April is here, and is finally delivering the warmer temperatures needed to cause the gurgling run off that really marks the start of a northern spring. Spring's return also brings with it a couple important health and wellness initiatives.
April 7th is World Health Day. This year's theme deals with vector carried diseases. Math and physics students might be familiar with vectors as a way of determining the position of a point in space, but in health terms, a vector is an organism, usually a biting insect or tick, that spreads disease. The campaign is timely as spring thaws inevitably bring the standing water that breeds another harbinger of spring - mosquitoes! In Canada we are fortunate that insect bites are usually no more than an irritating and sometimes painful nuisance, but for more than 40% of the world's population, an insect bite can lead to more serious diseases such as malaria, dengue fever or yellow fever. Closer to home, ticks can cause Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fortunately, as we all get outside more and more, precautions can be taken to limit contact with biting pests. Appropriate clothing, judicious use of repellents, and careful, prompt and appropriate medical attention to bites that do occur, can help us all enjoy getting outside.
April also brings the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Campaign. Current statistics show the number of new cancer cases rising
steadily as our population grows and ages. Almost half of
Canadians are expected to be affected by cancer in their lifetimes, and the disease remains a leading cause of death in Canada. Last year, an estimated
187,000 new cases were diagnosed and 75,500 Canadians died. SD 60 students at several schools have volunteered to assist with this year's campaign, by contributing paper daffodils for the society to distribute in locations where actual daffodils are not permitted. Community members can donate to the Society in many different ways including buying and wearing daffodil pins, donating online or when a Society canvasser comes to your door, participating in a Relay For Life event or by sponsoring a Relay participant.
Donations during Daffodil Month help fund cancer research, to provide information and deliver programs and services to prevent
cancer, to support people living with cancer and their families and
caregivers, and to advocate on behalf of Canadians on important health and cancer issues.
Persons interested in learning more about this campaign can go to cancer.ca.
SD 60 is committed to supporting and promoting social responsibility. As our long northern winter gives way to spring, giving consideration to campaigns that ensure we all enjoy the new season in good health is both socially responsible and something we can feel good about. Whether its learning about health initiatives from around the world, across the country or within our own community, good health matters to everyone.