Illness and Health Conditions

If you, or one of your family members, have an illness, or health conditions it can be difficult to cope, and it can alter your daily routine, habits, your work, and lifestyle.  A serious or terminal illness can cause feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, and depression which can also impact your ability to cope and manage life. In this section, you can learn about various illness and health conditions that can impact you or your family, and explore how to manage a personal illness or health condition that you or a family member may be experiencing.  

A Roadmap to Becoming an Informed Consumer

Young or old, we all buy stuff. Sometimes finding the cheapest product feels like a win, but not too soon. Lowest cost may mean compromising on your health or quality of the goods, but going for the most expensive choice is not nice for the wallet either. We have access to an abundance of information (sometimes too much of it) and still, falling for a scam is easier than you think, and buying products you don’t need is all too common.

Considering how the products you buy affect your health and finances may sound tedious, but it is easier than it sounds and will save you a lot of headache and poor decisions. We have a four step process, and a few neat links to make a happy consumer out of you. When you get in the habit of asking these questions before buying something, it will be like second nature to you. And then before you know it, you’re an informed consumer and the satisfaction of making good choices will have you feeling proud of yourself.

Four considerations to make before making a purchase:

1. What does your budget say? – Frequent evaluation of your finances and a quick look at your accounts before making an unexpected purchase can help to dodge a stressful situation.
2. Are you prioritizing your health? – As much as we want to save money, it should never be at the expense of your health.
3. Are you sure you are smarter than the scammers? – We all know not to respond to fishy emails, but any consumer, especially when shopping online, is vulnerable to counterfeit goods and even theft.
4. Are you smarter than the marketers? – Have you ever bought something and then never used it again? Have you done that again after that? A few simple guidelines can put an end to that for good.

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Why am I so Tired?

We have all seen toddlers cry or melt down for no apparent reason. It is usually a reaction to being tired. The same thing can happen to adults, except that instead of crying, we simply absorb the effects of fatigue, allowing it to severely affect our quality of life.

How to conserve energy to fight fatigue:

  • Organize cupboards, storage areas and work areas so that frequently-used supplies, food items or equipment are always within easy reach.
  • Keep heavy items on a work surface to avoid having to move them when it’s time to use them.
  • Duplicate heavy items: keep a vacuum cleaner both upstairs and downstairs in your house.
  • If you’re working in the garden, use a gardening bench or a padded kneeler to reduce joint stress and conserve energy.
  • Delegate: ask or hire other people to carry out certain tasks that you find tiring.
  • Have groceries and other goods delivered to the home.
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Are You a Nomophobiac? How to Identify and Treat Smartphone Addiction

Smartphones have become an important part of our lives. We use them for emergencies, GPS tracking, entertainment, to access apps, read the news, keep up with friends and family and make phone calls. Smartphones keep us in tune and in touch. They have become as essential to our lives as breathing. But have they become too essential? Have you used your phone in any of the following circumstances?

Have you ever used your phone in the following circumstances?

  • over dinner
  •  in a movie theatre
  •  while driving
  •  in the shower
  •  in church
  •  at a child’s school function
  •  on a dinner date
  •  during sex

If so, you might be a smartphone addict, or even a nomophobiac (suffering from no-mobile-phobia, the fear of being away from your phone).

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Chronic pain needs work accommodations

Do you feel upset or frustrated that you are unable to meet your deadlines or participate fully at work due to your chronic pain issues? Chronic pain has a widespread effect on personal, psychological, social and work life. It hinders the ability to complete tasks, makes it challenging to meet deadlines and can create negative feelings or misunderstandings at the work place. Over time, chronic pain becomes an invisible disability creating barriers in achieving goals with the need to be self-managed on an everyday basis. 

An important aspect of managing chronic pain includes managing it at the work place using specific accommodations.

Work accommodations focus on improving or maintaining productivity levels and takes into account the worker’s health. Some examples of useful work accommodations include:

  • Honest disclosure of challenges or change in condition with management
  • Flexible and changed job design  
  • Replace the equipment and modify workstations
  • Change task intensity and  break tasks into smaller projects
  • Flexible work hours and location – work from home initiative
  • Support groups & resources for workers facing similar concerns  
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Don’t bring an uninvited guest home… take bed bug precautions.

