B.C. heat dome led to 3-times as many deaths among schizophrenic people
British Columbians living with schizophrenia saw a three-fold increase in deaths during the 2021 heat dome, a new study has found.
Roughly 740 people are thought to have died due to the heat dome. However, those living with chronic disease faced a hefty toll, according to the study led by researchers at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and published in GeoHealth Wednesday.
Michael Lee, a BCCDC epidemiologist and lead author of the study, said schizophrenia, and severe mental illness in general, haven’t been traditionally recognized as an important risk factor for dying during extreme heat events. This, he says, is one of the first studies to shed light on the deadly trend.
“Our most striking and surprising finding was that the risk of death among those with schizophrenia more than tripled during the extreme heat event as compared to more typical summer weather,” said Lee in an interview.
More than 60 per cent of deaths during the heat wave occurred in Metro Vancouver. The BC Coroners Service and past studies from the BC Centre for Disease Control have previously said the hardest hit included older people, those with disabilities, and residents living in neighbourhoods with higher levels of deprivation and fewer green spaces.
The latest study compared more than 1,600 deaths during the 2021 heat wave with more than 6,500 deaths recorded on the same dates in 2012 and 2020. The researchers then looked at 26 chronic diseases to find out how they were associated with death during the heat wave.
People were found to be at higher risk of death if they used substances or suffered from heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The odds of dying during the heat wave were significantly higher for people with chronic kidney disease, depression and diabetes.
“Schizophrenia was most strongly associated with a higher risk of death during the [extreme heat event],” added the researchers.
How mental illness increases the risk of death during a heat wave is not clear, wrote the authors. Lee said past investigations have suggested people with schizophrenia could be more vulnerable because of antipsychotic medications — important drugs that help people manage a complex disease. The medications can sometimes impact the body’s ability to thermoregulate, and “some people with schizophrenia may lack insight into their health status, and thus may not perceive and respond to overheating,” wrote the researchers.
At the same time, the researchers said those with schizophrenia face “stigmatization, social isolation, economic marginalization, and coincident substance use disorder.” Each condition has been found to increase the mortality risk during a heat event.
Lee said no one risk factor explains the deaths seen during the heat wave. Mental health, poverty, age, social isolation and poor access to green spaces are all “very likely to be intertwined and overlapping with one another.”
The epidemiologist said the whole idea of the study was to figure out who is most at risk, so authorities, family, friends and neighbours we can prepare for the next time a major heat event hits the region — something that’s expected to become more frequent and more severe in the coming decades due to climate change.
“Many of us know people in our lives who do have mental health conditions,” said Lee. “And I think it’s really important for people to connect with them before extreme heat events happen, to see if those people understand that they might be at increased risk, to see if they have a plan in place for staying cool.”
And when temperatures climb, “check in on them,” he added.
WDG Public Health reporting an increase in whooping cough cases – Kitchener.CityNews.ca
“I’m not surprised.”
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) Chief Nursing Officer Rita Isley explained to CityNews 570 in an interview why she’s not at all shocked by the 50 per cent increase in whooping cough (or pertussis) cases in Wellington and Dufferin counties.
“The main reason why is that during the pandemic, we had multiple lockdowns, but we also had limited access to in-person visits with our primary care provider for a variety of reasons. With that happening, a lot of our [patients] needed to get routine vaccines and whooping cough is part of our routine vaccine schedule, particularly for children. We are expecting that, because they are behind, that we have lower immunity in our community.”
The total number of cases reported by WDGPH was 18, but that can rise quickly considering how easy the bacterial infection can spread.
The disease affects the respiratory tract, and starts with symptoms like runny nose and cough. It spreads through droplets that are sprayed when someone sneezes, coughs or even talks.
The illness can also get dangerous when the coughs get more frequent and severe. Isley said it can be difficult to catch your breath in between coughs, which can lead to gagging, vomiting or loud “whoops.”
Whooping cough can be especially serious for infants, children and those with compromised lungs. In severe cases, it can result in hospitalization or even death.
