Posts Tagged "dont"


Don’t skip out on travel vaccinations — they could save your life – National

by BBG Hub

It’s a step experts say you shouldn’t skip — when you’re travelling abroad, make sure you have the right vaccinations.

Dr. Suni Boraston, medical director at Travel Clinic – Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, told Global News that while there’s no data that tracks how many Canadians get travel vaccinations, she believes the majority of travellers don’t get vaccinated.

“Canadians need to know that vaccines are safe and still the best way to prevent many diseases,” she said.

“Travel medicine is hard to keep up with, most [general practitioners] are too busy doing other things so ideally one would see a specialist [like an emporiatrician] at a travel clinic prior to travel.”

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A travel clinic can recommend and administer vaccines, but also give travellers prescriptions for malaria, travellers’ diarrhea, altitude illness, leptospirosis (bacterial disease) prevention, among others.

“Ideally you would get vaccinated four to six weeks before travel, but we can protect you against many diseases the day you leave.”

How much will it cost?

Prices for travel vaccinations vary depending on where you live and where you go.

Some clinics are owned and run by public health and while others are private. Some clinics also require a consultation fee. And while government-run health insurance plans won’t cover the cost, some insurance companies may offer coverage.

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At Travel Medicine & Vaccination Centre, based in B.C., a consultation can cost $50, while vaccines for hepatitis A and B range from $30 to $70 (depending on the dose).

In Toronto, The Travel Doctor charges $50 for Dukoral and $165 for a full dose of the yellow fever vaccination.

Before you go to a clinic, request to see a price list to make your decision.

According to Canada’s Travel and Tourism department, travellers should also review their immunization history to see which type of dose they need.

“You may need additional vaccinations depending on your age, planned travel activities and local conditions. Preventing disease through vaccination is a lifelong process,” the site noted. 

The site allows you to see vaccination recommendations based on the destination you are travelling to. 

What Canadians need to know

Canada currently is facing a shortage of yellow fever vaccinations, the site noted. Travellers who need the shot should contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre in advance to see if it is available.

“Some countries require proof that you have received a yellow fever vaccination before allowing you to enter the country. Consult an embassy or consulate of your destination country in Canada for up-to-date information on its entry and exit requirements before you travel abroad.”

Some countries may need proof of a yellow fever vaccination — do you research before you travel.

WATCH: How to avoid illness abroad

According to experts at Shoppers Drug Mart, the most common illness Canadians pick up in other countries is travellers’ diarrhea (TD).

“It is an acute diarrheal illness that usually lasts two or three days. It can be caused by any of a number of bacteria (and, less often, parasites), which are usually different from home-based varieties and therefore pose a temporary challenge to the immune system,” experts noted.

“There is no vaccination against all organisms that can cause travellers’ diarrhea. There is an oral vaccine against cholera and a specific strain of E. coli bacteria that is sometimes recommended.”

TD can also be prevented or treated with off-the-counter medications.

Common vaccinations

“Everyone who is going to a developing country should at the very least have their tetanus vaccine updated, two doses of measles vaccine (unless they’ve had the disease) and hepatitis A vaccine,” Boraston said.

“Ideally tetanus would be combined with diphtheria and pertussis which is $50. Measles is free, hepatitis A vaccine costs $65 and is two doses six to 12 months apart.”

Boraston said most people born after 1982 in Canada have had the hepatitis B vaccine.

The shots can be given as a combination or separately, and she added hepatitis A is recommended for all travellers. Experts at Shoppers Drug Mark noted the vaccine can last a lifetime, or may need a booster shot in 10 to 15 years.

Twinrix is a combination of hepatitis A and B. “Only use if the patient needs both vaccines. Many Canadians have already had hepatitis B vaccine,” she explained.

The biggest travelling pet peeves for Canadian travellers — and how to deal with them

For measles, mumps, and rubella, Boraston said there are two vaccinations recommended for everyone (unless they have already had disease).

Yellow fever vaccine is needed and recommended for some parts of South America and Africa, and because of the current shortage, travellers should contact a clinic ahead of time.

The typhoid fever vaccine is recommended for anyone travelling to the Indian Subcontinent (Afghanistan, India, Nepal Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka) or taking long trips to developing countries, Boraston said.

According to HealthlinkBC, travellers are more likely to be exposed to contaminated food and water in these countries. The vaccine can be taken orally or injected.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine is needed for for parts of Asia, especially if you are travelling to rural destinations between the months of June and October, Boraston said.  HealthlinkBC noted the infection can be spread through mosquitos and infants and the elderly are most at risk.

The meningococcal meningitis is required for anyone travelling to Sub-Saharan Africa.  Boraston also recommends it for anyone travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj (you will need to show proof of vaccination). This disease is very dangerous and can be spread through coughing and sneezing (it is contagious). 

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’? It probably doesn’t matter – National

by BBG Hub

Every Sunday night, millions of people across the world have been tuning in to watch the wildly popular television show Game of Thrones.

The Season 8 premiere on April 14 drew a record 17.4 million viewers, becoming HBO’s biggest night ever for streaming.

The fantasy show is in its final season, which is an incredibly emotional experience for die-hard Game of Thrones (GoT) fans. During weekly episodes, social media is dominated with GoT conversations as people live-tweet their reactions, post memes on Instagram and share theories on fan forums.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ — A primer for those who don’t watch the show

But what if you don’t watch the show? Are you missing out if you’re not able to talk spoilers at the office water cooler? Will you struggle to hold a conversation during a first date if you think the “Red Wedding” refers to a wedding where people wore red?

