15. 11. 2018
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Effort to curb overuse of antibiotics in cold, flu season

Effort to curb overuse of antibiotics in cold, flu season

WASHINGTON – It’s cold season and the miserable trudge in seeking antibiotics because their mucus turned green, or the cough has nagged for weeks.

Despite years of warnings, doctors still overprescribe antibiotics for acute respiratory infections even though most are caused by viruses that those drugs cannot help.

Now doctors are getting new tips on how to avoid unnecessary antibiotics for these common complaints — and to withstand the patient who’s demanding one.

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Sure bronchitis sounds scary. So describe it as a chest cold. And no, colour changes don’t mean it’s time for an antibiotic.

“Antibiotics are terrific. Thank God we have them for really bad things. But we need to be judicious in the way we use them,” said American College of Physicians President Dr. Wayne J. Riley, an internal medicine professor at Vanderbilt University.

Rather than sending patients off with little advice about what to do while their bodies fight off a virus, how about a prescription instead for some over-the-counter or home remedies that just might ease the cough or the pain?

READ MORE: Flu vaccine only 23 per cent effective this season, CDC says

“We’re calling for the symptomatic prescription pad,” Riley said, describing information sheets that suggest simple aids like humidifiers and plenty of fluid, have a space to scribble directions for an OTC drug — and tell patients when to return if they’re not getting better. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a sample on its website.

Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness, and inappropriate prescribing is one factor. Repeated exposure can lead germs to become resistant to the drugs. The CDC estimates that drug-resistant bacteria cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

Another reason not to use them unnecessarily: side effects. Antibiotics are implicated in 1 of 5 emergency-room visits for bad drug reactions, CDC says. Particularly troubling is an increase in severe diarrhea caused by C-diff, the Clostridium difficile bug that can take hold in the gut after antibiotics kill off other bacteria.

CDC has seen improvement from pediatricians in antibiotic prescribing but overuse remains a big problem for adults, especially with respiratory illnesses, said Dr. Lauri Hicks, who heads CDC’s “Get Smart” antibiotic education campaign.

READ MORE: Flu vaccine offered little or no protection in Canada this year

Monday’s guidelines, from CDC and the American College of Physicians, move beyond simple statements that antibiotics don’t work for viruses like the common cold or the flu. They lay out how doctors begin deciding if antibiotics are warranted for some other common respiratory complaints, explain that decision to patients and offer guidance on symptom relief.

Among the advice, published in Annals of Internal Medicine:

—Acute bronchitis is airway inflammation, irritation that makes you cough, sometimes as long as six weeks. The guidelines say not to perform special testing or prescribe antibiotics unless pneumonia is suspected, something often accompanied by a fast heartbeat, fever or abnormal breathing sounds.

Over-the-counter symptom relief includes cough suppressants such as dextromethorphan; mucus-thinning expectorants such as guaifenesin; and antihistamines or decongestants.

—Sore throats are hugely common but adults are far less likely than children to have the strep throat that requires an antibiotic. A rapid strep test is available if patients have suspicious symptoms such as persistent fever, night sweats or swollen tonsils.

Pain-relieving options for adults include aspirin, acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, and throat lozenges.

READ MORE: Nasty flu season strikes as H3N2 cases spike across Canada

—Sinus infections can be very painful but usually clear up without antibiotics even if bacteria are to blame. The guidelines say antibiotics should be reserved for patients with no signs of improvement after 10 days, severe symptoms such as fever higher than 102, or what’s called double-sickening, when someone starts to recover and then gets worse.

Possible symptom relievers include decongestants, nasal sprays, saline nasal irrigation and pain medications.

Riley often has to explain how to tell if cough and cold relievers contain a sedating antihistamine, and that nasal sprays clear congestion quickly but that using them for too many days can trigger rebound symptoms. He asks if patients are taking multiple products that contain acetaminophen, best known as Tylenol, because too much can damage the liver. Often, his patients say an over-the-counter drug isn’t working when in fact, they didn’t take it as directed.

“There is a dizzying array” of drugstore symptom relievers, so don’t make miserable patients sort through them without help, said CDC’s Hicks.

“There isn’t a right answer that works for everybody,” she said. But sometimes something as basic as a humidifier “can make a difference in terms of how you feel when you wake up in the morning.”

___

Online:

CDC: 长沙桑拿按摩论坛长沙夜生活cdc.gov/getsmart

15. 11. 2018
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“Communist revolution” best way to fix Newfoundland economy: internet

“Communist revolution” best way to fix Newfoundland economy: internet

When the Newfoundland and Labrador government asked for suggestions on ways to fix the province’s economic woes, it probably wasn’t expecting “Communist Revolution” to be one of the top picks.

