With mosquito season upon us, Fraser Health and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control are reminding people to be proactive in preventing infections of West Nile virus.
The disease is carried by mosquitoes and can infect people as well as birds and other mammals.
Most people infected with the virus show no symptoms, but about 20 per cent will experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, rash, swollen glands and sensitivity to light.
About one in 150 infected people experience serious illness. The best way to reduce the risk of contracting the virus is to remember the four Ds:
? Drain: keep your property free of standing and stagnant water as this can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
? Dusk/dawn: mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Cover up and use insect repellent if you are outside.
? Dress: wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shorts and pants, shoes with socks and a hat when outdoors. Light coloured clothing is best.
? Defend: use insect repellent on exposed skin or on top of clothing. Repellent containing DEET is most effective.
Another important part of the West Nile virus preventative program is the reporting of dead crows.
As crows are particularly susceptible and often die from the virus, Fraser Health tracks and records public reports of dead crows and collects some for testing.
"Residents play a big role in West Nile surveillance," said Glen Embree, manager of environmental health services for Fraser Health. "Without public participation, early detection of (the virus) is more difficult. We urge residents in the Fraser Health region to be alert to dead crows and report them by calling Fraser Health's West Nile reporting line."
To report a dead crow, or for concerns with mosquito breeding habitat on private land in the Fraser Health area, call and leave a message on the toll-free reporting line, 1-888-WNV-LINE (1888968-5463).
Health Canada has recalled a sexual enhancement product, called Lightning Rod, from retailers across the country this month, including one store in Burnaby.
After testing by Health Canada, the dietary supplement was discovered to include a hidden ingredient (hydroxythiohomosildenafil) that may pose serious health risks to Canadians.
Hydroxythiohomosildenafil is an unauthorized substance similar to sildenafil, which is a prescription medication used to treat erectile dysfunction and should only be used under the supervision of a health-care practitioner.
Using Lightning Rod may affect those with heart problems, those at risk of stroke, or those taking any nitrate drug (nitroglycerine, for example).
Health Canada is monitoring the voluntary recall of this product by IT Erotics and has requested that the company stop selling unauthorized health products.
IT Erotics has, in the past, recalled "several potentially dangerous dietary supplement products in addition to other potentially dangerous sexual enhancement products that contained hidden ingredient," according to Health Canada's website.
The product was being sold at Ultimate Amore in Burnaby.
As of July 4, Health Canada had not received any reports of adverse reactions associated with the Lightning Rod product.
HELP FOR HEALTHY HEARTS
Cardiac patients at Royal Columbian Hospital are that much closer to seeing expanded care after a recent donation was made towards a new multipurpose interventional suite at the hospital.
Winvan Paving Ltd. made a donation of $15,000 this month to help increase care for cardiac, stroke and aneurysm patients.
The New Westminsterbased paving company was a platinum-level sponsor of this year's RCH Foundation Shine gala, which raised almost $200,000 (net) for the expanded suite.
The hospital serves patients throughout Fraser Health, including Burnaby.
Marelle Reid is a reporter with the Burnaby NOW and its sister paper, The Record. Have an item for the Medical File? Send it to her at editor email@example.com or by fax to 604-444-3460.