May 28, 2015 – Public Health Celebrates Community Leaders in Tobacco Prevention

The greater Peterborough area is a leader in promoting tobacco-wise living. On Thursday, May 28 Peterborough Public Health formally recognized those who have taken measures to make Peterborough a smoke-free environment as part of their World No Tobacco Day celebrations. The award ceremony was held at Peterborough Collegiate Vocational School with individuals and organizations that go above and beyond to help create a tobacco-free community.

The awards, in three categories, were handed out by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra. First, the Exceeding the Standards Act Award was for organizations and municipalities who have introduced policies going beyond the Smoke Free Ontario Act. Next, the Cessation or Prevention Award went to schools that prevent youth from starting to use tobacco products, as well as helping youth quit smoking and remaining tobacco free. Finally, the Community Leader Award celebrated individuals and organizations who contribute to smoking prevention and cessation in our community.

“Peterborough has always been at the forefront of progressive tobacco control for more than a decade,” explained Dr. Salvaterra. “There is still work to be done to make Ontario home of the lowest smoking rates in the country, but thanks to the hard work of our award winners today we certainly are on the right path.”    

There were a total of nine award recipients from municipalities, schools and school boards, sports clubs and community organizations. This marks the third year of PCCHU handing out these awards in recognition of community members’ hard work. 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 provincially. Locally, the use of commercial tobacco products kills approximately 286 Peterborough residents each year. For more information on smoke-free policies, tobacco-wise living or supports for quitting smoking, please contact Public Health, or visit the Smoke Free Places page on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.


For further information, please contact:

Keith Beecroft

Health Promoter, Tobacco Use Prevention

705-743-1000, ext. 238

May 25, 2015 – Public Health Activates Heat Alert and Response System

Weather-Alert-aWith 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 details 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 direct 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:


Wanda Tonus
Public Health Inspector
705-743-1000, ext. 285

May 22, 2015 – Public Health Celebrates School Garden Day

Food security, sustainability and nutrition were all on the agenda when Peterborough Public Health was at Highland Heights on Friday, May 22 to celebrate School Garden Day. This was an opportunity to learn about the educational value of growing gardens at local schools, and how we are creating healthier schools and communities.

This was an excellent opportunity for students to connect and become more involved in their school community at the same time they are learning about the environment, active living and a balanced diet.

Local schools were asked to write a brief story about their garden, and send it to PCCHU. In return they were provided seeds courtesy of Green Up!, Peterborough Community Garden Network and Johnston’s Greenhouse.

“Celebrating School Garden Day is a fitting way to champion those schools in Peterborough and Peterborough County who take the time to garden,” explains School Health Liaison Anne Gallant. “The Peterborough Public Health encourages all schools to grow because of the benefits for students and faculty alike.  It is great to see students interested in the school garden all while improving their overall health.”

Students need to be healthy in order to learn, which is why Peterborough Public Health is committed to creating healthy schools.  While this is the first time PCCHU is celebrating School Garden Day, creating school gardens is part of a broader healthy schools initiative that focuses upon education and physical and social environments to promote healthier students. The healthy schools program is dedicated to ensuring the best overall health for all students. Highland Heights is one of 11 schools in Peterborough and Peterborough County who participate in the healthy schools campaign.


For further information, please contact:

Anne Gallant
School Health Liaison
705-743-1000, ext.314

May 21, 2015 – Public Health Promotes Sun Safety to Reduce Skin Cancer Risk for Those Who Work Outside

In response to higher-than-average local skin cancer rates, today Peterborough Public Health teamed up with Johnston’s Greenhouse to promote sun safety for outdoor workers. The event focused on how those who work outside can reduce their risk of skin cancer by spotlighting Johnston’s Greenhouse’s efforts to educate and protect their staff.

“The health and safety of our staff is our number one priority, so making our employees aware of the potentially dangerous effects of long-term exposure to the sun is vital,” explained Chris Heckel of Johnston’s Greenhouse. “With the help of Public Health we have created a sun safety program to educate our staff and make it easier for them to protect themselves. This program also benefits our community as our team is able to share their knowledge with our clients who also like to spend time in the sun.”

