May 31, 2013 – Local Champions Recognized for their Commitment to Protecting Public Health

The impressive achievements of local individuals and organizations to protect residents from tobacco’s ill-effects were the centerpiece of three new awards handed out today by Peterborough Public Health in celebration of World No Tobacco Day.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra announced eleven recipients in three categories at a special event in Del Crary Park today, one of the city’s first smoke-free parks.  Awards were presented in three categories: Exceeding the Standards Award, Youth Cessation or Prevention Award, and Community Leader Award.  Click here for this year’s Champion for Tobacco-Wise Award recipients.

“The Public Health is very proud, and very excited to highlight the good work our partners are doing to protect public health by presenting them with our inaugural Champion for Tobacco-Wise Peterborough Awards,” said Dr. Salvaterra.  “We hope these awards will encourage others to follow in the footsteps of our community leaders, by providing cessation services to support those trying to quit and implementing bylaws or policies that will help protect the health of everyone in our area.”

Every year the World Health Organization marks May 31 as World No Tobacco Day.  It is a day set aside both to acknowledge the gains made in tobacco control worldwide, but also a day to highlight how much more work there is to be done to prevent the use of commercial tobacco products.

“Municipalities and organizations in both Peterborough City and County have been at the forefront of progressive tobacco control for the better part of a decade,” noted Dr. Salvaterra. “In many instances, groups and other jurisdictions are looking to Peterborough for advice on how to replicate what we’ve been able to achieve. 

Locally, World No Tobacco Day is used to recognize champions that have made a tangible difference to the health of our community. All of the recipients are making great advances to clear the air of secondhand smoke, help people quit smoking, or encourage youth to stay tobacco-free.

“While there is much to be celebrated about our community’s collective achievements, there is still much to be done,” added Dr. Salvaterra.

Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Ontario.  Each year, smoking and exposure to second-hand-smoke results in 13,000 deaths in Ontario. Locally, the use of commercial tobacco products kills approximately 286 Peterborough residents each year.

For more information on smoke-free policies, tobacco-free living or supports for quitting smoking, please contact Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000 or visit the Smoke-Free Places web page on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca


For further information, please contact:
Claire Townshend
Health Promoter, Tobacco Use Prevention
Peterborough Public Health
705-743-1000, ext. 355

May 30, 2013 – Public Health Activates Heat Alert and Response System for Peterborough City and County

With summer quickly approaching and warmer temperatures imminent, Peterborough Public Health has activated its Heat Alert and Response System (HARS) to advise residents of the best way to protect their health when temperatures soar.

The Public Health monitors forecasted weather conditions daily, as provided by weather forecasters and Air Quality Ontario.  Heat advisories will be issued to the media and key stakeholders and posted at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca  when a hot or humid air mass is forecast and heat related health effects may occur.  Upon learning that a potential heat threshold is forecasted to occur within 24-48 hours, Public Health will activate the HARS.

The Public Health has adopted a series of extreme heat thresholds designed to advise the public, health professionals, and community service providers of appropriate measures they can take to reduce the health effects of hot, humid and smoggy weather.  Information about these three advisory levels is available on the Extreme Weather – Heat webpage on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and outlined below:

Level 1: Heat Alert

A Level 1 Heat Alert is issued when the temperature is forecasted to reach 36ºC, with or without humidity, for two consecutive days with NO smog advisory.  This level of alert reminds residents of the following core messages; to keep their home cool, stay out of the heat, keep the body cool and hydrated, assist others, and recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion.


Level 2: Heat Warning

A Level 2 Heat Warning is issued when the temperature is forecasted to reach 36?C, with or without humidity for two consecutive days AND a smog advisory has been issued OR when the temperature is forecasted to reach 40?C, with or without humidity for two consecutive days with NO smog advisory OR at least two consecutive nights with minimum temperatures greater than 25ºC.  This level of warning reminds residents of the core messages above in addition to providing further information on how and where to stay cool, advising suspension of strenuous outdoor activities, reminders to assist vulnerable groups, and to watch for further information through the media and Public Health website.