“This illness can last upwards of 6 to 20 days,” said Isley. “With this disease, what we’re looking for is a cold that lasts longer and a circumstance where the cough has started and it is continuing to get worse. Anyone that has symptoms that are staying the same up to 9-10 days really should be getting seen by their primary care provider.”
Luckily, the disease can be treated with a vaccine, and Isley encourages everyone, including pregnant women in their third trimester, to book appointments to stop the spread of the illness in the region.
Isley also asks that adults and children stay home with colds, and follow the usual public health unit advice of washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and not sharing food and drinks.
The next community update with whooping cough case numbers is in the works and could come sometime this week.
If you need to get your child caught up on vaccinations, you can book a K-12 immunization appointment with WDGPH by calling 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006.
Restrict junk food marketing to kids at grocery stores, restaurants: report – Global News
A new report that looks at the prevalence of marketing to children inside grocery stores and restaurants suggests regulation is needed to help reduce unhealthy food temptations.
The report funded by Heart and Stroke audited displays at more than 2,000 restaurants and 800 stores across Canada and says children may be bombarded with messages that make junk food seem appealing.
Researchers found nearly 53 per cent of stores had “junk food power walls” at checkout aisles, which it says are prime areas to market to kids because products are placed within their reach.
The research says that placement encourages “pester power” — when children nag or pester their parents to make impulse purchases.
University of Waterloo associate professor Leia Minaker says designs and themes such as “magic, adventure and zoo animals” are also commonly seen in beverage and ice cream fridges.
The report says healthy checkout aisle policies and prohibiting toy giveaways with children’s meals could help reduce consumption of unhealthy food.
More students turning to food banks as inflation shrinks already tight budgets
© 2023 The Canadian Press
Health unit suspends 1,900 students for incomplete immunization records – Windsor Star
More than 1,900 elementary school students in Windsor and Essex County have been suspended for out-of-date immunization records, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said Monday.
Parents must provide the health unit with an up-to-date immunization record for the suspension to be lifted and the student to return to school. Immunization clinics are available at both health unit locations in Windsor and Leamington on Monday and throughout this week, while immunization records are accepted in-person between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at both locations.
Students who were suspended but attend and receive vaccinations at the health unit clinics, or who update their records with the health unit, will receive a notice and can return to school the same day.
Proof of immunization can also be submitted online at immune.wechu.org. Primary care providers can also send immunization records to the health unit at 519-258-7288.
The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires local health units to maintain and review vaccination records for all students and to enforce school suspensions if records are incomplete. These routine immunizations are often administered by primary care providers, but records must still be updated and on file with the health unit.
The review of student immunization records began in December 2022, when more than 12,000 students received notice their records were not up to date.
Earlier this month the health unit warned 3,200 students faced suspension for incomplete records; ultimately 1,908 were suspended on Monday, according to health officials.
Visit wechu.org/getimmunized for information and clinic times.
World Down Syndrome Day in Canada – CTV News
Home Office delays Windrush grants amid row over social media posts – The Guardian
Son of Flyers GM Daniel Brière charged for pushing wheelchair down stairs – CBC Sports
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Health14 hours ago
COVID-19 hair loss: Experts weigh in on PRP therapy – CTV News
News16 hours ago
Gestational diabetes is on the rise and a Canadian study may have found out why – Global News
Sports13 hours ago
NBC’s Tara Slone on speaking her mind about James Reimer: ‘We have to talk about this’ – The Athletic
Politics18 hours ago
This ain't no party, but populism is destroying our federal politics – The Hill Times
News21 hours ago
B.C. parent launches class-action lawsuit against makers of Fortnite video game
News21 hours ago
Canada denies role in detention, torture of former Guantanamo Bay detainee
Investment15 hours ago
Exclusive-Credit Suisse tells staff plans for investment banking to be informed later -memo – Yahoo Canada Finance
News22 hours ago
Guilbeault wants stronger links with Alberta on issues of oilsands tailings ponds