According to experts, not watching GoT is not really that big of a deal.

“It feels like everybody’s talking about Game of Thrones on social media, and this gives you a sense that everybody’s watching it,” said Deborah L. Jaramillo, an associate professor of film and television studies at Boston University.

“But that’s not necessarily the case.”

Does not watching Game of Thrones matter?

For writer Anne T. Donahue, GoT is not an appealing show.

“I’m just not a dragon person, or an armour and battle (person), and the whole genre is just not my bag,” Donahue told Global News.

“I watched the clip of the ‘Red Wedding’ when it happened because it was all over Twitter, and I was like ‘I hate this.’”

WATCH: Game of Thrones fans, including a dog, react to moments in the Battle of Winterfell

Donahue is so not into GoT that she even addresses her disinterest in her book of essays, Nobody Cares.

“Millions … of people watch it every week so, clearly, it’s quite cool and part of this massive subculture; it’s just not for me,” she explained.

Cathy Perron, an associate professor of film and television at Boston University, says people who don’t watch GoT have often opted out deliberately.

“There is a reason why they’ve turned away from the series,” Perron explained, citing things like the show’s violence and graphic nature. “I think that they are comfortable with not being part of that cultural conversation and just decided it was not for them.”

Missing out on conversations

If you’re someone who can’t point out Jon Snow in a lineup, you may feel like an outsider. GoT fans can be an enthusiastic bunch and may talk about the show online, at work, during social outings and, well, any time they can.

READ MORE: ‘I watched every episode in a single night’ — Have we forgotten how to enjoy TV?

But despite feeling like GoT conversations are everywhere, the show is not actually as popular as big shows of the past, says David Thorburn, an author and professor of literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“(Game of Thrones) is a much less significant phenomenon than many media outlets — especially newspapers — are making it out to be,” Thorburn said.

Thorburn says that a show like I Love Lucy — which was one of the most-watched shows in the U.S. — was so significant that you were on the fringe if you did not watch it. (For reference, in 1953, 44 million people watched the episode where Lucy had her son, Little Ricky.)

WATCH: Kelly Clarkson talks Game Of Thrones

Compared to I Love Lucy or MASH, where 106 million people tuned in for the show’s finale, GoT has a much less substantial reach.

“Although (GoT) has a large audience in … the cable and streaming era, it’s not really a large audience compared to the majority audiences that network television regularly got,” Thorburn said.

Of course, television and the way we consume media has greatly changed since the glory days of prime time, says Jaramillo, pointing out that we won’t likely have another “who shot J.R. moment,” referencing the 1980 episode of Dallas that garnered 83.6 million viewers, according to the L.A. Times.

While Jaramillo acknowledges that people may also watch GoT illegally, skewing the actual number of people who watch the show, she still thinks the attention around GoT is a bit over-hyped.

READ MORE: ‘The Simpsons’ Canadian-themed episode criticized for seal-clubbing ‘Newfie’ clip

“I don’t quite understand why Game of Thrones has kind of captured everyone’s attention, actually — and I use the word ‘everyone’ kind of ironically because there are TV shows, for example, that are more popular than Game of Thrones,” she explained.

Game of Thrones tends to do well in the 18 to 49 demographic … and a younger audience is very, very active on social media.”

There is a problem, however, if people are missing out on cultural conversations because they do not have access to TV or streaming services, Jaramillo said. She said that since GoT is streamed through HBO, it can be a barrier to those who cannot afford it.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ fans upset about how dark — literally — the Battle of Winterfell was

“So much television now is behind a paywall, and television is a very, very important part of our culture,” Jaramillo said. “If people can’t access it then they’re… unable to experience cultural touchstones.”

The importance of the show

Even if dragons and drama are not for you, it’s important to acknowledge that the series has become an important moment in pop culture.

Perron says one of the reasons GoT is so successful is because it encompasses many areas of interest outside of fantasy. She says the show also tackles themes of power and politics.

“The other thing that’s really important is that it’s global in its reach,” Perron added, highlighting the fact that you can stream GoT on HBO across the world. “I think that that’s a different kind of social interaction than we usually have with television programs.”

WATCH: Popular brands rush to cash in on Game of Thrones fever

GoT‘s popularity has also encouraged others to watch, too, Perron said.

Thorburn says that GoT is also important from a cultural standpoint. He points out that as the show has grown in popularity over the years, more people have chosen to take part in conversations and experiences around it.

“The idea that there are shared cultural experiences that people watch together, discuss together, interpret together … and talk about at the water cooler — those kinds of events have an anthropological or cultural importance that often far exceeds the artistic value or the moral value of the experience being described,” he said.

Fine without GoT

Donahue, who often writes about pop culture, doesn’t feel like she’s missing out by skipping the show.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 premiere pirated 54 million times in 1 day, says digital analytics company

While she acknowledges the cultural significance of GoT, Donahue says she would much rather engage in shows she actually enjoys, like Mad Men or Veep.

Still, despite never watching an episode, Donahue says she appreciates the show’s fan culture.

“The way you see people react to Game of Thrones on Twitter, in particular, is so funny and so clever that I’ll read a recap or something just so I understand where (the reference) fits,” she said.

