Kawartha North Family Health Team

Are you playing safe?

The finding that Jeremiah Perry, the young man who recently drowned during a trip to Algonquin Park, failed to pass his mandatory swimming test has made me think about how many of us take our life by the lake for granted.

I spend a great deal of time on and near the water and am constantly amazed at the number of people who choose not to wear life jackets and more importantly, do not encourage their children to do so. I know, I have heard all the logic – “this lake isn’t very deep, I am a good swimmer, I am right here with my son/daughter…” During the hazy, lazy days of summer, it is all too easy to relax to the point of being dangerous, so while I don’t want to be a spoil sport, let’s all just remember some basic water safety.

  1. I personally consider myself to be an excellent swimmer and I spend a lot of time in a canoe, however, a number of years back I flipped my canoe in early November and the cold water completely stunned me. I was fortunate that the water was very shallow and I could stand as I certainly could not think to swim when I first went in, the shock simply overwhelmed me. Take that one step further and think what happens if you were hit with that boat or canoe as you go in? These days, there is no reason not to wear a Personal Flotation Device, they are comfortable and fashionable if you choose and will save your life!
  2. Of course, the first line of protection is still learning to swim. Aside from being great exercise and good fun, living in this region swimming should be considered a life skill not only for ourselves, but those around us. That being said, remember that if your kids are not strong swimmers, they should be within arms’ reach at all times or wearing a PFD. Think about how difficult it is to move through water quickly, even a short distance can prove too far so keep your children safe at all times.
  3. And last but not least is that daredevil elephant in the room…. Cliff and bridge diving. Don’t get me wrong, I have leapt from some heights in my younger days, including the 10m diving board, but unless you know the exact water conditions it is not safe. Even in a controlled environment like the pool, landing wrong will lead to serious concerns and potential harm, so think before you leap.

All that being said, let’s all get out and enjoy what the Kawartha Lakes have to offer but let’s be safe doing it.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Summer fun in the sun!

Summer is a fun time that can be packed with activities but it is also a time to be wary of long-lasting health impacts, so before you head for the beach, the park or even the back-yard, Health Canada recommends you take a few minutes to learn about sun safety. You can protect your family and still have fun.

  • If possible, avoid being in the sun between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Look for shade or stay under a tree.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Clothing such as a broad brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants can protect your skin. Tuck a handkerchief under the back of your hat to help prevent sunburn on the neck.
  • Some medication can make skin more sensitive to UV rays; consult your doctor if you have any questions.
  • Protect your health by using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
  • Get children used to wearing sunscreen lotion and don’t let them play or sleep in the sun while in a stroller or play pen.
  • Use the recommended amount of sunscreen and respect the waiting period between application and exposure to the sun.
  • If you are sweating heavily or swimming, reapply sunscreen often to get the best protection.
  • Remember that you can combine sunscreen and insect repellents. Apply the sunscreen first, followed by the insect repellent.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and have cottage drinking water tested by a Provincial or private laboratory if it is not municipally tested.


So get out there and enjoy the summer sun safely!

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT


Free Lyme Disease Workshop

At this time the workshop is limited to healthcare professionals. However, please contact us if you would like to be put on a waiting list. If there is room in the workshop we will do our best to accommodate you.

This workshop will be delivered by Internationally renowned Lyme expert, Dr. Petra Hopf-Siedel, a neurologist and psychiatrist.

The workshop will be held July 5th 2017 from 1-4pm.

It will take place at the Bobcaygeon Municipal Service Centre (upstairs)

123 East St. S. (Hwy 36) Bobcaygeon.

Please register by emailing [email protected] with your contact information

Please click here for additional information.


Getting out – part 1 (for the birds)

Let’s be honest, we all have good intentions to get outside, get fresh air and exercise but when it comes time to follow through there is always another load of laundry waiting, a bit of drizzle or a multitude of other reasons to put it off. So this will be a multi-part series on “reasons” to skip your chores, grab your umbrella and get outside.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate the joy of watching our fine feathered friends in their natural habitat and have come to realize that we don’t need to take a week-long excursion to get the joy of seeing the variety and beauty in our surroundings. Simply walking as far as you are comfortable, will expose you to a number of species; and it is amazing the sense of accomplishment the first time you know each one you encounter without peaking at your reference guide. Make it a contest with yourself or friends. Play “birding bingo” and see who first spots a row of five species. Remember, any excuse to get out is a good excuse.

And if the physical benefits of going for walk in the fresh air aren’t sufficient, how about a recent study by the University of Exeter that showed “watching birds near your home is good for your mental health”. The study found that even exposure to the most common types of birds was found to lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress.

So pick up a reference guide and meet a new feathered friend for the good of your health.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

My favourite time of year!

This is what I like to think of as the equivalent to the Friday before a long weekend in gardening terms; because the only thing better than gardening, is the anticipation of gardening. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have now been reviewing my seed collection in anticipation and it’s officially “gardening eve” at my house.

In the past, I have reflected on the many virtues and exercise associated with the act of gardening but this year let us focus on the long-term opportunities we face. Now is the time to look at the health benefits of growing your own organic produce. We all know that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, but what better incentive than to lovingly grow them ourselves? Whether you have a large plot or a pot of tomatoes on the balcony, there is an opportunity for everyone to participate.

With limited resources and space, it is easy to grow one plant or many. Consider taking this opportunity to grow something which will not only bring a little early spring into your home, but brings health benefits once you harvest. If you don’t have a green thumb or lack space, start small. One tomato harvested is a success! Personally, my tomato and pepper seeds are well on their way and I’m counting down the days to get outside.

So don’t miss this opportunity – eating healthy can also be fun.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

You read about exercise, but how about reading as exercise?

Obviously, reading can be enjoyable, but it can also provide a workout for your brain. Regardless of the type of reading material, the act of reading triggers parts of your brain not utilized during activities such as watching TV or listening to an audio book. Perhaps this is why adults who spend their downtime reading were shown in recent studies to have a more than 30% slower rate of cognitive decline in later years and are two and a half times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

While such statistics may be impressive, they are not entirely surprising. What may come as a shock is that people who read while exercising on a stationary bike or treadmill have been shown to increase the length of their workouts. The number one reason cited by participants was that they wanted to continue until the next chapter or the resolution of what they were currently reading. While this may not be advisable for your outdoor activities, it may certainly be a good reason to add five minutes to your winter workout.

Of course it will not come as a surprise that reading has also been shown to decrease stress and help sleep, so why not choose a good book and settle in as we wait for spring?

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Tai Chi update

Following our recent post “Improving your health in slow motion” I was contacted with various ways to access Tai Chi in our community and would like to share these here…..

  • Taoist Tai Chi with Master May Lin-shin is available on Wednesdays 9:30-11:30am at St, James Anglican Church, 19 Bond St. E. Fenelon Falls.
  • The Fenelon Falls Legion has Tai Chi on Thursdays 10:00am.
  • There is a group of people who meet on Wednesdays 10:00-11:30am at the Bobcaygeon Seniors Centre to practice Taoist Tai Chi together. These people already know the moves and there is no instruction offered.
  • Lynn Evans is a certified Tai Chi, Qigong Shibashi instructor with http://taichi18.com/instructors/ and offers 8 week classes 2-3 times a week at Oak Street Pilates & Rehabilitation in Fenelon Falls.  She also practices in the park when the weather is nice on Fridays at 9:00am. This is free and open to anyone who wishes to come by and see what Tai Chi, Qigong Shibashi is all about.

Hope you find this helpful and get out there to give Tai Chi a try.