scary the episode can be. The lungs fill with fluid, breathing becomes difficult and at times impossible, requiring hospitalization, and without proper treatment, the consequences can be dire. Like many illnesses, this too can be traced back to a germ.
Of all the places to which sun seekers migrate, none is as popular as the beach or swimming pool. For many, there is nothing quite like becoming one with the water. Unfortunately, the escape comes with its own challenges, namely that of infections.
On May 5th, the WHO will be celebrating its annual SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands day to mark its campaign to help save lives from infections in healthcare. While the association between infections and having clean hands had been known there was little indication that it could have been this bad.