“(That way) you are part of it enough to understand and can laugh at a meme — and there are so many good Game of Thrones memes.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Don’t suffer in silence’: How to treat your seasonal allergies – National

by BBG Hub

Spring is in the air, and with it, plenty of allergens that can make you itch, sneeze or cough.

According to Asthma Canada, one in five Canadians suffer from respiratory allergies. The most common is allergic rhinitis (AR), or hay fever.

Hay fever can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, debilitating. It can cause itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and sometimes asthma.

READ MORE: Spring sniffles: Are you suffering from allergies or the common cold?

“People will develop allergy symptoms at certain times of year when certain allergens are out,” said Dr. Susan Waserman, a clinician-scientist at McMaster University.

Hence, why these are commonly referred to as “seasonal allergies.”

“Tree pollen occurs in March and April, grass in May, June and July, and ragweed in mid-August, until the first frost,” said Waserman.

An allergic reaction is caused by these allergens coming in contact with mast cells, which are primarily located in the lining of the nose, lungs, skin and intestinal tract.

In response, your body produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) as a means of protection. These are attached to your mast cells.

The IgE antibodies cause the release of several chemicals — including histamine — into the bloodstream.

“Histamine is mainly responsible for those symptoms,” Waserman told Global News.

There are a number of different ways to treat seasonal allergies. What works for you will depend on a number of things — namely, what you’re allergic to and the severity of your reactions.

It could be as simple as closing a window

The first step to ridding yourself of allergy symptoms is to remove the known irritants from your environment.

According to Waserman, this can mean keeping windows and doors closed in the house and car.

“If you have a window air conditioner, keep the vent closed to the outside,” Waserman said.

If you like to garden or do other things outdoors, try to find a meteorologist or weather service that reports on pollen levels. Only do your outdoor activities when counts are lower.

WATCH BELOW: Study finds 1 in 5 adults who think they have a food allergy may not

You should also try to avoid cutting grass if you are allergic to grass pollen or outdoor mold.

If dust mites are the culprit, try to keep the humidity levels low in your home. “Keep home humidity between 30 to 50 per cent, ” said Waserman.

A device called a hygrometre can measure indoor humidity.

Next stop: your local pharmacy

Over-the-counter medicine is your first line of defence, according to Dr. Anne Ellis.

She is an allergist and a professor at Queen’s University. She’s also an executive member of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI).

Consulting with your pharmacist and explaining your symptoms can help he or she determine which might be the most effective. Cetirizine or Reactine are common recommendations.

“We do especially recommend people avoid the sedating antihistamines, like Benadryl, because they have a worse side effects profile,” said Ellis.

Consult your primary care provider

“If those don’t work, we recommend seeing your family physician for some very safe and effective prescription options,” said Ellis.

“We have lots of new effective antihistamines available by prescription which helps offset some of the out-of-pocket costs for patients.”

These can include eye drops and nasal sprays.

If your symptoms are severe and none of these medications have worked, you likely need to see an allergist.

“Don’t suffer in silence,” said Ellis. “Do reach out to your primary care provider and don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to an allergist for definitive relief.”


Immunotherapy can be delivered in two ways: through a series of injections, or via tablets. It depends on what you’re allergic to.

“[The shots will] treat everything that you’re allergic to, from house dust mites to pollen to animal dander,” said Ellis.

“We have tables that can be effective for grass, ragweed and dust mite allergies currently.”

READ MORE: Babies at risk of developing allergies should be fed allergenic foods at 4 to 6 months old: paediatricians

Both forms contain small amounts of allergens and are administered on a regular schedule in an attempt to make your body immune to the irritants which cause your symptoms.

Immunotherapy can be administered either year-round or just before your allergy season starts.

“For people who [are trying] to minimize their use of pharmaceutical therapies, immunotherapy is a nice option because [these substances] are derived from the natural allergens,” said Ellis.

Immunotherapy requires supervision by a health-care professional.

Don’t wait to ask for help

“Things can progress and get worse year after year,” warned Ellis.

Sometimes, there might be a lower-pollen season, so you might have a year where you have fewer symptoms or no symptoms at all. But that usually doesn’t mean they’re gone completely.

“Typically, these are allergies that don’t go away and that’s why it can be helpful to look out for more definitive options that can provide long-lasting relief — like immunotherapy,” said Ellis.

Both Waserman and Ellis recommend that you consult your physician to determine which treatment is best for you.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘It’s not one size fits all’: Why open office plans don’t work for everyone – National

by BBG Hub

At her last job working for a non-profit, Tanya Hayles shared an open concept office with four other people — but that didn’t mean the space fostered teamwork.

“While I never expected privacy, there was a clear hierarchy in the company,” the Toronto resident told Global News. “The office environment, by being ‘open,’ led to a very false sense of family and community. We worked together in an open environment, but we were not a team.”

Hayles’ experience isn’t an uncommon one.

READ MORE: Love and work: The ins and outs of dating your coworker

According to a recent report in the Harvard Business Review“open, unbounded offices reduce [face-to-face] interaction with a magnitude… of about 70 per cent.”

Researchers tracked interactions between coworkers in two different company headquarters using sociometric badges (or sensors that can record whenever you come face to face with another person). They then compared the amount of interaction in a closed office plan and, after both companies shifted, to an open office plan.

