July 29,

Tick Talk: Health Unit Wants You to be Lyme Disease Aware

July 25, 2014 - The Peterborough County-City Health Unit has launched a summer promotional campaign to raise awareness about Lyme disease and how to prevent it.

Lyme disease is a potentially serious illness and growing health threat across Ontario.  It is the most common disease spread by ticks in Canada, caused by the bite of infected blacklegg

Screen Shot 07-25-14 at 09.22 AM

ed ticks. While not all blacklegged ticks carry Lyme disease, po

pulations of infected blacklegged ticks are spreading due to climate change. This means the risk of contracting Lyme disease is on the rise across Canada.

“Locally we are closely monitoring for evidence of infected ticks in our area, so we encourage residents to check for ticks on their bodies and bring them to the Health Unit for identification,” explained Dylan Mahoney, Vector Borne Disease Prevention Program.  “Ticks can be as small as a sesame seed and their bites are usually painless, so it’s important to be on the lookout for ticks and the symptoms of Lyme disease.”

Mr. Mahoney explained that if you do locate a tick on your body, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull the tick straight out.  Save the tick in an empty screw-top bottle or zipper-closed bag and take it to the Peterborough County-City Health Unit located at 10 Hospital Drive.  The tick will then be sent away to the Ontario Public Health Laboratory for identification.

Lyme is gaining the attention of health officials because of an increase in Lyme disease cases acquired within Ontario.  Public Health Ontario reported 317 human cases of Lyme disease last year in Ontario with the majority of cases occurring during the summer months.

To help build public awareness about Lyme disease, the Health Unit has developed bus advertisements, radio ads, social media messages and online communications tools.  These materials describe how Lyme disease is spread and what precautions one can take to avoid becoming infected.  For details on precautions, and what the symptoms of Lyme disease are, please visit www.pcchu.ca, click on “My Home & Environment” and go to “Lyme Disease”.

What to do if you find a tick:

When bringing a tick to the Health Unit, please be aware that only ticks found on humans will be submitted for identification and testing.  Any ticks found on pets or other animals should be taken to a veterinarian. Once a tick has been removed from a person’s body, we ask that you place the tick in sealed container or Ziploc bag and bring into the health unit as soon as you can.

When submitting a tick you will need to provide the following information:

  • full name (including middle initial) and date of birth of the person to whom the tick was attached;
  • location on the body where the tick was found;
  • approximate length of time the tick was attached;
  • where the tick was acquired, along with recent travel history;
  • record of any symptoms; and
  • Health care provider’s name and city of practice.

A tick can be submitted to the health unit Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information on tick submission or general inquires about ticks please contact the Vector Borne Disease Program at the

 Health Unit at 705-743-1000.

-30-

 

For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

Posted in News, News Archive, What's New | Comments closed

Keeping Children Healthy at Camp

July 10, 2014 – The Peer Leaders at the Health Unit are Doing What They Can to Keep Children Healthy at Summer Camp

Screen Shot 07-10-14 at 10.05 AMWith summer now underway, the Peer Leaders at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit (PCCHU) have developed an education program for young campers and are planning to reach as many day camps as possible in and around Peterborough. These programs are meant to raise awareness and address different issues such as; sun safety, commercial tobacco use, nutrition, West-Nile virus and Lyme disease.

“Summer is a time for children to be adventurous and enjoy playing beyond the four walls of a classroom,” says Katherine Morin, the Youth Development Worker at the Health Unit. “With that in mind, the Peer Leaders and PCCHU want to ensure that children and young people in our community stay safe and protect themselves.”

Ultimately they want the children to leave camp with four lessons:

  • How to protect themselves from the sun
    • Since it is the summer, it is very important to teach the campers how to stay safe in the sun by applying enough sunscreen throughout the day and drinking lots of water;
    • Understanding the health effects of smoking
      • Since most people who use tobacco start before the age of 18 it is important to teach children, before they try tobacco products, that using commercial tobacco products is unhealthy.  Through fun and engaging activities the Peer Leaders hope to demonstrate the negative health effects of smoking and prevent young people from wanting to try tobacco products;
      • Knowing which snacks are healthy
        • The Peer Leaders will be providing a healthy snack consisting of cheese and fruit showing that a snack should contain at least two food groups. They are also showing that snack time can be fun by having the campers make food animals;  and
        •  Prevention of mosquito and ticks bites
          • The Vector- borne Disease Prevention program will also engage the children in an activity about West Nile virus and Lyme disease prevention. The three key themes include the use of bug spray, wearing long, light coloured clothing, and performing regular tick checks.

Not only is it important for children to know how to be healthy while at camp, it is also important for parents and caregivers to help their children make healthy choices.

-30-

 For further information, please contact:

Katherine Morin
Youth Development Worker
kmorin@pcchu.ca
705-743-1000 ext. 321

 

Luisa Magalhaes
Public Health Nutritionist
lmagalhaes@pcchu.ca
705-743-1000 ext. 233

Posted in News, News Archive, What's New | Comments closed

Hungry for Results

July 7, 2014 – Health Unit Unveils New Web-Based Food Safety Disclosure Program 

The Peterborough County-City Health Unit has launched a web-based disclosure program for food establishments so that members of the public can view inspection results dating back from January 2014.

The link to this new interactive tool can be found at www.pcchu.ca|My Home & Environment|My Community|Food Safety Inspection Disclosures.  From there you will be able to search a specific food premise alphabetically, by name, and/or location to view the results of the inspections conducted there.

“The food safety disclosure program’s main goal is to reduce the risk of food borne illness in the community,” explains Atul Jain, Manager of Inspection Services. “This is accomplished by providing the general public with easy access to information about inspection outcomes allowing them to make informed decisions about where to dine and for ensuring owners/operators of food premises to be in compliance with food safety regulations.”