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra was on hand to commend Johnston’s Greenhouse for their leadership in sun safety promotion.  “Rates of skin cancer in Peterborough are higher than the provincial average, and the mortality rate for melanoma is rising. However 90% of skin cancer can be prevented, so programs like this are absolutely necessary to turn the tide.” She noted That those who work outside have greater exposure to the potentially harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun.

Between 1986 and 2007, a Public Health study found that Peterborough men aged 45 to 64 had incidence rates 36.2% higher than their provincial counterparts, whereas women aged 75 and older had rates 41.5% higher than the province.

Anita Record, Manager of the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society also attended today’s event and spoke about the dangers of UV rays, particularly those who enjoy outdoor recreational activities or work outside.

A large part of Johnston’s business is landscaping, property maintenance and deck installation.  Johnston’s is considered a leader in the community for providing their workers with sun safety training, hats, water and sunscreen at the beginning of every shift. When sun exposure is unavoidable, these are the major precautions that should be taken.


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

May 15, 2015 – ** To view the Board of Health Meeting Summary from April 15 please click the image below:


May 14, 2015 – Peterborough Public Health’s Mobile Dental Health Centre rolled into Havelock for Celebrate Havelock on May 9, 2015.  The celebrations took place at the Havelock Community Centre where staff representing Public Health’s dental team were on hand to showcase the range of preventive and treatment dental services available on the Mobile Dental Health Centre.

The fully equipped Mobile Dental Health Centre ensures eligible residents in rural areas of the county have access to dental services.  With two dental chairs, where patients will be treated by either a dentist, or a registered dental hygienist, the vehicle offers a modern and professional environment, and is fully accessible.  The services range from check-ups, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings and extractions – all available at no cost to eligible residents.

“The Mobile Dental Health Centre is a great way for us to reach more people, and make an impact on people’s access to dental health services,” explains Sarah Tanner, Oral Health Program Supervisor.  “Celebrate Havelock was a terrific opportunity to showcase the dental services we offer to rural communities.  With such a vast geography in the county this is an excellent tool to offer services and promote oral health.”

This July the Mobile Dental Health Centre will be celebrating four years of offering professional dental services in our Peterborough communities.  In order to find out if you are eligible, or to book an appointment please call 705-748-2230, or email dental@peterboroughpublichealth.ca.  The Mobile Dental Health Centre will be visiting Keene, Millbrook, Norwood, Walmart stores in Peterborough, Bridgenorth and other locations over the next few months.


For further information, please contact:
Sarah Tanner
Supervisor, Oral Health Program
705-743-1000, ext. 391

May 13, 2015 – Hundreds of Volunteers Who Served 2.2 Million Meals Last Year Recognized at Appreciation Social

Today more than 150 people gathered to celebrate Food for Kids breakfast and snack programs in local schools and to honour the incredible contributions of local volunteers who run this program throughout the community.

“This is a proud day for our entire community and the hundreds of volunteers, schools and sponsors who have kept young minds nourished for over 20 years,” said Chris McCarthy, outgoing Food for Kids Student Nutrition Program Coordinator.  “Thanks to the high level of community involvement, Food For Kids has developed into an incredibly successful program that makes a real difference to local students.”

Food for Kids student nutrition programs are available to all students at 48 participating schools.  Nutritious foods are prepared by and served by volunteers in a friendly, welcoming environment.  Last school year, breakfast and snacks were made available to approximately 17,500 students, and almost 2.2 million meals were served.

“Kids arrive at school hungry for many reasons: long bus rides, rushed mornings resulting in skipped breakfasts, and sometimes, not enough food at home.  Universal breakfast programs allow all students to enjoy a healthy breakfast, getting them ready for their busy day of learning ahead.” said Luisa Magalhaes, Public Health Nutritionist at Peterborough Public Health.  “When children are well-nourished, there are noticeable improvements in student behaviour, attitude, attention span, concentration, academic achievements, and school attendance.”

Through the collaborative efforts and contributions of committed community members, the Food for Kids partnership has grown to 48 school breakfast programs and over one thousand volunteers who contribute an average of 900 hours every week to local programs.