What they found was that, while the opening up of the office space was intended to increase face-to-face interaction, it actually increased the number of employees “choosing to isolate themselves as best they can (e.g. by wearing large headphones) while appearing to be as busy as possible (since everyone can see them).”

WATCH BELOW: Workplace stress is everywhere. How do you recognize it and how do you deal with it?

Hayles has since left that job to start her own two companies, but she still hasn’t pinned down the exact workspace that works best for her.

“Working from home — especially being newly self-employed — it can be hard to muster the discipline and self-motivation required to be productive,” said Hayles.

Now, she works in a co-working space, sub-leasing a desk within another company’s office. While she’s grateful for the human interaction, she also gets frustrated by the constant distractions.

READ MORE: Working moms 40% more stressed than women without kids: study

“Ironically, it is similar to my last place of employment in terms of set-up… [but that situation] was drastically different and had a negative impact on my mental health,” Hayles said.

Your work environment can have a huge impact on your psychological well-being, which is why it’s important that it’s a space you’re comfortable in.

“This is true for work and home life,” said Dr. Joti Samra, a registered psychologist and an expert on health and safety in the workplace. “Our environment has a significant impact on a number of things, [including] how relaxed we’re feeling [and] how motivated we might feel to do work.”

WATCH BELOW: Co-working the next trend in office environments

Samra believes factors like colour, lighting, noise and privacy can all make a difference in how we feel about our workspace — and, by extension, how we feel about our work.

On one hand, an open office seems perfect for humans because we are “social creatures, fundamentally,” said Samra.

“It’s not in our normal state to be in a little box with barriers around us, not interacting with people. One of the things an open office can do is… pull us away for short periods from our computer.”

READ MORE: 6 ways your workplace can be impacting your motivation

According to Samra, we recharge best when we can fully shift cognitive sets. “An open office can make us…connect with somebody socially,” and that helps us destress.

However, being pulled away from our work can also be a detriment to productivity — especially if you’re easily distracted. “An open concept can almost feel invasive. That need for privacy and focus can be jeopardized when we’re in a co-working environment.”

“It isn’t a fit for everybody,” said Samra.

WATCH BELOW: Dealing with workplace burnout

When choosing workspace elements, it really comes down to individual preference, personality and job description.

“This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Samra. “Not all kinds of work or work tasks are going to be well-matched with coworking spaces.”

It’s also very important to consider what you’re actually doing on a day-to-day basis.

READ MORE: Stress is the reason 1 in 4 Canadians quit their job

“When we think about the best workplaces, one of the things that they do well is that they take a very individualized approach to understanding employee needs… and the workspace becomes an extension of that,” Samra said.

Her advice to organizations: Get input.

“Get input on tasks, get input on preferences, get input on the ‘why.’ What would be helpful? And thoughtfully consider both the pros and cons, given the unique demands of your workplace.”

WATCH BELOW: Workplace equality expert on building inclusive places of business

The open office trend can cause some ergonomic challenges

According to certified ergonomist Rachel Mitchell, an open office can also be detrimental to your physiological well-being.

“Employees are more likely to work directly from their laptops, resulting in forward bent head positions that are caused by the low viewing angle of a laptop screen,” Mitchell told Global News.

“The recently revised [guidelines] recommend that laptops only be used for short duration work, and that employees dock their laptops with an external keyboard and mouse and either raise the laptop screen up on a stand or use an external monitor for any longer duration work.”

READ MORE: Danish politician told baby ‘not welcome’ in Parliament — should kids be allowed at work?

This can be difficult to achieve in a shared workspace, where employees either share keyboards and mice or place their equipment in a locker or storage space at the end of each day.

“The hoteling set-up seems to discourage employees from setting up their workstations and adjusting their chairs properly since they may view the workstation as temporary,” said Mitchell. “The key to success is ensuring employees are provided with education on how to set up their workstations properly and are encouraged to do so.”

Noise is also an issue of ergonomics. “Where staff are collaborating or spending time on the phone… this can be distracting and cause detriments in productivity to surrounding employees,” said Mitchell. 

WATCH BELOW: Working in a shared workspace

Open offices may be more cost-efficient

One of the reasons companies are shifting to open office spaces could be because “people want their real estate to work harder for the organization,” said Caitlin Turner, director of design, interiors at HOK Toronto.

Flexibility is key, and it depends on what the employees need from the space. For example, you might have a large sales team, several of whom spend more than half their time out of the office with clients.

Organizations approach it a variety of ways,” Turner said. In her role, Turner strives to understand what employees are doing and what the company is trying to achieve before making a design recommendation.

Increasingly common is a “sharing ratio,” which Turner described as a “flexible, choice-based environment with a variety of settings” within.

READ MORE: Competitive workplaces: Do you know what your co-workers really think of you?

It’s less a shift away from private spaces and more a shift towards flexibility, said Turner.

“Everybody, no matter what point they’re at in the organization or in their career, needs private or heads-down space throughout the day. But maybe not the whole day,” Turner said.

“By democratizing those spaces, everybody can choose where they work, [which] creates employee empowerment. And when employees feel empowered to make those choices… we actually find their engagement, their productivity and the level of innovation increases.”

WATCH BELOW: Edmonton seeing a boom in co-working spaces

It’s the responsibility of individual companies to find what works best for its employees

Prior to recommending a design, Turner uses a variety of research tools to determine the day-to-day activities of a company’s employees.

