A B.C. emergency room doctor is warning about the dangers of abusing nitrous oxide (N2O), after a young woman turned up at a Richmond, B.C. hospital suffering from hallucinations.
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is commonly available at retail outlets in small canisters known as “whippits,” used to pressurize whipped cream dispensers.
N2O is also used in medical and dental settings as anesthesia and sedative because of the dissociative state it produces.
The case study was published in the B.C. Medical Journal this month by ER physician Dr. Matthew Kwok and pharmacists Jane de Lemos and Epid Mazen Sharaf.
The study looks at the case of a 20-year-old woman who presented at the Richmond Hospital emergency room suffering visual and auditory hallucinations.
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The woman had no history of mental illness or psychosis, but admitted to using N2O daily to get high, and said she had recently increased her usage.
The study said an assessment by a psychiatrist, a neurologist and an addictions medicine specialist determined her psychosis was the result of drug use.
“We’re seeing patients in the emergency department with drug-induced psychosis and neurological effects who’ve inhaled nitrous oxide,” said Dr. Kwok.
“People become addicted to this drug, and its non-medical use can be extremely dangerous.”
“Whippits” are easy to buy at retail stores, with no restrictions on age, quantity or intended use.
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Kwok says access to the product should be restricted, with new safeguards implemented to reduce potential harm.
When Kwok and his team tried to report the woman’s case, they also discovered there is no central agency tracking N2O overdoses in the country.
“Our research shows very few reported cases, in part because the nitrous oxide comes from a product marketed for whipping cream and an adverse report would only be accepted if the canister itself was faulty,” he said.
He added that officials need to educate the public about the potential dangers of abusing the substance.
And he said health workers also need to be made aware that patients presenting with symptoms could be suffering from N2O intoxication.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
COVID-19 vaccines: 18% of Ottawa kids 5-11 have 1st doses – Globalnews.ca
Nearly 14,000 Ottawa kids have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine shots in their first week of eligibility, according to the local health unit.
Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that 13,887 kids aged five to 11, representing 18 per cent of the total age group in the city, have their initial shots as of Wednesday morning.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said earlier this week that 40 per cent of local kids in this youngest eligible demographic have appointments booked through the provincial vaccination system. This doesn’t account for shots booked at pharmacies or doctors’ offices.
City-wide, 86 per cent of the population aged five and older now have at least one dose.
Meanwhile, OPH reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, surpassing the 32,000-case mark since the start of the pandemic.
The number of active infections held relatively steady at 329 in the latest report.
There are now 11 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, two of whom are in the intensive care unit.
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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
KFL&A region records tenth death from COVID-19 – Kingston News – Kingstonist
The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington region has recorded its tenth death from COVID-19. The deceased was a female in her 70s, according to provincial information.
This is the fourth death in KFL&A associated with COVID-19 this month, after a male in his 60s died on Tuesday, Nov. 23, a female in her 70s died a day later, and a female in her 80s died less than a week later.
KFL&A Public Health continue to investigate the method of transmission.
Yesterday, KFL&A Public Health reported a total of 29 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the total of active COVID-19 cases to 295, down slightly from a high of 301. According to KFL&A Public Health, as of Monday there were 19 local residents hospitalized with COVID-19, with 11 of those in intensive care and six on ventilators.
Nine others have now died from COVID-19 in the region since the beginning of the pandemic: two males aged 90 or over, a male in his 80s, two females in their 80s, a male in his 70s, a female in her 70s, a male in his 60s, and a female in her 50s.
World AIDS Day kicks off Indigenous AIDS week in Regina – Globalnews.ca
All Nations Hope is a network that provides supports and services to those impacted with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in the city. The program director said they are dedicating a week to celebrate and focus on those impacted by HIV and AIDS.
“We dedicated each day to a group of people,” said Leona Quewezance. “We will have something special for them every day.”
Quewezance said during the week-long activities, they will also be testing those who wish to be tested.
“We encourage people to get tested, if they wish that,” she said. “We would like access them to link them into care for treatment and support.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult to focus testing on HIV/AIDS in the city. However, All Nations Hope have took it upon themselves to find data within Regina.
“For the past nine months…people had issues accessing testing,” said Quewezance. “We did testings on Wednesdays for the last nine months and the nurse seen approximately 316 people. We had 21 new HIV identifying cases and eight new cases for syphilis.”
In a statement, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health stated in 2019, Saskatchewan had roughly triple the national average of newly-diagnosed HIV cases at 16.4 per 100,000, while the national rate was 5.6 per 100,000 people.
“Preliminary data indicates there were 185 cases of HIV identified in 2020, a decrease of seven per cent, down from 199 cases in 2019,” according to the statement.
“However, testing numbers for 2020 are lower, likely due to fewer public HIV testing events, front-line health-care providers being focused on COVID-19 response, and fewer individuals presenting for testing due to the pandemic.”
Work through All Nations Hope will continue to break down the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS and will provide awareness is all year round, not just one day out of the year.
“The people that are living with HIV and AIDS are no different than us,” said Quewezance. “They are no different than people living with diabetes and any other kinds of illnesses. They are people just the same as we are.”
The province said work initiated through the HIV Strategy continues and is supported by annual Ministry of Health funding of approximately $4.86M to support HIV services in the Saskatchewan Health Authority and community-based organizations.
Saskatchewan government apologizes after World AIDS Day tweet draws ire
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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