New website lets Saskatchewan residents access health info online
A new website, Ehealthsask.ca has just been launched allowing Saskatchewan residents online access to a variety of personal health info.
To register, users will simply need to be over the age of 18, have a Saskatchewan health card and an SGI driver’s license or a piece of photo ID. The site offers a secure portal for a variety of health records and lab results.
Warren Kaeding, the Rural and Remote Health Minister released a statement saying that “This is a game-changer, giving patients the information they need to play an active role in their health care.” Adding that “Some provinces that offer similar programs have delays built in so that people have to wait to see their personal health information, and some provinces only provide limited lab results or require people to have a family physician in order to sign up.”
The website also has a suite of features to help users monitor their personal health. They can do this by adding personal health information to generate reports and can set up medication and appointment reminders all through the website. It also offers history of hospital and clinic visits to users. The site even offers users the ability to upload information from personal health devices such as the Fitbit line of devices.
The site claims to host a bevy of benefits for users
“Having quick and easy access to your personal health information may help you to be more:
- Proactive in managing chronic conditions and your overall health
- Informed to make better decisions about your health and care
- Engaged with health care providers
- Prepared when travelling”
President and CEO Michael Green of Canada Health Infoway, a non-profit company that helped design the site had this to say to Global News: “Patients and the health system will see significant benefits from things like fewer unnecessary phone calls and less time taken off work for routine medical appointments. More importantly, greater access to information empowers patients to be more active participants in their care, and that can result in better health outcomes.”
The province ensures users that all information on the site will be secure through a secure login. Whether other provinces will follow suit in making health records more accessible is unknown.
There are now two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada and many Canadians are wondering if they should adopt the practice wearing a face mask for the purpose of prevention.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams said in a press conference this afternoon that the Ministry of Health has “never recommended” face masks. Williams acknowledged that while other cultures practice the use of face masks, it would not benefit Canadians to use them according to The Star.
He added that one is better off to avoid putting their hands near their face than the use of face masks. Williams also recommended taking standard fly protocols to protect yourself from the coronavirus.
Face masks quickly and easily become dirty from lack of washing stated Williams, making them even more habitable for germs inside the mask, rather than what could be on the other side.
The couple who were diagnosed with coronavirus were already wearing face masks on the plane returning from China, Williams revealed. As was the person who drove the couple to their private residence.
Currently, facemasks are flying off the shelves in Toronto regardless, although Williams recommends that the simplest way to avoid the spread of coronavirus is to wash your hands, avoid touching your face and limit travel.
Public health officials said that they are looking into the passengers that were seated within a “certain distance” of the two passengers now confirmed to be infected.
All other passengers are advised to continue about their “regular business” unless they begin to experience and kind of change in their respiratory symptoms.
While the coronavirus is currently not a public health emergency, as per the World Health Organization, it’s not impossible that a novel disease could get out of hand in a hurry. I’m writing this article because, amidst all the coverage of the Wuhan virus which has quarantined 35 million and counting, I watched Contagion, thus spooking me out tenfold.
Contagion, a 2011 movie starring Matt Damon about an unknown virus that starts in China thanks to bat droppings and creeps its infected hands across the globe, paints a horrifying picture of what can happen when scientists aren’t able to keep up with a disease. (An eerily similar situation to what’s going on now, though fairly easy to predict granted China’s history with diseases.)
And while we are still nowhere close to pandemic levels, it’s still important to know what to do in a situation where the virus has landed in your country and is potentially making its way through your neighbourhood.
Before delving in, though, I want to say: do not panic, this is a hypothetical article about a very specific scenario—one that humanity has gotten pretty good at curbing. With that said: here are 10 steps you should take to minimize your chances of contracting a novel virus if things were to get that bad.
*Note, I am NOT a medical professional. These suggestions are a collection of several health websites throughout the web.
1. Protective masks
In some densely populated Asian countries, it’s not uncommon to see citizens wearing white medical masks on their faces, and in the videos circulating online of Wuhan, you’ll be quick to see just about everyone wearing one. This is because protective masks, while not fool-proof, can decrease your chances of breathing in air-borne projectiles through coughs or sneezes—if applied properly.
Professor of molecular Jonathan Bell at the University of Nottingham has said: “In one well-controlled study in a hospital setting, the face mask was as good at preventing influenza infection as a purpose-made respirator.” So strap up!
2. Washing your hands/avoid touching your face
One of the best things anyone can do to stop the spread of diseases is thoroughly washing your hands with soap and warm water. In times of real strife, it’s advised by the CDC that you wash your hands.:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
While that may seem obsessive, take this as an example: “In developing countries, childhood mortality rates related to respiratory and diarrheal diseases can be reduced by introducing simple behavioural changes, such as handwashing with soap. This simple action can reduce the rate of mortality from these diseases by almost 50 percent.”
All of this is hand-in-hand with not touching your face. The average person touches their face 23 times an hour. Avoid scratching or rubbing your face or nose with your hands, unless recently washed.
3. Avoid public transportation
Public transportation is a notorious playground for bacteria and diseases to make their way.