Level 3: Heat Emergency

A Level 3 Heat Emergency is issued when the temperature is forecasted to reach 36?C, with or without humidity, with contributing factors (such as a power outage) OR when the temperature is forecasted to reach or reaches 40?C, with or without humidity, for two consecutive days AND a smog advisory has been issued OR when the temperature is forecasted to reach or reaches 45?C, with or without humidity, for two consecutive days WITH OR WITHOUT a smog advisory OR when the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) has determined a heat emergency based on reports of heat related illness.  This level of emergency reminds residents of all the core messages above in addition to asking residents to STOP all unnecessary strenuous outdoor activity, and to listen to media for further information and updates.

Extreme heat events are a potentially significant health risk and can have a severe impact on the health of vulnerable populations including infants, the elderly, shut-ins, persons with chronic diseases, the morbidly obese and the marginally housed.  Heat related illnesses such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are preventable.  Most healthy people can tolerate a short period of hot and humid weather as long as they stay cool and drink plenty of fluids. It is important to be aware that some medications may increase the health risks from extreme heat events.

The Public Health encourages all stakeholders to advise vulnerable clients of the heat advisory system and precautions they can take to prevent and manage heat related illness.

How to Protect Yourself During Hot Weather:

  • Drink lots of water and natural fruit juices even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola.
  • Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat when possible. If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and plan to go out early in the morning or evening when it is cooler.
  • Go to air conditioned or cool places such as shopping malls, libraries, community centres or a friend’s place.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, keep shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows slightly open.
  • Wear loose fitting, light clothing and a wide brimmed hat.
  • Keep lights off or turned down low.
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels.
  • Avoid heavy meals and using your oven.
  • Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.
  • If you are taking medication or have a health condition, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendations.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • heavy sweating
  • muscle cramps
  • weakness
  • headache
  • fainting
  • paleness, tiredness
  • dizziness, nausea

Air conditioned public facilities are available to city and county residents seeking a place to cool off, such as shopping malls, community centres, arenas and libraries.  Residents are advised to phone in advance to determine hours of operation.


For further information, please contact:

Shawn Telford
Public Health Inspector
705-743-1000, ext. 287


May 21, 2013 – Community Invited to Travel the Newest Section of the Trans Canada Trail between Lang and Hastings

Residents are invited to take part in the second annual International Trails Day Festival on May 31 and June 1 with free events taking place throughout Peterborough City and County.

The centerpiece of this year’s festival will be the first supported ride of the newest section of the Trans Canada Trail between Lang and Hastings starting from McIntyre Park in Lang on International Trails Day on Saturday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Further details are available at www.ourfavtctrail.ca .

“Trails offer a wonderful way to explore nature through the urban and rural landscapes of our region,” said Kathy Reid, Coordinator of Communications and Education with Otonabee Conservation.   “It’s inspiring to see so many community groups come together to create such an exciting array of family-friendly activities that we expect will draw hundreds out to our trails during the festival.”

The festival kicks off with opening ceremonies during the Bike and Trails Fest at Millennium Park in Peterborough on Friday, May 31 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  In addition to the first supported ride of the Lang-Hastings Trail on June 1, there will be giveaways, guided walks and treats available along several other trails across the city and county, including Bridgenorth, Lakefield, and Douro.

“We are fortunate to have such a wide network of trails at our back door to make it easy for residents to stay physically active and connected to nature and to one another,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Even an easy stroll a few times each week leads to noticeable health benefits and can reduce your risk of most chronic diseases.”

Locally, the festivities are being organized by a committee including Otonabee Conservation, Rotary Club of Peterborough, trails enthusiasts (Cycling Dudes, Cycle  Chicks, Biker Babes), County of Peterborough,  City of Peterborough, Selwyn Township, Township of Douro-Dummer, Kawarthas Northumberland Green-Up, Peterborough Cycling Club, Peterborough Public Health, Kawartha Hiking Club, and the Peterborough Field Naturalists.

For full details, and to download the brochure  and map please visit http://www.otonabee.com/parks-trails/trails/

International Trails Day is an annual celebration of trails to promote trail development, the use of trails and the healthy lifestyle they encourage.  It is celebrated each year on the first Saturday in June in several Canadian provinces including Nova Scotia and Manitoba.




For further information, please contact:


Brittany Cadence                                                            Kathy Reid

Communications Supervisor                                       Coordinator, Communications and Education

Peterborough Public Health                  Otonabee Conservation

705-743-1000, ext. 391                                                   705-745-5791


May 8, 2013 – Sexually-Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections Remain Area’s Most Common Communicable Diseases in 2012

New Report Shows Chlamydia Most Frequently Reported Communicable Disease in Peterborough City and County

According to the 2012 Reportable Disease Report released today by Peterborough Public Health, 64% of all reportable diseases last year were sexually-transmitted or blood-borne infections, with chlamydia topping the list as the most frequently reported communicable disease in our community last year.

