December 21, 2016 – Peterborough Public Health Offers Free Quit Smoking Programs

If you are considering a new year’s resolution to quit smoking, Peterborough Public Health is pleased to offer free support to help you get there with the Choose to be…Smoke Free program.

“The Choose to be…Smoke Free program has a great track record and provides one-on-one support to help you quit,” said Serena Jewer, Public Health Nurse who offers cessation counselling.  “Whether you’re considering quitting for the first time or tenth time, we’re here to help you achieve your goals and will work alongside you every step of the way.”

Choose to be…Smoke Free is a free tobacco cessation support program for anyone that combines behavioural counselling and access to free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).  There is also a support group for women of reproductive age who want to quit or have recently quit that starts Tuesday, January 17, 2017 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Partners in Pregnancy Clinic. Help with transportation and childcare, and a $10 gift card will be provided for each session, as well as cost-free NRT for pregnant women who find it difficult to quit smoking using non-pharmacological methods.

For more information or to register for the next session, please call 705-743-1000 ext. 330.


For further information, please contact:
Serena Jewer
Public Health Nurse
705-743-1000, ext. 394

December 20, 2016 –  Peterborough Public Health Activates Extreme Cold Response Plan

Screen Shot 12-20-16 at 11.13 AMWith the colder winter months ahead, Peterborough Public Health has activated its Extreme Cold Response Plan (ECRP) to advise residents on the best way to protect their health when temperatures plummet.

“Cold weather injuries, such as frostbite and hypothermia, are preventable,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Most healthy people can tolerate a short period of cold weather if dry and properly dressed. Our plan is designed to advise those who are the most vulnerable, suffer from cardiovascular disease and are at the highest risk of cold weather injuries how to protect themselves.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that vulnerable populations in our communities include the elderly, infants (under one year), people with a history of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes and mental disabilities, and people who are homeless or marginally housed.

Cold weather, combined with wind, can cause serious injuries or even death. Peterborough Public Health monitors the forecasted weather conditions from December 1 to April 1.  The ECRP defines a series of cold weather thresholds that trigger the Peterborough Public Health to notify the general public, healthcare providers and community service providers of appropriate measures they can take to reduce the risk of cold weather injuries for themselves and the vulnerable populations they serve.  City Social Services have recently aligned their Extreme Weather Protocol to take effect when Peterborough Public Health issues frostbite or heat alerts.  This will lead to improved communications and coordination of health protection measures when extreme weather warnings are issued.

Notifications of extreme cold will be posted on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and issued to the media and stakeholder groups when the forecasted temperature or wind chill may result in an increased risk of frostbite. City Social Services will also share information regarding the locations and times of emergency shelters and any relevant outreach programs, as well as reminders about visiting public locations such as malls to get out of the cold.  Starting in December 2016, the meal/community drop in program has been contracted to provide extended hours of service from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow vulnerable populations a comfortable location until the Warming Room opens.

County residents are encouraged to consult their township for measures related to their local extreme cold response. Most townships and Curve Lake First Nation post extreme weather alerts on their websites and encourage residents to check in on neighbours.

Peterborough Public Health’s ECRP has three levels of notification:

  1. Frostbite Alert
  2. Frostbite Warning
  3. Cold Weather Emergency

Follow up messages and actions taken by Peterborough Public Health depend on the level of notification, as described below:

Level 1: Frostbite Alert

A Level 1 Frostbite Alert is issued when meteorologists forecast a temperature of -27?C to -38?C or a wind chill of -27 to -38. This level of notification reminds residents to: cover unprotected skin; avoid prolonged outdoor exposure; drink warm fluids; watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia; check on neighbours; and maintain a warm indoor environment (ideally 20?C or warmer).

Level 2: Frostbite Warning

A Level 2 Frostbite Warning is issued when meteorologists forecast a temperature between

-39?C and -47?C or a wind chill of -39 to -47. This level of notification reminds residents of the core messages above in addition to: reminding children and the elderly to stay indoors; advising the general public to reduce time spent outdoors; and advising the public to check their faces and extremities frequently for signs of frostbite.