“We ask them a variety of questions in a variety of ways. Even within an organization, there are a variety of teams that work differently throughout the day,” said Turner.

Our job as designers is to really find out what they’re trying to accomplish during the day and design the settings that best support that function.”

READ MORE: 6 ways your workplace can be impacting your motivation

Turner echoes Samra’s sentiments about the importance of extensive research so that employers know what their employees want and need from their office.

“Jumping into a… new type of workspace without the data to back [it up] is very risky,” said Turner. “They might have to go through the research phase to really understand the outcomes.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Bitter, angry and frustrated’: Why some parents don’t enjoy spending time with their kids – National

by BBG Hub

It may be hard for some of us to admit, but some parents have a hard time spending time with their kids.

In a recent post for Scary Mommy, Joni Banks Hess wrote about how she sometimes doesn’t enjoy being alone with her 17-month-old child.

“I think about how I am her primary source for friendship and comfort right now. How important it is for us to bond whenever we have the time,” she wrote.

“We moms place so much pressure on ourselves to fit whatever mom description we’ve created in our minds. But the irritation I feel when I have to watch my own child all day alone fits nowhere in that description.”

READ MORE: UK mom receives backlash for giving daughters ‘time out’ on supermarket floor

Banks Hess added that her job is stressful and low-paying, and on top of it, her partner works later than she does.

“When I’m alone with my daughter for a long period of time, I feel trapped, irritable, impatient and resentful towards my husband,” she said. “Why this resentment? Because he goes to work early and comes home late. He isn’t responsible for daycare dropoff and pickup. He can zone out and play video games while watching her.”

Louise Clarke of Your Parenting Partner told Global News that not being able to enjoy alone time with kids is normal, but for many parents, it is even harder to admit or accept.

“Beneath the surface, it takes a courageous mom to step up and talk about this,” she said. “As [parents], we have so much on our plates and we are constantly distracted by our phones.”

She said parents have an additional pressure (beyond their daytime jobs, household obligations and taking care of children) to be responsive at all hours.

“We’re pulled in a million directions, and it puts more pressure on us to have to deal with it when we have a child,” she explained.

Mastering alone time

Clarke said it’s not about parents not loving their children or not wanting to spend time with them — some parents have a hard time focusing on being present with their children.

In the blog, the author talked about the burden of being the “favourite parent.” She said while her partner can enjoy alone time, it’s hard for her to find an escape.

“The few times I’ve tried to lock myself up somewhere in the house, my daughter bangs on the door calling for mommy. Moms tend to be unable to ignore those calls and, if they can, guilt is sitting in the corner shaking its head at you,” she wrote.

“I realize how valuable the time I get to spend with her is, yet only 50 per cent of me is present. The other 50 per cent is agonizing over where my life is going and what I could be doing at this moment to get there instead of singing songs with her.”

READ MORE: Why some parents hate parenting

There’s often shame, guilt and fear attached to these feelings because parents can’t feel completely present with their kids, Clarke said. She added that setting boundaries is important for all parents.

“We have to be able to set healthy boundaries and be able to say no,” said Clarke.

Now, when your child isn’t able to do anything for themselves, this isn’t applicable. But when parents continuously do things for their children that they can do themselves, it becomes a habit.

“If we continue to tie up our child’s laces because it is quicker for us and less painful to watch, we undermine them,” she said, adding that even a simple task like this makes it hard for parents to truly disconnect with their child during alone time.

It is also useful to prioritize time. Alone time these days can mean flipping through emails or catching up on a TV show or laundry while your child sits next to you. Even if you are reading a book, some parents simply zone out and think about their to-do lists, she added.

Credit: Getty Images

When it comes to alone time, learn how to prioritize your time. One suggestion Clarke has is allowing partners to choose which day and hour they want to dedicate to their child distraction-free.

For example, one parent can choose Monday, Wednesday and Friday where they can dedicate an hour of alone time to their kids.

“This is mommy-and-me time, and the phone goes away,” she explained.

READ MORE: Danielle Smith — Public shaming of children is sometimes justifiable

Clarke also said parents need to learn how to be more mindful with their time.

“We have to take charge of our minds,” she explained. “[If] you are bitter, angry and frustrated and you’re entering the present with all that baggage, you can’t be present with your child. Children are so present in the moment that they know when you are not.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Don’t pay kids to do chores — common money mistakes parents make – National

by BBG Hub

For Annie Boucher and her husband, a weekly allowance is a great way to teach their children financial literacy while also incentivizing help around the house.

“Instead of us just buying things, we said, ‘you can earn money to buy these things that you want,’” the Ottawa mom of two told Global News.

Boucher doesn’t hand out a $5 bill for every dish washed. Instead, if they’ve been “a good member of the family,” each child — aged 11 and 14 — receives $5 at the end of the week.

READ MORE: From lemonade stands to RESPs: How to teach your children financial literacy

“They have to vacuum every Saturday morning. They get zilch until that’s done. But then, if you’ve shown a general willingness to do chores and you haven’t put up a fight every time I’ve asked you to do something [this week], then we’re on good terms,” said Boucher.

Financial literacy is of the utmost importance to Boucher and her husband. “Everything [our children] spend any money on gets a full cost-benefit analysis,” she said.

Parenting expert Alyson Schafer approves.

In her view, a weekly or monthly budget teaches kids how to: save, distinguish between needs and wants, make responsible purchasing choices and become more independent.