Anyone, anywhere can be exposed to bed bugs. Exposure is not tied to your cleanliness. These small bugs are about ¼ inch long and resemble an apple seed in appearance, they do not jump and they do not have wings. They can be found in hotels, schools, rooming houses and hospitals. Acquiring second-hand items also increases your risk of exposure. So if you travel for work, or work in one of these environments don’t bring an uninvited guest home… take bed bug precautions.

Take the following precautions when staying in a hotel

  • Keep clothing in a tightly tied plastic bag in your suitcase or hang clothing in the closet
  • The bathroom is a good place to keep your luggage, or put it on a luggage rack
  • Before you unpack
    • Check the headboard and nightstand for bed bugs
    • Next check the mattress and box spring. While mattresses and box springs are changed frequently in hotels exam these for evidence of bed bugs which could include blood stains and bed bug droppings. Don’t forget to check the seams and mattress tag.
  • If you detect signs of bed bugs request another room and tell hotel management what you found
  • If you have bites or find evidence of bed bugs during your trip take extra precautions when you return home
    • Unpack outdoors
    • Launder washables using the hot water setting
    • Place everything in the dryer at the highest temperature for at least 30 minutes
    • Vacuum your luggage
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How to keep a clean house all week long and not go crazy

If you are responsible for cleaning your home, chances are you’re also the one with the burden of groceries, cooking, and working a job. The more people that are under your wing, the more exhausting balancing all the responsibilities can get. There are two types of extremes when it comes to housekeeping. One is to live in a constant state of mess, and the other is to be anxious over every untidy spot. Living in a mess is harmful for your physical and mental health, so cleaning is a must. But expecting that you will keep your dwelling spotless every day of the week is unrealistic. You have to accept that unless you stay at home all day and have no children, you cannot have an out of the magazine clean house at all times. There will be a messy room or spot every now and then. Consider the level of cleanliness that is both achievable with the time you have on hand, and acceptable for your comfort, and go from there. It is possible to have a generally clean house all week long however by having a systematic approach to cleaning.

Why cleaning is a must for your health:

  • A kitchen with piled dishes over a long time will collect disease causing bacteria and attract rodents
  • A dirty bathroom will build up mold which is associated with depression, as well as grow other dangerous bacteria
  • Clutter will increase dust and aggravate respiratory diseases and allergies
  • Clutter can also be a safety and tripping hazard
  • A messy house may cause stress, while cleaning reduces it
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Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Stress is a killer. It can cause a variety of musculo-skeletal disorders, from back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome to shoulder and neck tension. It can cause eye strain, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances and headaches, and chronic stress is the leading cause of anxiety and depression.

Increasingly, medical researchers are studying ways to cope with stress that do not involve medical or pharmacological intervention, and one of these remedies is yoga. Research shows that practicing yoga has the power to beat stress, along with a myriad of health concerns that are caused by stress.

Yoga can:

  • Relieve stress
  • Treat musculo-skeletal disorders, from back pain to neck tension
  • Relax the body and mind
  • Fight pain
  • Relieve tension and reduce the risk of injury
  • Make you a better communicator
  • Promote the act of self-compassion
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Staying Safe On, During, and After Vacation

If you research top travel destinations for Canadians, you will notice trends of new popular vacation spots. Destinations of travel are changing; more are opting for visiting famous spots in Latin America, Asia, Middle East, and Africa as opposed to an enclosed resort in a heavily explored island. This reflects love and curiosity for new places, but poses a risk of exposure to infectious diseases and other health and safety hazards. It’s no reason to fear however, the threats are preventable. With proper precaution and planning, the risks can be controlled for. Let’s talk about the before, during, and after of how to vacation safe. 

