Many remember the fear that permeated society in the ’40s and ’50s. The fear was that their children might get polio, a disease that affected thousands of children, many of whom became paralyzed in their mobility and breathing. There was a worldwide sigh of relief when polio vaccines became a reality, and with mass vaccinations of school-aged children polio was eradicated in North America in 1979.
During the 20th century, 300 million people died from smallpox. This devastating disease was totally eradicated worldwide in 1979 as a result of vaccination. It is no longer a threat. If you are one of the small percentage of Canadians who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19, consider doing it today.
There are five rules to follow if you have trouble sleeping. These are the rules of good sleep hygiene: use a sleep diary to record how much you sleep or wake; avoid electronics in the bedroom; avoid caffeine and nicotine; exercise regularly (but not within two hours of bedtime); and if you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and do something else and return when tired.
If you are still hesitant to get your COVID shot, you might be swayed by recent scientific studies on the link between COVID-19 and new cases of diabetes type 2. More long-term studies are needed but doctors are looking at how the virus might attack the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This may provide a method by which the two diseases are linked.
The heaviest organ in the human body is the skin. It weighs about 11 lb (5 kg). For comparison, the human liver weighs about 3-4 lb (1.5-1.7 kg), the brain weighs about 3 lb (1.4 kg) and the average human kidney weighs about 5 oz (150 grams).
Witnessing someone having a seizure is scary. How can you help? Take three deep breaths to calm yourself before acting. Lay the patient on the ground on his side with something under his head. Make sure breathing is okay and remove any objects nearby that might injure. Don’t put anything in the mouth. If the person is slow to awaken or the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, call 911.
The flu season is approaching and the flu virus won’t take a holiday. It’s important to get your flu shot this year. Last year’s flu season was was very low-key with Public Health Canada confirming just 66 cases of the flu by March of this year. Protect yourself this year. Get your flu shot.
Just a reminder for people who might be hesitant to get their flu shot… you can’t get the flu from the vaccine. The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus so it can’t transmit infection. Because the flu virus mutates each year, a new vaccine is made each year to work against those mutations, so it is best to renew your flu shot each year.
Since more people are thinking of traveling again, jet lag may be a concern for some. Here’s a simple non-drug measure to help reduce this problem. If traveling east, start shifting your bedtime one hour earlier and getting up one hour earlier for a few days prior to departure. For traveling west, do the reverse. Once you arrive it’s important to follow local times for eating and sleeping.
Those infected with a cold virus are contagious about a day before symptoms appear and may remain contagious for up to two weeks. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, the cold virus will remain infectious for several hours, especially on stainless steel or plastic surfaces. This method of virus transfer is not as common as personal contact with an infected person. Wash your hands often.
Coughs sometimes linger for a long time after other symptoms have gone. Postnasal drip can irritate sensitive areas of the upper airways following a cold infection. Sometimes, an antihistamine may help reduce the postnasal drip. Throat lozenges may help also. It’s also important to keep well hydrated.
Here’s another reason to quit smoking: smokers have a greater risk of getting COVID and will experience more severe symptoms than non-smokers. Many smokers use vaping nicotine as a method of stopping smoking, but there is one caution about this method. If you must stop smoking while vaping.
Bill Coon graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto in 1984, and was the Faculty’s Centennial Scholar that same year. Bill and his pharmacist wife, Barbara, along with Paul Whitehead, opened Muskoka Medical Centre Pharmacy in 1990. Bill and Barbara, along with their business partner Jenna Whitehead, opened Campus Trail Pharmacy in 2020. The understanding that medications are only part of the health solution has led to Bill’s interest in fitness and health, both personally and professionally. Bill’s Capsule Comments provide a full range of up-to-date health information.
Muskoka Medical Centre Pharmacy is conveniently located in the Huntsville Professional Building at 348 Muskoka Road 3 North. Phone: (705) 789-1785.
The Campus Trail Pharmacy is at 39 Campus Trail, in the new Campus Trails Wellness Centre off Muskoka Rd 3 N beside The Tom condominiums. Phone: (705) 789-5331.
Read more from Bill on the Muskoka Medical Centre Pharmacy Facebook page.