“Part of raising children is preparing them with life skills and financial literacy is an important skill,” Schafer said.

How much money should you give? And how often?

According to Schafer, the dollar amount should correspond to what the child is expected to pay for.

“Start small, and add budget items over time. Examples might be bus fare, pizza lunch money, book purchases.”

Receiving this money once per week allows the child to manage small sums of money over a short period of time. “As they get older and their skills improve, you could move it to once a month,” Schafer told Global News.  

READ MORE: The cost of raising a child? Now there’s a calculator for that

For Ann Douglas, another parenting expert, the amount and the frequency will depend on the family.

“Parents will want to take into account what the child is expected to do with the allowance — whether the allowance is for discretionary spending or whether the child is expected to cover clothing and other essentials,” said Douglas. 

It’s OK to compare notes with other parents, but don’t feel obligated to match what other parents are paying. “Take into account what other families are doing, but then decide what is going to work for you,” Douglas said. 

WATCH BELOW: 5 ways to save money at the grocery store

Boucher and her husband decided to give their kids $5 per week because they find it’s enough of an incentive to help around the house, without being exorbitant.

“I have a bit of a problem with paying household members to do things that household members should do anyway,” said Boucher.

“It’s kind of a nominal fee to say ‘thanks for contributing.’”

Allowances should not be connected to household chores

Parents might be inclined to attach a dollar amount to common chores, but this isn’t the best course of action, according to Schafer.

“[The] family is a social system, not a free market economy. You need to make your bed and help out with dishes because you are a member of a community.”

However, if your child wants to save up for a larger purchase and is looking for other ways to make money, Schafer recommends that parents offer “paying jobs” outside of regular responsibilities.

Douglas agrees. “I’m not a big fan of paying children to do chores unless we’re talking about a child pitching in on a really big job that goes above and beyond what might normally be expected of a child of a particular age,” she said.

“You want kids to grow up understanding that being part of a family means pitching in to help one another,” said Douglas.

“If you do decide to pay your kids for doing the dishes, you run the risk that your child is going to decide that the money you’re offering simply isn’t worth it, in which case they might decide to opt out of that particular chore — a situation that can be pretty frustrating for you as a parent.”

Working together is key

Discussing a purchase before it’s made is crucial to learning about finances.

“Since allowance should be tied to a budget, parents [should] oversee the spending to help assure the child is spending the money accordingly and make corrections and suggestions if they are mismanaging their spending,” said Schafer.

The child may need to change their spending habits, or parents may come to find the child needs a bigger allowance. “It’s an iterative process. Expect to teach and tweak over time,” Schafer said.

READ MORE: They saved over $1,000 for football tickets. Then their 2-year-old used the shredder

Boucher’s kids don’t receive physical money. Instead, their earnings are tallied.

If and when they want to make a purchase, they must pitch that purchase to their parents.

“We positioned it [so that] if you want something, let’s discuss what you want. How important is it to you?” Boucher said. “[Since] we’re holding the money, we can have that discussion for every purchasing decision.”

‘Expect a few stumbles along the way’

Mistakes are learning opportunities, said Schafer.

“If they spend all their money, and you bail them out with more funds to cover the shortfall, they will only learn that you’ll rescue them from mistakes. Instead, let them experience the consequences of going without.”

In Schafer’s opinion, it’s better for children to learn those lessons when they’re young with small mistakes than when they leave home for college or university and the stakes are higher.

WATCH BELOW: How much do parents spend on extra-curricular activities?

Douglas echoed this sentiment.

“Giving children an allowance gives them a chance to figure out how money works. They also get the opportunity to practice making mistakes in a relatively low-stakes way,” said Douglas.

“This doesn’t happen overnight, and you should expect a few stumbles along the way.

Some other ways to teach your children about financial literacy

The easiest way to teach your children about money is through conversation.

The first step is tackling the difference between wants and needs.

“You may want a [designer] purse, but what you really need is simply a purse to carry your possessions,” said Schafer.

It’s also important to understand value.

“You may pay more for a Barbie than the no-name brand at the dollar store that falls apart in the first week,” Scahfer said. “You may also discover there is no difference between some brand and no-name brand cereal, so why pay more?”

READ MORE: How you divide household chores can determine how happy you are in your relationship

Knowing how to navigate the secondhand economy is another valuable life skill.

“If they really want that [designer] purse, [show them how] they may find it gently used online,” said Schafer.

Finally, explore digital banking tools together.

“Likely all children raised today will be using online banking, and [there are] tools provided for tracking [your spending].”

“Kids learn experientially. It’s not enough to simply talk about money, they need to work with it.”

WATCH BELOW: What does the federal budget mean for you?

Boucher said her 14-year-old daughter has a solid understanding of money, and she credits that in part to her weekly allowance.

“I can see the purchasing decisions that my daughter makes. She really does say ‘OK I’ll save for this,’” said Boucher. “She sees that it’s all tied to something. It’s not just free money she gets for living.”

To Boucher and her husband, it’s crucial that their kids realize “that you only spend what you have, and if you don’t have it, you don’t spend.”

“Nothing makes me prouder than seeing my daughter run to the sales rack.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Rates of colon cancer have doubled among young people, and doctors still don’t know why – National

by BBG Hub

While rates of colorectal cancer are down in adults over 55, a recent study found that more young people are now being diagnosed with the disease.

