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Dr. Zach’s Guide to Summer Health

BT Montreal | posted Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Being outside and active is healthy


Skin protection –

Sun exposure is the greatest cause of skin damage with time (aka photoaging), caused by uv radiation

Sun exposure is the greatest cause of skin cancer


Skin cancer:

Squamous cell cancer (16%)

Basal cell cancer (80%)

Malignant melanoma (4% but >75% of skin cancer deaths)


ABCDE rule for skin cancer, esp melanoma


B — Irregular borders

Colour – blue black, multiple colours

Diameter – greater than 6mm (pencil eraser)



Highest UV between 10am and 4pm

Shade, hat, clothing, esp with UV protection factor (ore tightly woven)


Typical car, home, and office windows block most UVB rays but a smaller portion of UVA rays


Sunscreen – get broad spectrum upf (uv protection factor) (UVA and UVB).  spf reflects uvb protection.  Use 30+

Uva skin aging wrinkling some skin cancer

Uvb main cause of sunburn and cancer

Both lead to skin aging eye damage (cataracts mainly) skin cancer


Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming (some are water resistant)


UVB does induce production of vitamin D.  Can get it via diet or supplements.  And even with sunscreen you will get vitamin D.

Foods with vitamin D:  Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.

  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
  • Beef liver.
  • Egg yolks.


Sunglasses should block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays


Avoid tanning beds — >90% UVA, rest UVB.  exposure to tanning bed in youth increases risk of melanoma by 75%


If you “need” a tan use a cream (stains the skin)



Risk factors for heat illness – young and old, chronic medical conditions, certain medications

When high humidity sweat will not evaporate, so less able to cool.  Other conditions predisposing are obesity, fever, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, alcohol.

Heat cramps, heat syncope (passing out from low blood pressure from relative dehydration), heat cramps from loss of fluids and electrolytes, heat exhaustion (weakness, lightheadedness, fatigue)

Heatstroke – life-threatening emergency that can damage almost every organ (brain, gi tract, liver disease, kidney damage).  Treated with cooling, fluids


Dress lightly, limit physical exertion, air conditioning, fluids — bring water drink regularly.  Avoid alcohol, stay in the shade.  Keep urine clear


Insect bites – most are not harmful though some people are allergic.  Some spiders can cause quite severe local reactions.

Mosquitos can carry serious diseases – west nile virus (here), dengue, ebola, chikungunya

WNV- 1 in 2-300 people infected with WNV get sick.  Only in summer.  Symptoms – vomiting myalgias sore throat fever chills

Avoid mosquito bites – DEET repellent, don’t leave sitting water.  Consider netting.  Peak biting times are dawn and dusk/early evening.

Tick bites – deer tick carries it.  3 stages (rash, flulike, headache arthritis). Tx with abx.  Prevention with long-sleeves, light clothing, DEET-containing repellent, keep grass trim, check pets

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, spider – a type of insect) stings – In most people they cause pain and local swelling.  Some people have anaphylactic allergies which is life threatening.

Noisy activity, bright coulours, perfumes, may incite stings

Remove stinger or tick from skin


Animal bites – dogs cats rodents (rat mouse hamster squirrel gerbil) primates farm animals humans

Dog bites – 5-10% infection (12-30% in hand)

Cat bites – 30-50% infection

Rodents – low risk of infection

Primates (chimps, apes, monkeys, humans) – high risk of infection.  Human bites to hand 25-50% infect

Rabies – virus, from bites more than scratches

Headache runny nose fever sore throat muscle aches upset stomach back pain spasms

High risk animals for rabies — fox raccoon skunk bat coyote

Post-exposure prophylaxis

All about Mom’s Health

BT Montreal | posted Wednesday, May 10th, 2017


  1. Having children earlier and having more children decreases the risk of breast cancer (due to decreased menstrual cycle hormone exposure) (but shed pregnancy weight — obesity increases risk of breast cancer). Breastfeeding also decreases risk of breast cancer
  1. Having children lowers the risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Hemorrhoids: Motherhood increases the risk of hemorrhoids.

Urinary incontinence:  Motherhood increases the risk (the more kids the greater risk) (Majority of women improve their diet, at least initially)

Postpartum depression: 75-80% of new moms get baby blues; 10-20% of new moms get PPD

Happiness:  People with children happier?  Not necessarily.  They have more highs and lows.  Much is tied to other factors — marital status, economic and work status.   Single parents have a tough time. Countries with social policies allowing parents to better combine work with family make happier mothers.

Sleep:  New parents are sleep deprived

Expectations:  Lots of pressure to be the perfect mom

Infections:  Moms of kids in daycare are exposed to many infections, mostly viral

What can be done:

  1. For the non-moms — help out!  Let mom sleep, make food, do laundry, esp with newborns.  Give mom a break.
  2. For moms — find ways to take care of yourself — get a babysitter and sleep, eat well, exercise, see a friend.  You can better take care of others if you take care of yourself.  Give yourself a break.
  3. Not worth it to have a kid for the health benefits but if you want one, do what you need to take care of yourself and your baby.