Of the 749 confirmed cases of all reportable diseases in 2012, 388 (52%) of those were chlamydia.  However, for a second year, there was a slight reduction in the number of cases of chlamydia in Peterborough, down 14 cases from a total of 402 in 2011.  

“Chlamydia rates remain high across the province, and it continues to be the most widespread bacterial sexually-transmitted infection in Canada which may be partially attributable to better screening programs and more sensitive testing procedures,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. 

“It’s also noteworthy to see the burden influenza continues to place on our population, with it representing 18% of all reported diseases in 2012,” added Dr. Salvaterra.  “This is a good reminder that getting the flu shot makes a real difference in our community, as influenza is by far the most common respiratory illness accounting for 81% of all cases in this category.”

Overall, there was a 4.4% increase in the total number of reportable communicable diseases locally in 2012 from 2011. There are more than 60 communicable diseases that all health care providers are required to report to Public Health for appropriate follow up and infection control measures.   The Public Health’s 2012 report organizes these diseases into four categories: food and water borne diseases; sexually-transmitted and blood-borne infections; diseases spread by direct contact and respiratory routes; and ‘other’ which includes vaccine-preventable diseases, vector-borne diseases, and zoonotic diseases.

Other highlights from the report include: 

  • There was an average of 62 incidences of reportable diseases each month in 2012 with the largest number reported in December (126) and the fewest in July (45).  Just over one third (266 or 36.4%) of all cases in 2012 occurred in the fourth quarter (October through December) largely as a result of a number of community and institutional influenza outbreaks.  
  • There was an increase in the number and relative frequency of reportable diseases caused by food and waterborne routes, partially due to an increase in the number of reported cases of salmonella.  
  • The number of gonorrhea cases doubled in 2012 from 2011.
  • Approximately two thirds (471 or 63.3%) of all the illnesses reported to Public Health occurred in females.

To see the full report, visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca, click on “About Us”, then “Plans and Reports – Reportable Diseases in Peterborough County and City 2012”.


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391


May 8, 2013 – May is Speech and Language Month

Right from birth, babies begin to communicate.

Taking cues from the facial expressions and body language of the people around them, infants learn how best to express their feelings and needs. This learning will continue for years as infants grow, and develop the ability and skills to use words and sentences to communicate with others.

This early start to learning means it’s crucial for parents to take the time to nurture and encourage their child’s development of speech and language skills, says Leisa Baker, a Public Health Nurse with Peterborough Public Health.

May is Speech and Language Month and it’s a good time to highlight the role parents play in their child’s development, she says.

“It is important for infants and toddlers to have early exposure to language and communication,” Baker says. “What and how we see and say things sets the pathway for further learning with infants. This allows the brain to grow and helps them develop the ability to interpret and navigate their world with words.”

Baker says parents can nurture speech and language development with their children by:

  • Reading and talking with their infants as soon as possible
  • Providing the correct words for objects when toddlers point or gesture at items
  • Listening to children talk and making eye contact with them
  • Reading, singing and playing social games like peek-a-boo together
  • Exaggerating the pitch and tone of their voice when speaking with children

“Helping children develop speech and language skills is one of the best gifts parents can provide,” she says. “Strong speech and language skills help ensure children are better prepared for school so they can be successful learners in school, and in life.”

PCCHU is a partner in the District Preschool Speech and Language Program, a not-for-profit partnership between health professionals and parents. Parents are encouraged to visit the program’s website at www.kidtalk.on.ca to see if their child’s speech and language skills are on track by reviewing the developmental milestones for children up to five years of age. The site also features information on upcoming events, video demonstrations for helping children develop skills, and links to community organizations and libraries.


For further information, please contact:

Leisa Baker
Public Health Nurse
 (705) 743-1000, ext. 312


May 3, 2013 – Location: Curve Lake First Nation

The community is advised that the next meeting of the Board of Health will take place on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 4:45 p.m. in the in the Council Chambers, Administration Building, 22 Winookeedaa Street, Curve Lake First Nation.

To download the agenda and the online board package, please visit:


The meeting is open to the community and members of the media.

For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
Peterborough Public Health
705-743-1000, ext. 391