According to findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, rates of colon cancer have doubled in U.S. adults aged 20-39 since the mid-1980s. In adults between the ages of 40 and 54, incidents of colon cancer have increased from 0.5 per cent to 1.3 per cent since the mid-1990s.

“The cause for the rise in young adults is unknown and a growing area of research,” Dr. Rebecca Siegel, the study’s lead author and a scientific director at the American Cancer Society, told Global News.

WATCH: Colorectal cancers in Canada discovered too late — report

“The obesity epidemic has probably contributed but does not appear to completely explain the trend.”

When it comes to rectal cancer, the disease has been increasing “longer and faster” in adults aged 20-29 years old. The study, which analyzed the data of nearly 500,000 people, found rectal cancer rates increased 3.2 per cent annually from 1974 to 2013.

In Canada, health-care professionals are noticing a similar trend.

What’s causing the increase?

“What we’re seeing in Canadians under the age of 50 [is that] rates of colorectal cancer are increasing,” said Dr. Leah Smith, senior manager of surveillance at the Canadian Cancer Society.

“Overall, colorectal cancer rates are decreasing, but this decrease seems to be restricted to older age groups… There’s more research that needs to be done to investigate this increase as we’re not entirely clear yet what is causing it.”

READ MORE: Long periods of sitting puts men at higher risk of bowel cancer, study says

As Siegel pointed out, the rise in obesity rates in North America may be a contributing factor to colorectal cancer in younger adults.

“We know that excess body weight is a major risk factor for colorectal cancer,” Smith said. “Rates of obesity are increasing in our population so that could explain the increase.”

A sedentary lifestyle may also up one’s risk, Smith said, just like a diet high in red or processed meat, alcohol or tobacco can.

There have also been changes in diagnostic care that may play a role, but experts are unsure of how much.

WATCH: Colon cancer awareness month 

“More use of colonoscopy in young adults may contribute to the rise, although it is probably not a big factor because … the largest increase has been for advanced stage disease, whereas screen-detected prevalent cancers are typically diagnosed at a localized stage,” Siegel explained.

Despite the increase in rates, colorectal cancer is still primarily a disease that affects older adults, Smith says.

“About six per cent of all colorectal cancer cases occur under the age of 50, meaning … the bulk of colorectal cancer cases in Canada are occurring in older populations,” she explained.

How can Canadians help protect themselves?

Smith and Siegel both say that someone’s risk of developing colorectal cancer can be reduced by healthy lifestyle habits. These include being physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting red and processed meat consumption and avoiding large amounts of alcohol.

Smith also says that smoking increases your risk of colorectal cancer so avoiding tobacco is best.

READ MORE: These two cancers aren’t detected early enough, and it’s costing Canadian lives

Screening for colon and rectal cancers is also important. Smith says there are screening programs in place for adults over 50 but adds that anybody who is experiencing symptoms that indicate colorectal cancer should be checked for it.

“Some of the signs of colorectal cancer are things like changes in bowel moments, blood in the stool, stomach cramping and weight loss,” Smith said.

Early detection is key as colorectal cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in Canada and the second leading cause of cancer death. If it’s caught at Stage 1, it has a 90 per cent survival rate. If it’s caught at Stage 4, the survival rate is less than 15 per cent.

“It’s always important we are aware of our body and are communicating openly and honestly with our health-care providers about what’s going on,” Smith said.

—With a file from Leslie Young 

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Don’t worry, parents, rough play is normal part of childhood: expert – National

by BBG Hub

Roughhousing is banned from most Canadian playgrounds, but that may be about to change.

At least two Quebec elementary schools are experimenting with supervised “rough play” zones in the schoolyard.

At Quatre-Vents, an elementary school in Saint-Apollinaire, Que., the “rough play” space is outlined by cones and governed by strict rules.

READ MORE: ‘Children are calmer, more focused’: Rough play at recess being tested in some Quebec schools

When children are inside the zone, they are allowed to grab each other’s jackets, make each other fall and roll on the ground together.

Prior to the opening of the zone, Quatre-Vents students were taught how to fall without hurting themselves and that they must immediately halt play when someone says “stop.”

“There are certain students for whom it isn’t enough to simply go run in the schoolyard. They need a little more to get out their energy,” said the school’s principal, Sherley Bernier, in an interview with The Canadian Press.

WATCH BELOW: Should Canadian schools have more recess breaks?

According to Bernier, those children who play in the zone “are calmer and they’re more focused” when in class.

Only 15 students are allowed in the zone at one time, and participation is voluntary.

Some parents in the Quatre-Vents community have expressed worry over increased violence on the playground, but Bernier believes the program does the opposite by showing children how to act appropriately while still finding a release for their energy.

READ MORE: How to foster good behaviour in kids? Expert says throw away behaviour charts

For Mariana Brussoni, associate professor at the University of British Columbia, this is a welcome update to the modern recess experience.

“With the best of intentions, we’ve really restricted what kids can do [and] how they can play in an attempt to reduce injuries, without actually realizing the unintended negative consequences of that,” Brussoni says.

“Rough and tumble play is a normal part of children’s play. It’s really adults [who are] uncomfortable [with] seeing this kind of aggression that stops it,” says Brussoni.

WATCH BELOW: Indoor recess guidelines across Canada

“[Kids] become really good at moderating the level of strength they use, the extent of force to different kids and different needs,” Brussoni explains. “This negotiation that’s going on might not be explicit, but you can see that kids adapt to each other’s abilities.”