Today’s Appreciation Social recognized the contributions and dedication of Food For Kids’ volunteers who generously contribute time to making student nutrition programs possible throughout Peterborough County and City.


For further information, please contact:
Luisa Magalhaes
Public Health Nutritionist
Food For Kids Student Nutrition Program
Peterborough Public Health
705-743-1000, ext. 233


May 12, 2015 – May 22 Workshop for Parents, Early Educators, and Child Development Professionals

The Speech, Language and Hearing Association of Peterborough (SLHAP) is hosting a workshop for parents, caregivers, educators and child development professionals entitled “Developing Self-Regulation in Young Children.” The event will be held Friday, May 22, 2015 at the Pentecostal Church in Peterborough from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Amanda Binns, a PhD. candidate at Western University and licensed Speech Language Pathologist, will be the guest speaker for the seminar. She will discuss the role self-regulation plays in attention, communication and reciprocity. She will also explain how to help parents in carrying out strategies at home.

“It is important for parents and educators to help children develop self-regulation skills, and as with many things, teaching and role modeling of these skills should begin when children are very young”, says Leisa Baker, public health nurse at Peterborough Public Health.

Registration costs $75 for professionals and $35 for parents and students, and includes lunch and refreshments.

The workshop will take place in the auditorium of the Calvary Pentecostal Church located at 1421 Lansdowne St W., Peterborough.  To register, please send a cheque with your registration form to the Speech, Language and Hearing Association of Peterborough, P.O. Box 30063, RPO Chemong, Peterborough, ON K9J 7R4. A registration form is available at www.kidtalk.on.ca

The Speech, Language and Hearing Association of Peterborough is an interagency partnership of Peterborough Public Health, the Five Counties Children’s Centre, both local school boards, the Learning Disabilities Association of Peterborough, early childhood educators, a literacy specialist and parents. The committee promotes education opportunities to increase awareness of communication development in children in the County and City of Peterborough.

For more information, please email slhap@live.ca.


For further information, please contact:
Karen Fisher
Speech-Language Pathologist, Five Counties Children’s Centre
705-748-2337, ext. 261

May 8, 2015 – Location: Curve Lake First Nation Council Chambers 

The community is advised that the next meeting of the Board of Health will take place on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 4:45 p.m. 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:
Jane Naylor
Communications Assistant
705-743-1000, ext. 292

May 7, 2015 – May 23

The Peterborough Public Health is teaming up with local veterinarians to help combat rabies. On Saturday, May 23 from 12 noon until 2:00 p.m. there will be multiple clinics running across the County and City to help protect pets against the disease.  These vaccinations are low-cost at $25 per pet. All animals must be on a leash or caged.

Provincial law requires that all cats and dogs over three months of age in Peterborough City and County must be vaccinated for rabies.  Vaccinations protect pets from rabies and help protect your family if your pet is bitten by a rabid wild animal.  A conviction for not having an animal properly vaccinated carries a $110.00 fine per animal.

“Protecting your cat or dog against rabies is not just a good idea, it’s the law,” said Atul Jain, Manager of Inspection Services, who oversees the rabies prevention and control program for Public Health.  “We hope that the community will take advantage of these low-cost rabies clinics because while it’s rare, when humans develop rabies from infected animals it is almost 100% fatal.”

The Ministry of Natural Resources’ aggressive Rabies Control Program has dramatically reduced the incidence of rabies in foxes, skunks and raccoons in Ontario.  In 2014 there were 18 confirmed rabies cases in Ontario, all in bats.  Bats, like other mammals, may have rabies and can transmit rabies to dogs and cats.  There are eight species of bats in Ontario, each of which has its own strain of rabies, but the more common strains are big brown bat, little brown bat, and silver-haired bat. Pet vaccination and the provincial baiting program are still required to keep rabies at bay for the protection of Ontario families.

Rabies is a deadly disease of the central nervous system that affects humans and other mammals.  The virus is concentrated in the saliva of a rabid animal and can spread through a bite, cut or scratch, or if the saliva comes in contact with the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes.  There is no known treatment for rabies once the symptoms appear.  The disease cannot be treated, but it can be prevented through vaccination.


For further information, please contact:
Atul Jain
Inspection Program Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 259