Inspection results are summarized into seven categories as explained below:
1.     Refrigeration and Freezer Temperatures
In order to prevent bacteria growth and reduce the risk of foodborne illness food must be stored at appropriate temperatures

2.     Cooking and Hot-Holding Temperatures
Proper cooking, reheating and hot-holding temperatures can kill bacteria or prevent their growth.

3.     Food Protected From Contamination
Improper handling of food can lead to its contamination by microorganisms and chemicals.

4.     Utensils and Equipment Properly Cleaned and Sanitized
In order to prevent the spread of microorganisms, utensils, equipment and food contact surfaces must be properly cleaned and sanitized.

5.     Food Handler Hygiene (including handwashing)
Microorganisms can easily be spread from food handlers to the food they prepare. Improper personal hygiene is a significant contributor to foodborne illness.

6.     Premises Clean and Properly Maintained
Floors, walls, ceilings and countertops must not only be clean but must be made of materials that are readily cleanable. This will help reduce the spread of microorganisms and help prevent pest problems.

7.     Certified Food Handler on Staff
There are City and County Mandatory Food Handler Certification by-laws that by January 1 2015, all moderate and high risk food premises must have at least one certified food handler present in a supervisory capacity at all times when food is being handled, prepared or served. A certified food handler is someone who has successfully completed the Food Handler Training and Certification Course offered by the health unit or another approved equivalent course.

-30-

For further information, please contact:
Atul Jain
Manager, Inspection Services
705-743-1000, ext. 259

Posted in News, News Archive, What's New | Comments closed

Heat Alert Lifted for Peterborough City and County, Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations

July 2, 2014 - With the return of cooler temperatures and less humid air, the Peterborough County-City Health Unit is lifting the Heat Alert issued on Friday, June 27, 2014 for Sunday, June 29, 2014 through today July 2, 2014.

The Health Unit has adopted a series of extreme heat thresholds designed to advise the public, health professionals and community service providers on appropriate measures they can take to reduce the health effects of hot, humid and smoggy weather. These advisories, comprised of a Heat Alert, Heat Warning and Heat Emergency, are issued when a hot or humid air mass is forecast and weather related health effects may occur.

While the Heat Alert has been lifted, residents are reminded to take precautions in hot weather, including drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, keeping their homes cool and staying out of the heat whenever possible.  The Health Unit will continue to monitor the weather forecasts throughout the summer and issue heat alerts, warnings or emergencies when forecasted.  Further information about staying healthy in extreme heat conditions and the Health Unit’s Heat Alert and Response System can be found on www.pcchu.ca .

 

-30-

 

For further information, please contact:

Atul Jain
Manager, Inspection Services
705-743-1000 x 259

Posted in News, News Archive, What's New | Comments closed

Heat Alert Issued for Peterborough City and County for Sunday, June 29

June 27, 2014 –  Residents Advised to Take Precautions to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

The Peterborough County-City Health Unit is issuing the area’s first Heat Alert of the season for Peterborough City and County.  The alert is issued for Sunday, June 29. 

The Health Unit has been closely monitoring the weather forecast for this weekend and early next week. This Heat Alert is being issued to help residents prepare for the hot, humid weather in the forecast.

A Heat Alert is issued when the daytime temperatures or Humidex are forecast to be at least 36°C or 36 for two or more consecutive days without a smog advisory. Depending on changes to the weather forecast over the next few days, the Heat Alert may be elevated to a Heat Warning or lifted.

Extreme heat events are a potentially significant health risk and can have a severe impact on the health of vulnerable populations including infants, the elderly, shut-ins, persons with chronic diseases, the morbidly obese and the marginally housed.  Heat related illnesses such as: dehydration; heat cramps; heat exhaustion; and heat stroke are preventable.  Most healthy people can tolerate a short period of hot and humid weather as long as they stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.

People taking medications may be more vulnerable to extreme heat as certain medications may interfere with the body’s cooling functions and water/salt retention. People taking antihypertensives, antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-Parkinson’s agents are more likely to experience difficulty adapting to high temperatures and should consult with their healthcare provider to see if they are at an increased health risk in the heat.

In order to protect the health of people in Peterborough County and City, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation, the Health Unit advises local residents to take the following precautions:

  • Drink lots of water and natural fruit juices even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola.
  • Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat when possible. If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and plan to go out early in the morning or evening when it is cooler.
  • Go to air conditioned or cool places such as shopping malls, libraries, community centres or a friend’s place.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, keep shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows slightly open.
  • Keep lights off or turned down low.
  • Wear loose fitting, light clothing and a wide brimmed hat.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Avoid heavy meals and using your oven.
  • Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: 

  • heavy sweating
  • muscle cramps
  • weakness
  • headache
  • fainting
  • paleness, tiredness
  • dizziness, nausea

People experiencing the above symptoms should seek the care of a health care provider.

Often with forecasted extreme heat, comes forecasts for poor air quality.  The Health Unit would like to encourage residents to monitor the Air Quality Health Index found as a link on Environment Canada’s Weather page for Peterborough and plan outdoor activities accordingly http://weather.gc.ca/airquality/pages/onaq-013_e.html. This link can also be easily accessed on www.pcchu.ca in the section entitled “My Home & Environment – Air Quality – Outdoor”.

Public, air conditioned facilities such as malls, libraries and community centres are available to city and county residents seeking a place to cool off. Residents are advised to phone in advance to determine hours of operation.

-30-

 

For further information, please contact:

Donna Churipuy
Manager, Environmental Health
705-743-1000, ext. 218

 

Posted in Alerts Archive, News, News Archive | Comments closed