Category Archives for "Health"

summer health and safety

Summer Health & Safety Tips

Essential Summer Health & Safety Tips
to Make the Most of the Season  

Summer is finally in full swing. Whether you're headed to the cottage, planning a vacation, or just trying to enjoy activities or events in your hometown, it's good to keep a few summer health and safety tips in mind. 

Take care of yourself   

Of course you already know you should use sunscreen. But it's not only the SPF factor you should pay attention to.  Make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays and is water resistant. Apply evenly to all exposed skin and reapply regularly. If you want to try natural or mineral sunscreen look for the ingredients titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. 

Use insect repellant. Bug bites can lead to much worse than an annoying itch. This year, there are warnings about the increased risk of Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks. Learn more about how to recognize ticks and prevent infection here. And while mosquitos at the cottage might be legendary, remember there's just as big a risk from mosquitos in small amounts of standing water and from ticks in the park or on the beach. Cover up, spray well before going out and check your body and clothes when you come inside. 

When it comes to repellants, conventional chemical skin repellants DEET and Picaridin are both highly effective at repelling mosquitos, ticks and flies for up to 12 hours. If you’d prefer to use a natural formula, lemon eucalyptus oil and IR3535, a plant-based compound, have both been found to be almost as effective against mosquitos. Other natural oils such as citronella, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, geranium, cedarwood, and lemongrass can be used to make a DIY repellant. But be aware, these are less effective and require reapplication every 30-60 minutes. 

Stay hydrated … and not just with beer or cocktails, as refreshing as they might be.  Drinking water and plenty of it, is especially important in hot, sticky weather.  Dehydration, heat stress and stroke can be deadly.  Make sure you get your 8 glasses (2 litres) every day.  Experts recommend water every 20 minutes when it’s extremely hot or you’re engaged in sports or other physical activity.  And make sure the people around you, especially children and the elderly, are drinking enough water too.  If you are relaxing with a cocktail try alternating a glass of water with a top up. 

Take care of others ... on the road and in the water

Take extra care when you're driving. There are often more distractions this time of year - more people on the roads, biking and playing, more tourists and more construction. If you're biking, running, or walking remember the rules of the road apply to you too. Pay attention to signals, signs and use lights at night. 

If you're heading to the cottage, pool or beach follow water-safety precautions and be smart when you swim, surf and boat. Don't get behind the wheel or in the water impaired. Don't assume your guests have the same skills or good habits as you and your family. Take time to make sure everyone is comfortable and equipped. 

Run Away

We’re not kidding.  Find time to step back, slow down and relax.  Research shows people who take vacations have fewer heart attacks, headaches and backaches. They go back to work more energized and productive with a positive attitude that rubs off on the people around them, including clients.  

Whether you're simply taking a weekend staycation or a longer trip make sure you actually "unplug", take yourself off "on call" and escape work for a little while. And if you are travelling out of the country, make sure you have travel insurance. Nothing ruins a vacation like an unexpected injury or illness, followed by a whopping bill. If you have Health Plus you have 30 days emergency health coverage included in your plan. If you have any questions about your coverage or want to sign up give us a call

From our team to yours have a fun and safe rest of your summer! 

wellness moment comfort food guide

Wellness Moment: Comfort Food

The food group that Health Canada forgot ...

Kudos to Health Canada for our new Food Guide for what to eat, what to avoid and the reminder it's not only what we eat, but how that matters. Food fosters connection with friends and family and between cultures and generations. And we know connections help keep us healthy. It's very sound advice. But with all due respect to the professionals, we think there's a food group missing: Comfort Food. 

Now before you automatically think calories, cholesterol and guilt, let's take a closer look. Webster's defines comfort food as "food prepared in a traditional way ... with nostalgic or sentimental appeal". Psychologists tell us it can be any food we associate with happy occasions, fond memories, and feeling cared for and connected. And those positive feelings cheer us up and ward off stress. 

So here’s a recipe for winter wellness. Take a moment to let your mind wander. What’s your favourite comfort food, meal or memory? Fresh peaches that remind you of summer holidays, your mom’s roast chicken, or the cookies you bake with your kids. Maybe it’s not home-cooking. It could be tapas in a café with friends or take-out that lets you trade kitchen time for downtime. It’s the food with a positive association, from last weekend or long ago, a celebration or a simple tradition. And if your food of choice conflicts with your regular eating goals, not a problem. The magic is that you don’t have to actually eat comfort food (although why not?). You can enjoy the memories without taking a bite. 

If this Moment leads you to host a spontaneous pot-luck, make soup or make reservations, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. You’ll have taken a healthy step just by savouring positive thoughts. 

Wellness Moments Friendship

Wellness Moment: A Little Help From Our Friends

Wellness Moment

"I get by with a little help from my friends"

The Beatles are right. Friends matter. Not to argue with the icons but actually, friendship does more than help us “get by”. There’s growing scientific evidence it helps us thrive. Our social connections (note that’s social, not social media connections) boost wellbeing, happiness and resilience. In fact, studies show that people with a solid network of friends live longer.

This may not be news to you. So why this “Moment” on this theme? Because we know what happens. When life gets hectic, what most often slides is time with friends. Even with the best of intentions, between our schedule and theirs, you know how it goes. This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, not to mention the lead-up to Thanksgiving. It feels like the perfect time to check-in on those we love and take a little time for ourselves. 

So, take a moment. Think of the people you truly enjoy – old and new friends, a favourite neighbour, kindred spirit colleague, or the family member you’d love even if you weren’t related. Set a date ... for coffee, the market, to watch the game or go for a walk. If that’s not possible, plan a phone call. Although it turns out in-person is the best tonic, just hearing each other’s voice will do you both good. 

Wellness Moments Friends

Photo by Ivana Cajina

If you’re wondering how you’ll find the time, remember this. It’s good for the immune system, and everything on your to-do list will go better. We promise. The Beatles would agree. For more on the link between friendship and health: Washington Post, New York Times, The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact can make us Healthier and Happier.