Key guidelines you should follow when travelling to countries that may have different safety practices and regulations

  • Eat foods that are fully cooked and served hot
  • Eat only fruits and vegetables that you can wash and peel yourself.
  • Eat and drink only dairy products that have been pasteurized.
  • Do not eat food from street vendors.
  • Drink beverages that have been bottled or sealed (water, carbonated drinks, or sports drinks).
  • Do not put ice in drinks.


Read more to know about prevention measures you can take to explore new destinations but avoid infectious disease.

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Men, let’s talk about your health

You may have heard that men live shorter lives than women. Men are live less healthy lives. According to Men’s Health Resource Center this is in part because they are more likely to go long periods of time without going to the doctor and less likely to adopt preventative health measures. For some, the only time they step into a clinic is when their health has severely declined, making the prognoses bleaker, all the while their condition was preventable. Visiting a physician is a sign of caring for your health, not a sign of weakness. Changing your health patterns can prolong your life, and improve its quality. It’s time to take care of your health. Let’s look at three health issues that are prevalent in men and four things you can do to prevent them.

If any of the following statements apply to you, it’s time to visit a physician:

  • You have found something on your body or have a symptom and it doesn’t go away after 2 weeks
  • You’ve heard people saying “you should get that checked out…”
  • You keep trying to self-diagnose by Googling the same symptoms for some time now
  • You don’t remember the last time you’ve stepped into a doctor’s office. It’s time for a physical
  • You are at a high risk for a serious health issue due to family history or other factors and you do not monitor your symptoms
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Don’t let chronic pain take over your work

Have you been suffering from prolonged chronic pain? Do you feel that medication and treatment was inadequate? Is your everyday life being effected? Managing chronic pain can be complicated and frustrating, because such pain is unpredictable, invisible and not always caused by a single reason. Chronic pain is also associated with mental health issues, and the inability to perform everyday tasks.  

Managing chronic pain may be a long term struggle but it is not impossible.

Here are some tips to help self-manage chronic pain at work, and prevent it from hindering your activities and job tasks:   

  • Set small, achievable goals and take your time – Don’t give up!
  • Gentle and frequent exercise
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle- explore new hobbies, meditation and nutritional diet.
  • Talk to a professional about other forms of treatment and therapies
  • Focus on yourself, take time out for family and plan activities around your needs or pain management schedule
  • Openly communicate your ongoing pain condition and any changes with your boss
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External Links

Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health

The Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health is the leading national foundation for women’s sexual and reproductive health. The CFWH is a registered charity.

You may find this site useful if you want:

  • To access health resources on women’s sexual and reproductive health
  • To access credible sexual health information for teens, adults, parents
  • Information on healthy pregnancy
  • To learn more about menopause
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Canadian Men’s Health Foundation

According to the Canadian Men’s Health Association “The statistics around men’s health in Canada are alarming; men are 40% more likely to die from cancer, 70% more likely to die from heart disease and live an average of nine years of their lives in extremely poor health. 70% of men’s health problems can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyles. With good information and easy tips, we know every guy can make small changes to make him feel healthier, and will benefit his family and community.

You may find this site useful if you want:

  • Hear men’s health experiences from other men
  • Learn about the Don’t Change Much campaign which is a resource dedicated to inspiring men and their families to lead healthier lives.
  • To access health resources, infographics, guidelines and a “manopedia” which discusses topics like prostrate health, and health related to the penis and testicles
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Dietitians of Canada

Dietitians of Canada (DC) is the professional association whose purpose is to advance health through food and nutrition, They provide evidenced based food and nutrition information, support easier access to adequate safe and healthy food, promote best practices and advocate for access to dietitians. The site provides lots of great information from finding a dietitian to planning meals and eating while you are breastfeeding.

On the site you will find:

  • A database to search for a dietitian
  • Tools to assess your BMI, eating and recipes
  • Tools to help you plan meals, shop and cook, and
  • Nutrition information
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About Kids Health

AboutKidsHealth is a health education website for children, youth and their caregivers. It is designed to empower families by making complex health information easy to understand.

