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Taking Charge of Your Health

Do not touch this Plant!

Health Hazards & Safety Instructions for Giant Hogweed

CAUTION:  iF YOU COME IN CONTACT WITH THIS PLANT, YOU COULD EXPERIENCE SEVERE BURNS TO YOUR SKIN.  CONTACT WITH THE EYES CAN CAUSE TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT BLINDNESS

Giant Hogweed is an invasive, non-native plant that poses a serious threat to human health and natural ecosystems.  It is found in our parks, along golf courses, river banks and hiking trails etc.  The clear sap is found on the hairs, leaves, and stems of the Giant Hogweed plant.  When giant hogweed sap contacts human skin in conjunction with sunlight, it can cause a serious skin inflammation. The sap prevents your skin from protecting itself from sunlight which leads to a very bad sunburn. Heat and moisture (sweat or dew) can worsen the skin reaction. The phototoxic reaction can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact, with sensitivity peak between 30 minutes and two hours after contact.

 

Where is the toxic sap located?

Sap can be located in all parts of the plant but is aminly concentrated in the lower part of the hollow stems and petioles; the hollow hairs on the plant; the foliage, stem, flower, or fruit (seed).  Painful blisters that form within 48 hours and become dark and pigmented.  Scarscan last up to six years, though typically only last a few months.  Long-term sensitivity to sunlight is common and can return annually.  Blindness may occur if the sap gets into the eye

  • Do not touch the plant with bare skin

  • Do not touch your bare skin with sap covered gloves

  • Prevent UV sunlight from reaching skin by:Wearing long waterproof gloves, long sleeves, pants, boots, and eye protection.

  • Synthetic water-resistant materials are best since cotton and linen fibers can soak up the plant sap and be penetrated by plant hairs. 

  • In case of exposure:  Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and COLD water as soon as possible.  Keep exposed area away from sunlight for 48 hours. 

  • If a reaction occurs, topical steroids applied early can reduce the severity of the reaction and ease discomfort.  If sap goes in eyes, rinse them with water and wear sunglasses.  This may be an emergency requiring immediate medical attention to prevent blindness!!I  f a reaction has occurred, the area of skin may be sensitive to sunlight for a few years and you may want to apply sun block or keep the affected area covered from the sun when possible   Seek medical attention!!!!

  • Height:  1- 2.0 meters (>6”)

  • Leaves:  large, deeply cut with sharp coarse teeth, reaching widths in excess of 1 meter

  • Stems:  hollow, ridged with red-purple splotching and coarse white hairs, with a diameter of 4-10 cm at base

  • Flowers (looks like Queen Anne’s Lace) white, made up of 4-12 smaller flat round units

 Is it a Cold or is it the Flu?

 

It can be hard to tell the difference between the flu and the common cold, since the symptoms can be similar. But if you know the warning signs of flu, you can get treatment quickly and work on feeling better, sooner.

 

What Do You Need to Know About Flu Symptoms?

 

First – prevent the flu by getting your Flu vaccine!
Unlike a cold, flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. Another key sign is a fever, which may not happen with a cold. You might also have:
  • Severe aches in your joints and muscles
  • Pain and tiredness around your eyes
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat and runny nose
  • Children often have vomiting or diarrhea.

 

Some symptoms can mean your illness is severe. Get immediate medical help if you have any of the following:
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in your chest or belly
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe vomiting

 

Prevention of the Flu:

  • Get the Flu Vaccine!!!!
  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Wear a mask
  • If you develop flu-like symptoms stay at home to prevent spreading the virus to others
  •  

You Think You Have the Flu. Now What?

People who are very sick or who have other medical conditions may need treatment with prescription medications, called antiviral drugs.
 

Top Reasons to Get the Flu Shot

 

  • THE FLU AFFECTS EVERYONE
      Vaccination is the best defence against the Flu.
  • THE FLU SHOT HELPS PROTECT YOU FROM GETTING THE FLU 
Prevents many illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths due   to the flu.
  • THE FLU SHOT IS SAFE
Mild reactions include soreness, redness or wselling where the vaccine was given.  Serious reactions are rare!
  • YOU HAVE A CHILD UNDER 5 YEARS OF AGE
Young children are more suscieptible to serious complications from the flu, suchas pneumonia, infection and dehydration.  Both partents and children need the shot
  • YOU ARE PREGNANT OR CONSIDERING PREGNANCY
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing complications such as pneumonia from the flu.  The flu shot is safe during pregnancy
  • YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS OVER 65 OR HAS A LONG-TERM HEALTH CONDITION
A number of chronic health conditions such as diabetes or cancer are associated with an increased risk of flu-related complications
  • GETTING THE FLU SHOT IS PART OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE                                                                                  When you get vaccinated against the flu, you build up your immunity, making you stronger and more resistant to the flu virus.
 
THE FLU SHOT IS YOUR BEST DEFENCE
AGAINST THE FLU
GET THE FLU SHOT
 
ontario.ca/flu*
1-877-844-1944
Antiviral drugs -- Relenza and Tamiflu -- are most effective when you take them within 48 hours after you start showing symptoms of flu. Your doctor may want you to take antiviral drugs if you have a high risk of complications from the flu.
Antibotics:

 

  • Both viruses and bacteria can make you very sick

  • Colds, flus and 90% of sore throats are viral

  • Antibiotics can be used for bacterial infections but will not help with viral illness

   Suggestions:

  • Rest, drink plenty of fluids

  • Use ice chips, lozenges, gargle with warm water and salt (1/4 tsp in 1 cup water)to reduce pain

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprophen (Advil) to reduce aches, pain and fever

  • Speak to your pharmacist for assistance with cough/cold medications and possible drug interactions

  • See your family doctor should your symptoms get worse or if you develop a new or higher fever!

To prevent infections,WASH YOUR HANDS!

All about Ticks!

Lyme disease

Learn how to avoid bites from blacklegged ticks, which may carry Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a potentially serious infection that you can get if you’re bitten by an infected blacklegged tick (also called a deer tick).

Not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and not everyone who is bitten by an infected tick will develop signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

To learn about:

  1. What blacklegged ticks look like

  2. Where blacklegged ticks live

  3. How to avoid getting a tick bite

  4. How to remove a tick

  5. Why ticks are tested

  6. Lyme disease signs and symptoms

  7. Lyme disease treatment

  8. Related