But revolution is the top-rated answer to the question, “How can government be more innovative or efficient to provide quality services at lower costs?” on a provincial government website.

ChangSha Night Net

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    “If we carry out the communist revolution then there would be plenty of funding to go around. We should be receiving the benefit of the resources that are taken from here and sold at profit by capitalist corporations. Why should they get rich from our resources and from our labour?” wrote commenter “Levi”.

    The proposal has received 56 votes so far, with an average score of 4.2 stars out of 5.

    But you won’t find Premier Dwight Ball at the barricades: He told local media last week he isn’t entertaining communism as a way to solve the province’s financial problems, which are substantial.

    The provincial government is facing a $1.96 billion deficit, according to the latest budget update, due in part to the fall in oil prices and associated royalty revenue. So they’re asking residents for suggestions on how to save money and raise more of it.

    Among other consultation measures, the government has set up a website where anyone can post a suggestion and people vote on their favourites. The website was set up Jan. 12.

    There are some more conventional offerings, such as raising the HST and restructuring regional health care authorities.

    But many users are thinking outside the box.

    “Make every day Big Mary Monday, for Jesus sakes,” wrote “UpDaShore,” referring to fried chicken chain Mary Brown’s weekly special.

    “Replace tap water with Blue Star,” wrote “eversweet709.” Blue Star is a popular Newfoundland beer.

    “Stop wasting money on consultations,” wrote “commoncents.”

    Other commenters are playing with Newfoundland’s unique place names. “Resettle Dildo into Broad Cove,” is one such suggestion.

    “As we know, Newfoundland and Labrador is awash in red ink – much of which comes from the infrastructure costs required to service so many small communities. To remedy this, I propose we consider a more robust resettlement program,” wrote user “drewfoundland.”

    “It would also be an easy resettlement, since all Dildo has to do to get to Broad Cove is sail down Spread Eagle Bay. Since both towns are so close already, there will be very little mess to mop up afterwards. And if it goes well, it might lay the foundation of a future population growth strategy.”

    “But most importantly, moving Dildo into Broad Cove will be a powerful symbol of the sort of things the government expects from people in these hard times.”

    (Travel buffs, take note: Although Dildo is next to Broad Cove, you wouldn’t cross Spread Eagle Bay to get there – you’d use Dildo Arm, according to Google.)

    And lest you think all Newfoundlanders are left-leaning, a competing “Fascist Revolution” proposal has also appeared on the website. As of Monday afternoon, it remains quite unpopular, receiving a score of only one star after five votes.

15. 11. 2018
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‘Run to Quit’ program helps smokers trade nicotine for runner’s high – Halifax

‘Run to Quit’ program helps smokers trade nicotine for runner’s high – Halifax

Smoking is a daily, and often deadly, habit for thousands of Nova Scotians, but a new program wants to help people replace their nicotine addiction with a healthier alternative.

The Canadian Cancer Society is partnering with The Running Room to launch a nationwide program called Run to Quit in April.

READ MORE: Why smoking is especially bad for men, their health and genetics

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Barbara Stead-Coyle, the Nova Scotia CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said the program is a great approach to the quitting smoking.

“What we do is we start to replace the unhealthy habit of smoking with the healthy habit of running,” she said.

“The physical activity actually curbs the need for nicotine. It stops weight gain, which is also another barrier as to why sometimes people don’t want to quit smoking, and you’re becoming healthy.”

About 37,000 Canadians die every year from smoking, a number Run to Quit is aiming to reduce.

The program is debuting in six provinces following a successful pilot study in Ottawa.

RELATED: How smoking in movies drives kids to become smokers

“The research is clear. Smoking kills Canadians and we know that about 30 percent of all cancer deaths attributable to smoking,” Stead-Coyle said.

Bruce Bowen, manager of The Running Room in Halifax, said running is a well-known stress reliever. He said that’s important because stress can be a barrier to quitting smoking, or cause a relapse for people who are trying to quit.

He said the company’s president, John Stanton, used to smoke two packs a day, but traded the habit for running.

For people who are considering joining but are unsure about running, Bowen said there’s no reason to fear it.

“People are here to encourage you because you’re trying to make a commitment to change your lifestyle,” he said.

Getting support from a group can greatly increase the odds of overcoming the addiction to nicotine, Stead-Coyle said.

“It’s a very, very, powerful drug and we know that the withdrawal symptoms are significant, so having that support is really important for success.”