Level 3: Cold Weather Emergency

A Level 3 Cold Weather Emergency is issued when meteorologists forecast a temperature of

-48?C or colder or a wind chill of -48 or colder OR when the temperature is below -27?C or a wind chill below -27 accompanied by a contributing risk factor such as a power outage, or critical infrastructure failure. This level of notification reminds residents of all the core messages above in addition to: requesting that residents stay indoors; ensuring vulnerable individuals are in a warm, safe environment; and advising the public to check their faces and extremities frequently for signs of frostbite. Further information about the Health Unit’s ECRP is available on  www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca under the section for “My Environment”.

Peterborough Public Health recognizes that other community organizations may have developed their own internal policies and procedures for dealing with extreme cold for the population they are serving (i.e. school boards, and day care providers). Community agencies and partners that would like direct notification from us in the event of an extreme cold alert should contact the Communications Manager at 705-743-1000, ext. 391.




For further information, please contact:
Wanda Tonus
Public Health Inspector
705-743-1000, ext. 285



December 13, 2016 – Peterborough Public Health and Peterborough-Northumberland Crime Stoppers announced today that RIDE checks will include an additional educational focus for drivers on illegal purchases of tobacco and local smoking cessation supports.

“We want people to know that possessing and purchasing untaxed or unregulated tobacco can result in fines ranging from $100 to $10,000,” said Detective Ian Maxwell of Crime Stoppers. “Stopping the purchase and distribution of illegal tobacco is critical to reducing youth smoking rates and preventing cash flow to organized crime.”

During RIDE checks, police will give drivers a brochure and a flashlight pen to ‘shine a light’ on tobacco as part of this season’s campaign. Under the Tobacco Tax Act enforced by the Ministry of Finance and police services, unless otherwise authorized, it is illegal to buy, possess or distribute any quantity of untaxed or unregulated cigarettes or other tobacco products. That’s why the focus of this campaign is urging people to ‘look for the yellow stamp’ when purchasing tobacco products. A yellow stamp or sticker on the tobacco package indicates that the tobacco product is compliant with the law and is coming from a regulated producer.

Public health officials are pleased to partner with this campaign because the hand-delivered brochure also promotes local smoking cessation programs. “Drivers will also learn that Peterborough Public Health offers free nicotine replacement therapy and counselling from a Public Health Nurse,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “We want everyone who is pulled over to know that we’re here to help people in their quit attempts, and how this is an important part of reducing the demand for cheap, illegal tobacco.”

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Ontario, killing more than 13,000 Ontarians every year. It is the only legal substance that kills half of its users.

For further information, please contact:
Keith Beecroft, Tobacco Use Prevention
Peterborough Public Health
705-743-1000, ext. 238

Program Detective Ian Maxwell
Peterborough-Northumberland Crime Stoppers

December 8, 2016 –  Family Health Team, PRHC and Peterborough Public Health working together
to ensure your healthcare needs are covered over the holidays

(Peterborough, ON) – As flu season gets underway and seasonal illnesses begin to present themselves, Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC), Peterborough Public Health and the Peterborough Family Health Team are again working together to prepare for an expected
increase in patient volumes in the coming weeks.
For the second year in a row, PRHC will open an additional 24 inpatient beds from December 2016 through to March 2017 to enhance patient care during the Health Centre’s busiest time of year.

“As usual at this time of year, we ask the people of our community to assess the urgency of their illness before deciding whether to seek care with their family practitioner, a community clinic or the Emergency Department,” said Dr. Mark Troughton, Chief and Medical Director, Emergency Department (ED) at PRHC. “We also ask for your patience if it takes longer than usual for a physician to see you due to an increase in the number patients coming through the department.” “Visitors to the ED are encouraged to wear a mask if they have any flu symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain or headache, in order to protect others from potential exposure to the virus,” added Dr. Troughton. Masks are available inside the ED entrance.
PRHC would also like to remind the community that we now offer a Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic for children under the age of 18 with urgent but non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses. The clinic, led by nurse practitioners and supported by pediatricians, will offer extended afterhours care throughout the month of December.
For more information and clinic hours: www.prhc.on.ca/cms/pop-urgent-care

The Peterborough Family Health Team reminds the community that family practitioners at clinics in the city and county will be offering same day appointments and extended-hours clinics. They encourage residents to consider these options before visiting PRHC’s Emergency
“The Peterborough Family Health Team is here to care for you and your family, so please contact your doctor’s office to find out what is available to you,” says Dr. Kaetlen Wilson, Medical Director for the Family Health Team.
If you determine that your medical situation does not require urgent care, please consider the
following options:

  • Call your family doctor or nurse practitioner – clinic information will be offered via the
    office voice mail message
  • Visit www.peterboroughfht.com for clinic hours and information
  • Speak to a registered nurse by calling Telehealth Ontario (24 hours) at 1-866-797-0000

With the first cases of flu now confirmed in our community and across the province, Peterborough Public Health reminds residents that getting immunized is their best defence against the flu.

