Say 'No' to Q-Tips

Lots of people use Q-tips to keep their ears clean, but few people know that it’s actually not a good thing to do.  For instance, the cotton tip can dislodge and get trapped in the ear canal, or puncture the eardrum, or the irritation can cause an infection in the ear canal requiring antibiotics.  If you believe there’s wax built-up in your ear, the better thing to do lie on your side at bedtime to install a drop or two of mineral oil into the ear at bedtime, and stay in that position for a few minutes.  This will help soften up the ear wax and make its way out.

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Water Safety

Dr. Hippo wants to share with you a few tips on water safety. After all water is a hippo's natural habitat!

This has been an exceptionally hot summer; jumping into that lake or pool to cool down can be a lot of fun. A backyard pool should to be fenced on all sides with a lock on the gate. Kids should be supervised at all times and personal flotation devices (PFD) are strongly advised. It’s also a good time to make sure to update your CPR training that can be easily obtained through Canada Red Cross or St. John Ambulance. Also see the this article by Transport Canada for more info on lifejackets and PFDs.

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Food Safety

One of the best summertime activities is to hang out with family/friends to enjoy a BBQ.  Be careful to keep chicken and turkey properly refrigerated before cooking, completely clean the prep surface and thoroughly cook the meat before eating that yummy chicken burger to avoid getting Salmonella infection that can cause fever, belly cramps and diarrhea.  Click here for more information.

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Heat Emergency

Getting overheated in summer can have serious consequences, such as getting a heat stroke.   Danger signs and symptoms to recognize include high temperature (>40⁰C), irritability, confusion, bizarre behaviour, seizure and coma etc.   This is a truly life-threatening emergency.  If you suspect someone to be suffering from a heat stroke, call 911 right away.  In the meantime, remove the affected person from the sun, remove some clothing, and spray cool water over most of the person’s body surface while waiting for help to arrive.  See this article article for more information.

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Staying cool in the scorching heat

Hippos know a thing or two about staying cool underneath the Sub-Saharan sun, but do you?

Hot, humid summer days can be especially hard for people with breathing problems such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma.  It is important to stay in a cool environment with air conditioning access.  During the day, shopping malls and public libraries are good places to be.  The City of Toronto has published a list of Air Conditioned Public Places and Cooling Centres here.

And don’t forget to check on elderly neighbours and relatives from time to time!

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