There are three ways to join the program: by signing up online for a virtual course, committing to run a 5- or 10-kilometre event, or showing up in person under the guidance of a coach.

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Wildlife Festival takes over Lethbridge at Exhibition Park

Wildlife Festival takes over Lethbridge at Exhibition Park

LETHBRIDGE – Animals from owls to spiders, and even a kangaroo took over Exhibition Park on the weekend for the annual Wildlife Festival tour.

Canadian Raptor Conservancy bird handler and educator Matthew Morgan said the festival aims to bring wildlife educational demonstration right to people’s home towns.

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    “They don’t have to go far away to find it, they can have it in a nice, safe, controlled environment for both people and the animals,” Morgan said. “They can both get entertained and educated about a lot of the animals that are often right in your own backyard.”

    Some of those animals included snakes and bird species from Canada, as well as other exotic animals. Little Rays Repitle Zoo educator Kyle Laurie said he was hoping to teach responsible pet ownership. Laurie said most of the animals at the show are often purchased as family or exotic pets, and later given up.

    “Basically 80 to 90 per cent of our animals are unwanted pets,” Laurie said. “We don’t take any of our animals from the wild.”

    While most of the excitement and educational information was about the animals you don’t see everyday, organizers were hoping to teach children and families little things they can do to save wildlife at home.

    One of the biggest predators in Canada may be living closer than you think, Laurie said.

    “A lot of people have house cats at home, and they don’t realize that their house cats are basically little ninjas. They go outside and they hunt birds, and there’s nothing wrong with the cat; it’s just their instinct.”

    “When your cat goes outside, in Canada they’re killing about 300 million songbirds a year. By simply putting a bell on your cat, it will actually save the birds in the wild.”

    There are other small things you can do at home to help animals in the wild, like saving up to 22 litres of fresh water per person, per day, by shutting off the taps when brushing your teeth. But, these tasks are often easy to forget. That’s where the up-close-and-personal interaction with the animals at the show proves beneficial.

    “Suddenly they get like, ‘oh wow that was so close, that was so cool!’ and then they start listening, and start paying attention, and they start to take away a few things,” Morgan said. “I’ve had quite a few kids that come up and say, ‘oh, I remember you from last year, I remember some of the things you said.’ So, obviously they are taking away something, and that’s really fantastic. That means we’re doing a good job.”

15. 11. 2018
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Experienced officers wanted on terror case: court

Experienced officers wanted on terror case: court

VANCOUVER – The head of an RCMP team tasked with investigating a possible terror suspect has told a B.C. Supreme Court trial that he had concerns about entrapment and abuse of process near the start of a police sting.

Emails read in court show Sgt. Bill Kalkat asked undercover officers how they planned to avoid potential legal issues months before John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested for plotting to blow up the B.C. legislature in 2013.

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Nuttall and Korody were found guilty of terrorism charges last June, but the convictions have not been entered while defence lawyers argue that police entrapped their clients in a sting.

Crown lawyer Peter Eccles asked Kalkat when he began thinking about entrapment and abuse of process as possible issues.

“Late February, early March (of 2013),” Kalkat replied, adding that such issues are always a concern for investigators when a crime has not yet been committed.

The senior officer also told court that he faced some challenges with the undercover team investigating Nuttall and trying to determine whether he posed a threat to public safety.

An experienced officer was important for the case, Kalkat testified, adding he asked that someone who’d worked on similar national security investigations be assigned.

“There’s a whole bunch of little fine details that come along in the national security world that just are not pressing in your typical homicide technique undercover operation.”

The undercover officer also needed to be familiar with the Muslim faith, which Nuttall had converted to, and have some knowledge of Islamic extremism.

“If you can’t talk the talk and walk the walk, it’s going to be very difficult to ingratiate yourself with that target and move forward,” Kalkat said.

But one of the officers on the case had less experience than what Kalkat had requested, creating challenges for the senior cop.

Investigators on national security cases don’t have a lot of examples to follow, unlike homicide or drug investigations that undercover officers usually work on, Kalkat said.

“That’s one of the difficulties you experienced with the undercover shop, that they were bringing pages out of the wrong playbook?” Eccles asked.

“That was one of the challenges I faced,” Kalkat replied.

Emails read in court suggested he asked for more details about the undercover team’s long-term plans.

“You can’t just go scenario to scenario. There has to be some sort of game plan. And I wasn’t seeing that with the undercover unit,” Kalkat said.

Court heard that at one point, a difference in opinion over how the case should proceed put the investigation on hold.