The combination of hoards of people, all tightly packed in tubes and all touching the same handles and doors is not ideal when avoiding an illness. But, there are a few steps you can take to make the ride a bit easier on you:
- Don’t feel the need to be polite. Don’t sit next to anyone sick. If someone that you suspect is sick sits next to you, move. There’s no need to take a risk
- Take a “seat check” before sitting down. Obviously, avoid visibly dirty seats.
- Again, the golden rule: wash your hands immediately after getting off the bus. Especially if you touched any straps, poles, belts, or other surfaces.
- Hand sanitizer aplenty, if you don’t have any way to wash your hands.
4. Glove etiquette
Gloves, though they do need to be changed fairly frequently, are a highly effective way to avoid bodily fluids. Saliva, the main culprit, can be spread easily via coughs and sneezes into hands, and then on to public transport. This is why the sleeve sneeze, or the “vampire sneeze,” is another great method to avoid getting others ill.
Other, more obvious bodily fluids to avoid include blood, vomit, urine, and feces, which all pose a higher risk of cross-contamination.
Pro tip: Avoid wearing gloves while preparing food. While this may seem like a good idea, it may actually make the odds of cross-contamination more likely. This is why many professional kitchens will opt for frequent washing rather than gloves.
5. “Extra steps”
The little things go a long way, whether it’s precautions or bacteria. There are several little things that can make a big difference, including alcohol wipes for cell phone screens. Cell phones are an often overlooked way of spreading bacteria. Avoid voice calls on your cell phone unless you’ve got a way to disinfect your screen first.
Other things you can do if you’re particularly vigilant are avoiding the handling of cash, and not allowing others to handle your debit card.
These suggested steps are still a bit further ahead in the future than the state we are currently in with coronavirus, and let’s hope we don’t ever need them. The last few notable public health crises’, (Ebola, Zika, H1N1) did do significant damage in given regions, but were all eventually contained and are all no longer considered public health risks and are now at what is considered “normal” levels.
A new study from Western University and Queens University suggests that marijuana use while pregnant may very well affect the baby’s growth.
The study, published Friday, finds a direct link between marijuana and low birth weight in babies.
Scientists say that it’s the THC in marijuana that causes stunted fetal growth and lower birth weights of up to eight percent. Researchers used rat models as well as human placental cells, wherein they gave daily marijuana use that they found led to up to a 20 percent decrease in brain and liver growth.
“Over the last decade, cannabis use has progressively increased in pregnant women, in part due to the perception that its usage poses no risk in perinatal life,” the study reads.
The study is the first of its kind that “definitively support” claims that THC can have a negative impact on fetal growth.
“This study is important to support clinicians in communicating the very real risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy,” co-author David Natale told CTV.
Scientists concede that not all is understood still, stating that there were certain mechanisms that still needed vast amounts of research. The study was able to determine that THC stunts the proper function of the placenta, which could affect oxygen flow, nutritional flow, and blood flow.
A Saskatchewan judge has charged a man with fraud under $5000 as well as property obtained by crime. Andrij Olesiuk has been found guilty after he defrauded thousands of dollars from donors who thought the money was going to the victims’ families of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash of April 6, 2018.
Olesiuk set up a GoFundMe page entitled #PrayForHumboldt that was said to be crowdfunding for the victim’s families and raised approximately $3800. A separate GoFundMe page for the same purpose raised $15.1 million dollars according to Global News.
Olesiuk took just over $3700 from the GoFundMe account and transferred it into his personal account.
Andrij, also known as Jay Max Olesiuk represented himself during the trial and stated that he had no “ill intention” with the funds raised through his crowdfunding page.
He said he didn’t believe Olesiuk’s story about the woman at his door, saying no sensible person would’ve turned over thousands of dollars. He kept the Broncos money for his own use. Olesiuk stated in his testimony that a woman came to his Martensville, Sask. doorstep on April 24 to solicit donations for a Broncos charitable event. Olesiuk claims to have given the woman $4100 that day in cash, rather than donate his fund directly to the Broncos. The accused was unable to recall the woman’s name or organization she was purportedly with.
“It is too incredible a story to believe,” said Judge Brent Klaus.
Darren Howarth, crown prosecutor argued the “mysterious woman” didn’t exist and believed Olesiuk’s defence to be “ridiculous.”
Howarth presented a transaction log that showed Olesiuk approved a $3,300 payment from GoFundMe to his account one day before the woman allegedly appeared. Olesiuk received the payment on April 25, 2018.
“What are the odds…. that this lady just happened to show up in between the dates he initiated the withdrawal and received the money?” Howarth asked.
Olesiuk defended his story claiming to have been given a receipt from the woman days later in his mailbox. However, he was unable to provide the receipt or even a copy of one as evidence during the trial. Olesiuk said he lost the receipt in a February 2019 house fire.
The defence instead presented a thank you note as an exhibit, which Olesiuk testified he received from the anonymous woman immediately after his donation. He admitted that he hadn’t previously mentioned the note to the police or crown before during cross-examination.
Olesiuk assured the court that the note was in his garage, but the RCMP carried out a search of Olesiuk’s property on November 20, 2018 and said officers never found no such note.
Olesiuk is scheduled to be sentenced on March 3.