The flu shot is free and widely available at many local pharmacies, doctors’ offices and walk-in clinics. Residents can easily find out where the flu shot is available by visiting the Flu Clinic Locator at www.ontario.ca/flu. Peterborough Public Health continues to offer flu shot
appointments for patients without a family physician by calling 705-743-1000, ext. 349.
“As Influenza circulates in the Peterborough community, the flu shot may help keep you well over the holidays. It also prevents you from spreading it to people who are at the greatest risk of getting seriously ill if they get the flu – seniors and young children,” says Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health, adding the flu shot is recommended for everyone over six months of age. Dr. Salvaterra also advises residents to avoid delaying getting the flu shot, because it takes two weeks to become effective, so sooner is better to reduce the chance of falling ill over the holiday season.

Peterborough Public Health, the Peterborough Family Health Team and PRHC would like to extend our wishes to the community for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
For more information:
Brittany Cadence, Communications Manager
Peterborough Public Health
Tel: 705-743-1000, ext. 391

Renee Oortwyn, Operations Assistant
Peterborough Family Health Team
Tel: 705-749-1564, ext. 316

Michelene Ough, Communications Lead
Peterborough Regional Health Centre
Tel: 705-743-2121, ext. 4259

December 5, 2016 – Peterborough Families Urged to Open Up New Chapters for Children With the Gift of Reading

When children wake up to open their presents this holiday season, local parents and caregivers are encouraged to include a gift-wrapped book in the mix.

Peterborough Public Health is asking families to turn a page on the usual gift-giving by starting a new holiday book tradition. It’s part of the Book on Every Bed campaign (www.familyreading.org/great-ideas/a-book-on-every-bed), which is designed to provide children with the gift of reading every holiday season.

“Books may seem old-fashioned, but are a great way to unplug from electronic devices and spend quality time together as a family,” says Leisa Baker, a Public Health Nurse with Peterborough Public Health. “Reading together also helps to stimulate a child’s speech and language skills, which is critical for future success.”

The Book on Every Bed campaign works this way. Parents and caregivers are asked to pick a book (be it new, donated or a cherished one passed down from one generation to the next) for their child. Baker urges parents to select a book that is age-appropriate and appealing for the child. Books with repetitive and rhyming text, as well as plenty of pictures and interactive features such as holes or flaps for lifting, can be a hit with older toddlers and preschoolers, she notes. For older children who are less inclined to read, choose a story with an exciting plot that will grab their attention and make them want to read.

“Once a book is chosen, wrap it up and place it at the foot of your child’s bed,” Baker adds. “When your child wakes up, the book will be the first thing he or she sees. By making it an annual holiday tradition, your child will look forward to it year after year.”
Families can also incorporate reading into other activities over the holidays. These include: picking a family favourite book and reading it aloud each year; listening to a favourite audio book while baking cookies, driving to visit families or wrapping gifts; and checking out and reading library books that focus on another culture’s winter celebrations.

Locally, there are resources to encourage reading and support children’s speech and language skills. Families can visit the KidTalk Preschool Speech and Language Services website (www.kidtalk.on.ca) or call Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000.
For further information, please contact:
Leisa Baker, Public Health Nurse
(705) 743-1000, ext. 312

December 1, 2016 – The influenza virus is circulating! Peterborough Public Health is offering a free influenza vaccine clinic in Millbrook, on Monday, December 5, 2016, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The clinic is taking place at the Cavan Monaghan Township Office Gymnasium on 988 County Road 10 in Millbrook.  No appointment necessary, and walk-ins are welcome.

Flu shots are also widely available at many local pharmacies, from physician offices, and local walk-in clinics.

Residents are advised that in addition to getting the flu shot people take the following precautions to reduce the spread of infection:

  • Stay home if feeling unwell
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and sanitize commonly-used surfaces frequently
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or tissue and washing hands afterwards

For more information, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.


For further information, please contact:

Maryilyn Mitchell
Registered Nurse
705-743-1000, ext. 270