15. 11. 2018
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How to save yourself some money as food prices rise

How to save yourself some money as food prices rise

SASKATOON – As the dollar continues to slip, Canadians can expect to be shelling out more at the grocery store. According to experts, there are things you can do to save yourself some big bucks in the long run and it starts with a little something called “the best before” date.

In many cases, perfectly good food ends up in the garbage after consumers prematurely toss it and confusing labels are often to blame for wasted food and money.

READ MORE: Sobey’s says low loonie, El-Nino will keep grocery prices high

“I think that the way some products are labelled it is unclear to the consumer what best before dates mean, when they should use the product, how they need to store it, etc.,” said Phyllis Shand, professor of food science at the University of Saskatchewan.

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    So what is a best before date?

    “In Canada, the majority of our food products if they have a shelf life of less than 90 days are mandated to have a best before date,” added Shand.

    In other words, how long a product will retain its freshness. Which means you aren’t going to fall ill if you eat something on the best before date or even the day after.

    “Best before dates are also an indicator of quality and not safety. Our concern about safety is more related to how we handle the food, whether it’s stored at the proper temperatures at that time,” said Shand.

    You can both buy and eat foods after the “best before” has passed but it might not taste as good. Its likely either lost some freshness, flavour or the texture has changed. In some cases the nutritional value of the food such as its vitamin C content may be lost.

    According to Shand, this means milk stored in a cold fridge will likely last you several more days even a week beyond its best before date. Eggs can last up to a month; however, you’d likely want to use them in baking at that point as opposed to using them for breakfast.

    “For a product like ground beef, you have one day for the store to sell it and then one to two days at home before you either should cook it or freeze it for later use.”

    Expiration dates are different and are typically only seen on specialty products. Meal replacements, nutritional supplements and infant formula will have an expiration date and foods should not be eaten after the date passes.

    In 2014, it’s estimated the cost of Canada’s food waste reached $31 billion. The majority of that waste was driven by consumers at 47 per cent or close to $14.6 billion worth of food.

    “In Saskatoon, the biggest contribution to our landfill is organics so a lot of that is food that ends up in the landfill and creates methane which is a large contributor to our environmental problem,” said Gord Enns, executive director of the Saskatoon Food Council.

     “Not only do we have to handle it and haul it, we actually are contributing to environmental problems because we’re wasting food.”

    Starting this spring, food waste will be accepted as part of the city’s Green Cart program. Items like fruits, vegetables, bread, eggshells and coffee grounds will now be accepted along with any grass clippings and leaves.

    Enns says it’s a good start to a big problem but there are other jurisdictions that have done a lot more to encourage recycling and composting. He’d also like to see more people growing their own food and more food education provided to the public starting at grade-school level.

    For now though, if consumers want to start getting serious about reducing their own food waste there’s a helpful tool you can download on your phone called The FoodKeeper.

    It’s as easy as typing in a food and the app will tell you how long it should last refrigerated and/or frozen.

15. 11. 2018
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GTA Goodwill stores to stay closed as company seeks solution to cash-flow problems

GTA Goodwill stores to stay closed as company seeks solution to cash-flow problems

TORONTO – The CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario says the operation will remain closed until further notice.

Goodwill has closed 16 stores, 10 donation centres and two offices – affecting more than 430 workers – due to cash flow problems. It does not affect Goodwills in London, Sarnia, St. Catharines and Hamilton.

CEO Keiko Nakamura told a news conference on Monday that Goodwill is exploring options to deal with a “cash flow crisis.”

READ MORE: Goodwill closes Ontario stores citing ‘cash flow crisis’

Nakamura says Goodwill had moved to cut costs by reducing overhead and also cut staff hours, describing it as a “very low margin operation” that was facing increasing competition.

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A lawyer with the Canadian Airport Workers Union, which represents the workers, has said the workers were greeted with locked doors when they showed up for their shifts Sunday morning.

Nakamura says she has met with union leaders and has assured them that Goodwill is working with stakeholders and various levels of government to find a solution.

“In order to ensure that we were not asking staff to work at a time when we didn’t feel that we would be able to cover their costs, we had to close down the stores,” she said.

Nakamura said many people do not realize the amount of work required to process the donations that Goodwill receives.

It requires “mass amounts of staff labour” to produce and recycle and separate before donated items are recycled or go into the Goodwill stores, she said.

The non-profit group has operated for more than 80 years in Ontario providing affordable goods and helping people gain access to training and work.

15. 11. 2018
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More English voices need to be heard at Bill 86 hearings, says QCGN

More English voices need to be heard at Bill 86 hearings, says QCGN

MONTREAL – Committee hearings examining Bill 86, the proposed law designed to do away with school board elections, get underway at the National Assembly in Quebec City on Jan. 28.

