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A-Z Health Topics
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A-Z Health Topics lists public health information that's not found in other areas of our website. You'll find a wide variety of topics here, most of which include links to other websites where you can find even more information.
If you think we're missing a topic, you can email us to suggest one by going to our Contact Us page.
Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. Meningitis may develop in response to a number of causes, usually bacteria or viruses, but can also be caused by physical injury, cancer, or certain drugs.
|Meningitis (MenACYW) vaccine||
People between 2 and 55 years old can have the meningitis vaccine.
|Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)||
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), is a type of bacterium that's resistant to several antibiotics. In the community MRSA can cause skin and other infections. In a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or nursing home, MRSA can cause severe bloodstream and surgical site infections.
Mumps is a viral illness that can spread from one person to another. Most people recover from the infection, but mumps can have serious complications and lead to long-term health problems. Since the widespread use of the mumps vaccine, mumps infection is rare.
|Norovirus (Norwalk-like virus)||
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis). It is an illness that usually includes diarrhea and vomiting. You may have a norovirus sickness many times in your life because there are different types of noroviruses. Norovirus can spread quickly in a facility like a nursing home, retirement homes, daycares schools and cruise ships.
Opioids are a family of drugs that are used to relieve pain. Opioids can also produce a sense of euphoria (a high), which may lead people to use them improperly. There are prescriptions opioids like codeine, fentanyl, morphine, and methadone and illegally produced opioids like “bootleg” fentanyl.
|Pertussis Whooping Cough||
Whooping cough is also known as pertussis.
Body piercing is putting jewellery through the skin. There are many things that you and your body piercer can do to reduce any risks.
Pinworms are tiny (5 to 13 millimetres), thread-like, white worms that can live in the colon and rectum of humans. They are very common in children. Pinworms are not dangerous.
|Polio (Poliomyelitis, acute)||
Polio (poliomyelitis) is a vaccine preventable disease. It is a potentially deadly disease caused by the poliovirus. It is very contagious. Canada has been certified “polio-free” since 1994 thanks to our vaccination program.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal. In Canada, bats, foxes, skunks, and raccoons are the most common transmitters of the disease.
|Radon||Radon is produced when uranium found in soil, rock or water decays. Radon is found across Canada because it occurs naturally in soil. The gas naturally rises up from the soil and can get into any type of building where it builds up due to negative pressure and lack of air flow. Breathing in radon gas for extended periods of time can potentially be hazardous to you and your family.|
|Rethink Your Drink||Flavoured water is a cheap, healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. Here are some recipes and tips to prepare it safely.|
Rubella, commonly known as German Measles, is an infection that affects the skin and lymph nodes.
|Safer Sex for Adults||
Some adults back on the dating scene are often not aware that the “safer-sex talks” of high school are still applicable to them as adults. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise in adults.
Salmonellosis is an infection caused by bacteria, called Salmonella. These germs live mostly in the intestines of animals and birds.
Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. People who eat food or drink water contaminated with Shigella bacteria can become ill with shigellosis.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It's the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella zoster). The virus does not leave your body after a chickenpox infection and becomes active again causing shingles.
|Streptococcal Infections - Invasive Group A||
Group A Streptococci (GAS) bacteria can cause many different infections that are mostly mild.
The best way to protect yourself from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation is to cover up, limit your exposure at key times, seek shade, and cover any unprotected areas of the skin with sunscreen.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacteria that is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, sharing needles or from mother to her unborn child.
Tattooing or micropigmentation is the insertion of ink deep into the skin putting a permanent marking or design on the skin. It is a form of self-expression and is permanent. Tattooing involves making tiny holes in the skin. Infections can be transmitted anytime you break the skin.
Tetanus is often known as “lockjaw”, and is spread by a bacteria. The bacteria lives in dirt, soil and dust. It may also be in human and animal stool (poop) and sometimes in animal saliva (spit).
|Ticks and Lyme Disease||
Ticks are a relative to the spider and are a crawling, non-flying insect. They vary in size and colour. Ticks are very small (1 to 5 mm) when unfed and female ticks get larger and change colour when feeding. Ticks can spread Lyme Disease.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease caused by TB germs. TB usually attacks the lungs but can affect any part of the body.
What is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is caused by a bacteria called Salmonella typhi.
The Ultraviolet Index (UV Index) is a measurement of the intensity of the sun’s rays. The higher the UV index, the more harm done by the sun to your skin, eyes, and immune system.
|Vaccines for Adults|
|Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)||
Enterococci are bacteria (germs) that live in people’s gastrointestinal tract (the stomach and intestines).
When your skin is exposed to the sun, it’s able to make vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to keep your bones, muscles and teeth healthy.
|West Nile Virus||
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito transmitted virus that can be transferred to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito.
|Whooping Cough (Pertussis)||
Whooping cough is also known as Pertussis, is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract.
Yellow fever is a disease cause by flavivirus. The virus is spread by mosquito bites that occur in the jungle and tropical areas of South America and Africa.
Yersiniosis (yer-sin-ee-o-sis) is an infection caused by the bacteria Yersinia. Yersinia is a strong bacteria that can continue to live in environments without much oxygen and in refrigeration. One common source of infection can be contaminated food such as raw or undercooked pork.
Zika virus is caused by a virus which is spread by the Aedes mosquito. The Aedes species of mosquito is not native to Canada.