submitted to FJ April 14, 2019 Magandang araw mga kababayan!   It seems like Spring is finally here, although it’s been teasing us with warm weather for weeks now!  The good thing about this pattern of melts and freezes is that it significantly decreases the risk of flooding in Manitoba and all the risks that go with it. It’s still important to be prepared for that possibility, so let’s talk more about the implications of flooding and what you can do to protect yourself.  First off—flooding is the most common natural disaster in both developing and developed countries, and it is projected to get worse because of Climate Change.   The damaging consequences of floods are not only limited to your property and possessions but can have a lasting effect on your health and wellbeing.   Studies have shown that the stress from going through a flood disaster can last a long time even after the waters have receded.   In addition, the impacts on health aren’t always obvious.   These effects


March 18, 2019 Published in FJ Vol 33, No 06 I feel compelled to write about the tragedy that has rocked our community—the senseless killing of one of our bright young stars, Jaime Adao.   I became physically ill when I read about what had happened, and I ache with a mixture of shock, anger, disbelief, sorrow, fear and, yes, hate--at a world that could be so cruel as to allow this to happen.   I could write about grief/PTSD, self-defense in the face of violent or aggressive person(s), methamphetamine and psychosis—which was purported to be a potential cause/factor in the intruder’s behaviour.   These issues are all related, and there are important health lessons in each area we can learn.   I will start with methemphetamine because it has been an increasing problem in Manitoba in terms of prevalence, misuse, overdoses, deaths, violence and murder.   This is not a drug that only affects those who use the drug; we are in the midst of a crisis that is taking over health care, law

Needlestick Exposures

submitted to FJ March 5, 2019 Recently, I was asked about the risks of used needles found in the community so thought I’d talk about this in today’s column.   Whether you’ve come across used needles or not, they are present in Manitoba, and their occurrence has increased related to the increases in crystal meth and opioid injection drug use.   Generally used needles people come across in our community come from injection drug use outdoors, possibly related to unstable housing among those who use drugs. While the perceived risk of finding a used needle is quite high, the actual health risk to the general public (including kids) of finding one is actually pretty low.    The main theoretical risks from finding/getting poked by used needles are the blood-borne infections: hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.     There have certainly been increases in these infections in Manitoba related to shared injection drug use equipment.   There are also increases seen in other illnesses, such as

Cold Weather

Published in the Filipino Journal, February 05 – 20, 2019 Number 03 Happy February!   Cold enough for you??   Many pinoys remember their first winter in Manitoba—maybe the time they got their first parka, mitts, toque, and pair of deep winter boots.   “Talaga bang lumalamig ng ganyang kalamig sa Manitoba?   Opo, ang lamig! While usually the cold can be an annoying inconvenience, it can also lead to more serious frostnip, frostbite or hypothermia .  Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite, where only the skin freezes. Skin may appear yellowish or white, but feels soft to the touch. You may feel tingling or burning in the affected area.   With frostbite both the skin and body tissue freeze, and there is permanent damage to the affected area. You may get a loss of feeling in the affected body part and get white, gray or blistered fingers, toes, ear lobes or nose tip. Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously


Submitted to The Filipino Journal for publication December 20, 2018   I just found out ate’s ninang , Tita Shirley —one of my mom’s closest friends--just died.  Shocked, I asked inay what from.  Lung cancer.  The first thing that ran through my head is, “But she’s not a smoker!  And no one in her family (I don’t think…) is!”  And then I ran other possibilities in my head, and so today I want to write about radon. November was Lung Cancer Awareness Month as well as Radon Action Month in Canada.   Sadly, approximately 21,100 Canadians will die this year from lung cancer, and more than 3200 of those deaths are because of exposure to radon indoors.   That’s 16% of lung cancer deaths attributable to radon (2009 Health Canada study). This represents >3200 deaths each year.   In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada, after smoking.   Each year, over 600 deaths from lung cancer occur in the province. Manitoba’s lung cancer rates are close to the national a