Topics covered on this site include:

  • An alphabetical listing of health topics
  • An alphabetical listing of drug information
  • Access to learning hubs
  • Information on ages and stages, healthy living and prevention
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Health Report: Duration and quality of sleep among Canadians aged 18 to 79

Insufficient sleep (short duration and poor quality) is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, all-cause mortality, depression, irritability, and reduced well-being.(1) In today’s 24/7 world, insufficient sleep is common.(2)(3)

This site provides information about

  • How many Canadians are meeting sleep duration recommendations
  • Male vs. female sleep duration
  • Percentage of seniors meeting sleep duration recommendations
  • Sleep Quality
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Heads Up Guys

Developed by the University of British Columbia, The Newell Foundation and Movember Foundation this site is focused on helping men establish health strategies for managing depression. It provides information about depression in men, suicide, risk factors and triggers.

You may find this site useful if you want:

  • to understand what depression is and how it can impact you
  • practical tips and other information on how to take action
  • access information, campaigns and real life stories
  • to help your family member
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My Health Matters

My Health Matters delivers health information based on your personal health priorities and your individual life stage. Our articles, videos, recipes and interactive tools will help you manage and improve your health. All the content is developed and written specifically for women by the experts at Women's College Hospital.

You may find this site useful if you want:

  • Search health related content by your age
  • Identify health priorities
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Sex and U takes a real-life approach to the questions and issues around sex and sexuality that matter most to Canadians. From talking about sex, to lifestyle choices, to contraception awareness and sexually transmitted infections, provides accurate, credible, and up-to-date information and education on topics related to sexual and reproductive health. is an initiative of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Canada’s leading authority on sexual and reproductive health.

On the site you will find information about:

  • Your body and sex
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Contraception
  • Pregnancy
  • Consent
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Caring for Kids

Caring for Kids provides parents with information about their child’s and teen’s health and well-being. Because the site is developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) you can be sure the information is reliable. The information should not be used as suitable for medical care and advice, if you have specific concerns about your child’s health, please see your child’s paediatrician, family physician or other health care provider.

Topics covered on this site include:

  • A pregnancy and babies
  • Healthy bodies
  • Keeping kids safe
  • Growing and learning
  • Illnesses and infections
  • Immunization
  • Behaviour and parenting
  • Teen Health
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Optimal Aging – McMaster University Creates Evidenced Based Site for Healthy Aging

This website provides evidence based information about healthy aging. The this site and its social media network will  brings you the best available related research evidence at the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

This site contains content on:

  • Women’s Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Mental Health
  • Cancer
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Consumer Protection
  • Arthritis
  • Transportation
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Australian Government Healthy Workers Initiative

This website is designed for employers and includes a range of information and resources to assist with making workplaces healthier. It has information for both employers and employees.

You may find this site useful if you want to learn more about

  • Moving more
  • Eating well
  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Alcohol use
  • Being smoke free
  • How to create a healthy workplace
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Patients Like Me

This is a social network site where people can track their own health data, help others, by sharing experiences living with disease. Where newly diagnosed patients can improve their outcomes by connecting with and learning from others who've gone before them. Where researchers learn more about what's working, what's not, and where the gaps are, so that they can develop new and better treatments.

You may find this site useful if you:

  • Want to talk to others experiencing chronic illness about various topics such your illness, parenting, treatments and faith
  • Learn more about treatment options
  • Learn more about recent research
  • Want to access a digital health learning system that uses the most advanced technologies to help you better understand wellness, aging, and disease
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Seniors for Seniors

Seniors for Seniors is a site that combines quality care with companions close in age to those needing support. Sharing common experiences is an essential component of compassionate caregiving. The site can help provide mature companions t assist seniors in living in happier, more independent lives in the comfort of their own home, retirement community or long term care facility.

Services that can be accessed include:

  • Personal and Homemaking
  • Companions
  • Driver Companions
  • Live-in Companions
  • Overnight Assistance
  • House Cleaners
  • Drop In Companions
  • Foot Care Services
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Canadian Mental Health Association

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), founded in 1918, is one of the oldest voluntary organizations in Canada. As the nationwide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.

On this site you will find

  • Information about mental health and access to mental health assessment tools
  • Mental health programs for workplaces
  • Research and other information
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