READ MORE: PQ leader vows to fight for Anglos to be heard on Bill 86

While the committee has agreed to hear from two school boards it initially excluded, the English-speaking community said it’s still not enough.

WATCH: EMSB to attend Bill 86 hearings

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) said it is surprised that a commission on the future of school boards is not being heard – and neither is the government’s own advisory committee on English education.

The QCGN said the government may be stacking the cards to garner support for its project to change the way school boards are managed.

“The government wants control of who it listens to and therefore who will give support to them in their view,” said Sylvia Martin-Laforge with the QCGN.

“So, it’s a way of deciding what the outcome of the bill will be.”

WATCH: PKP on Bill 86

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    On Thursday, the Anglophone community found an unlikely ally in the National Assembly, when Parti Québécois leader Pierre Karl Péladeau accused the Liberal government of not respecting their rights when it comes to Bill 86.

    READ MORE: EMSB applauds decision to be included in Bill 86 hearings

    As it stands, the bill is expected to become law on July 1 of this year.

15. 11. 2018
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Sneak peek at Stanley A. Milner Revitalization project

Sneak peek at Stanley A. Milner Revitalization project

EDMONTON — It’s being called a futuristic design for a cutting edge library. Edmonton Public Library released pictures of what the Stanley A. Milner Library may look like after its $62.5 million revitalization.

EPL CEO Pilar Martinez believes a combination of metals, concrete and glass will create a sense of curiosity and peak the imagination of Edmontonians.

“An iconic, sort of, really beautiful architecturally appealing building that will attract people throughout the space.”


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    The design will incorporate a lot of natural light and provide easier access for those with mobility issues or concerns. Inside, the design will triple the size of the children’s library, add more quiet study and community meeting spaces and an expansion of makerspace.

    READ MORE: Edmonton Public Library launches makerspace

    Take Our Poll

    Martinez is also excited about a simulation wall modelled after “The Cube” – a digital interactive learning display at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. It will allow people to touch the screen and learn about initiatives from our city’s recycling program and the river valley.

    It’s hoped construction will begin next year with the grand opening in 2019 – 2020. To get there, however, the Edmonton Public Library will have to raise $10 million from the community. While a campaign hasn’t been launched, Martinez called it an achievable goal with some significant donations already in place.

    More details are expected to be released in a report to the City’s Community Services branch by the end of February.

    Proposed drawing of Stanley A. Milner Library revitalization

    Edmonton Public Library

    Proposed drawing of Stanley A. Milner Library revitalization

    Edmonton Public Library

    Proposed drawing of Stanley A. Milner Library revitalization

    Edmonton Public Library

15. 11. 2018
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5-day moratorium on arrival of government-sponsored Syrian refugees in B.C. set to begin Tuesday: ISS

5-day moratorium on arrival of government-sponsored Syrian refugees in B.C. set to begin Tuesday: ISS

A five-day moratorium on the arrival of government-sponsored Syrian refugees in British Columbia is set to begin Tuesday, as the province struggles to accommodate refugee families that have been steadily arriving since late last year.

Chris Friesen, the director of settlement services for Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS), says the moratorium will allow settlement workers time to catch up on housing needs.

The federal government has committed to resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees, 15,000 of them government-sponsored, before the end of February.

In an important milestone, the 10,000th Syrian refugee arrived in Canada last week.

READ MORE: Syrian refugees find their new home in B.C. as crisis worsens

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So far, 700 government-sponsored refugees have arrived in B.C., but only seven families have found permanent housing. Last weekend, the Vancouver Park Board hoped to soon learn whether some caretaker cottages in the city could be used to house Syrian refugees. There are 71 such buildings in parks across Vancouver, and it’s believed three may have the basic requirements for migrants.

Friesen says they have a list of 1,100 “housing leads” to access for suitability.

But the lack of affordable housing in the Metro Vancouver area along with the challenge of finding suitable housing for families with kids are contributing to the backlog.

Vancouver is not alone as the City of Ottawa has also asked the federal government to slow down the arrival of Syrian refugees.

“We are working with (these communities) to try to ease the strain they are currently experiencing, which includes pausing arrivals for a few days as we continue toward the goal of resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees across Canada by the end of February,” read a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The department stated that it is “redirecting refugees to other centres during this time.”

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says it is also working with settlement providers to monitor the movement of refugees into and out of temporary accommodation to determine when capacity opens to welcome additional refugees and to re-destine some refugees to other locations when necessary.