CanLyme tick kit

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

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May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, a time to spread information on how to prevent Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. In our next post, we’re going to talk a little bit about blacklegged (deer) ticks, which carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, but today we’re going to share some information about Lyme itself.

Cases of Lyme disease in Canada have been rising over the last 10 years, and has been especially bad in Nova Scotia. Lyme disease is particularly hard to track because there are a wide range of varying symptoms so Lyme is often misdiagnosed as something else. You’re likely familiar with the classic “bullseye” rash, but there are actually over 100 identified symptoms! There are three stages of Lyme: early, spreading, and chronic infection. Lyme disease is most treatable during Stage 1; after that, symptoms worsen and diagnosis and treatment become more difficult.

The best thing you can do is decrease your risk of infection by educating yourself about Lyme disease and taking preventative action. Check out our next post for more information!

recommendations to avoid heat illnesses

Beat the Heat!

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I think we can all agree, New Brunswick’s weather can be all over the place. A few weeks ago, we had snow, and this past week we had extreme heat warnings! It’s important to be prepared for NB’s climate whenever you’re outside, and in the summer, that means being aware of the health risks that come along with heat and humidity.

Heat-related illnesses are caused by being over-exposed to extreme heat and/or over-working yourself in that heat. They can come on quickly and can lead to more serious issues such as long-term health problems or even death. Heat illnesses include heat-induced edema (swelling of hands, feet, and ankles), rash, muscle cramps, fainting, exhaustion, and stroke. Avoid these illnesses by keeping an eye on the forecast, staying cool with air conditioning, fans, and appropriate clothing, and keeping hydrated. Plan outdoor activities, such as exercise, hiking, picnics, or yard work for cooler days or cooler times of day, such as in the morning or evening, to avoid exposure to extreme heat. Pay attention to your body and to those around you, and if you see or experience any symptoms of heat illnesses—such as dizziness/fainting, nausea/vomiting, headache, rapid breathing/heartbeat, or changes in behaviour such as irritibility or sleepiness (especially in children)—get to a cooler place and drink some cold water.

When you get as much snow as we do, you want to make the most of the hot weather; just be sure you’re doing it safely!

poison ivy leaves

Poisonous Plants to Watch Out For in New Brunswick

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Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac grow in wooded or marshy areas throughout North America. They actually aren’t really poisonous—they produce a sticky oil called urushiol that causes an itchy, blistering rash after it touches your skin.

You may have heard the saying “leaves of three, let it be”—poison ivy has three shiny leaves, one in the middle and two on either side. Poison oak looks similar, but the leaves are grouped in threes, fives, or sevens, and are larger, more rounded, and have a hairy surface. Poison sumac grows as a shrub or tree, and its leaves grow in clusters of seven to thirteen leaves, with one by itself at the end.

You can avoid coming into accidental contact with posion ivy, oak, or sumac by wearing long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and closed shoes. If you’ve gotten any of the plants’ oil on your skin, wash it right away with warm soapy water or use alcohol wipes to remove it.

You may see a red rash appear in 24-72 hours and last up to three weeks. Over-the-counter medicine can provide relief from itchiness, as can cool compresses and oatmeal baths. Luckily, the rash isn’t contageous! Seek medical attention if the rash is close to your eyes or is widespread over your body, and go to the emergency room if you experience nausea, fever, shortness of breath, extreme soreness at the rash site, or swollen lymph nodes.

Founding member George Derrah highlight

Member Highlight: George Derrah

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Meet George Derrah—the man, the myth, the legend. George is the only Founding Member of YSSR still active with our team, and was among the group of volunteers that formed YSSR in 1983.

“We didn’t have an office or a home base in the beginning… we would work off the hood of a police car in lots of cases. In the beginning we did many door-to-door donation campaigns to raise funding to get our first truck and trailer.

“Local Sheriff George Melvin and RCMP Officer Ray Gautier were so helpful in getting us organized and recognized by EMO. We would set a table up in different locations—the mall, home shows, etc.—we would give out information and inform people about our group.”

Now, 37 years later, YSSR has over 100 members following in George’s footsteps to serve our community.

Veuillez rencontrez George Derrah—l’homme, le mythe, la légende. George est le seul membre fondateur de YSSR toujours actif dans notre équipe et faisait partie du groupe de bénévoles qui a formé YSSR en 1983.

“Nous n’avions pas de bureau ou de base au début… nous travaillions dans le capot d’une voiture de police dans de nombreux cas. Au début, nous faisions beaucoup de cueillettes de dons de porte à porte pour amasser des fonds pour obtenir notre premier camion et remorque

“Le shérif local George Melvin et l’agent de la GRC Ray Gautier nous ont beaucoup aidés à nous organiser et à nous faire reconnaître par l’EMO. Nous dresserions une table à différents endroits—le centre commercial, les salons, etc—nous donnerions des informations et informerions les gens sur notre groupe.”

Maintenant, 37 ans plus tard, YSSR compte plus de 100 membres qui suivent les pas de George pour servir notre communauté.