Through her work as an injury prevention researcher at the BC Children’s Hospital, Brussoni has discovered that most people’s favourite play memory usually takes place outdoors in what she calls a “leftover space” — defined as an informal playground, such as a ditch, ravine, forest or parking lot. The play is usually unsupervised, and the subject is taking risks.

“Being outside is important because you have this sense of freedom. You can be louder and move your body more and be more rambunctious outside than you can inside,” Brussoni explains.

READ MORE: Putting the risk back into play: the benefits of being less protective

“Most formal playgrounds have a piece of fixed equipment, it’s usually really low and really boring. If it’s on your school playground, it’s a piece of equipment that you have seen and used day after day after day for years. It gets really boring really quickly,” says Brussoni.

“If you’re in more flexible spaces, you’ve got materials to play with — loose parts [which] can be moved so they can be used in very different ways. Kids can really use their imagination. The sky’s the limit.”

The typical Canadian recess is heavily supervised, and Brussoni says this can directly stunt the growth of children’s self-confidence.

WATCH BELOW: Children should be allowed to engage in risky, outdoor play: ParticipACTION

“Kids start to doubt themselves,” says Brussoni. “They don’t build self-confidence. They expect that adults will be managing risk for them so they don’t build those skills themselves […] and they don’t build the resilience to deal with [risk] themselves.”

This can lead to disengagement, less physical activity and less interest in being outside in nature.

While this program is definitely a step in the right direction, Brussoni believes still more can be done.

As a developmental psychologist, she believes that risk is necessary for a child’s development, and this pilot project eliminates all risk.

WATCH BELOW: Parenting experts disagree over benefits of rough and tumble play

“It takes away the spontaneity of play and then it doesn’t become play anymore,” explains Brussoni. “Kids play differently when they know an adult is watching.”

Rough play that allows the children to take risks helps prepare them for the world beyond.

“Risk is everywhere, so we have to be able to manage it and we have to be able to build resilience in our own skills and confidence in developing.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Don’t follow J. Lo’s ‘unhealthy’ 10-day no carb and sugar challenge – National

by BBG Hub

Jennifer Lopez wants you to give up sugar and carbs for 10 days.

Last week, the actress and singer challenged her followers and other celebrities like Leah Remini, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Hoda Kotb on Instagram, to join her 10-day no sugar and carb diet. While there was no campaign or motive behind Lopez’s challenge, many, including her partner Alex Rodriguez, joined in.

On Tuesday, the Second Act star posted a photo of herself in workout clothes on Instagram, showing off her well-known abs. “Day 9 and feelin’… like I can’t wait for Day 10,” she wrote.

READ MORE: This could be the ‘simplest diet in the world’ — here’s how it works

And while the challenge itself is very simple on paper (no carbs and no sugar), InStyle reported Lopez also cut out some fruits, condiments with added sugar, alcohol and dairy.

Is this healthy?

Registered dietitian Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen told Global News these short-term challenges don’t work.

“I really hate any short-term ‘challenge’ that promises to help you lose weight, or ‘reset’ your metabolism,” she said.

“While you may lose a bit of weight because you’re cutting out a lot of processed foods temporarily, and shifting your body into a state of very temporary ketosis, much of that weight will be water weight, and you will absolutely gain it all back once you go back to eating normally again.”

She added this “challenge” will also set people up for a sugar binge the moment it is over.

READ MORE: Researchers want the world to eat differently. Here’s what that diet might look like.

“It’s the same concern I have with dieting and cheat days,” she continued. “It’s hard not to eat all the things the moment you’re let off your diet leash. The result is that, as with most restrictive diets, you may actually be heavier than where you started once those 10 days are up.”

Sharp said any clean-eating strategy or challenge is inherently really unhealthy.

“It requires you to completely ignore your body’s cues and often results in an obsessive relationship with food.”

“The key is to listen to your body rather than a set of arbitrary rules set out by a celebrity with no nutrition qualifications.”

In her own personal experience, Sharp’s obsession with clean eating in the past led to an eating disorder when she was a teen.

“These celebrity-driven detoxes and challenges are often a trigger for disordered eating.”

Carbs and sugar in particular

If you want to cut back on added or processed food with sugar or even processed carbs like white bread, it’s not about limiting them altogether, Sharp said, but rather choosing more satiating options.

“For example, rather than having a stir fry with white rice, you could swap half the rice with riced veggies or use a higher-fibre option like quinoa,” she explained. “Likewise, pairing your carb with a source of fat, or protein will also help to keep you satisfied longer.”

READ MORE: Why diets aren’t working for you – or anyone else

She recommends avocado toast with white beans to add protein and fibre, or egg whites in oatmeal to boost protein.

Carbs often get labelled as the enemy, but Sharp said this is not fact.

“Different people tend to respond well — physically and emotionally — to different ways of eating,” she continued. “For some, that may mean a higher fat regime that has their body running on ketones works well, and others may feel best eating lots of fresh fruit and carbs.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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One-third of pregnant women don’t think cannabis will harm their babies: study – National

by BBG Hub

Some moms-to-be don’t believe that cannabis can harm their baby and still use the drug while pregnant, new research has found.

According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, around one-third of pregnant women think it’s safe to use cannabis while expecting, and are unaware of potential health risks to their child.

The findings, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, looked at data from six U.S. studies and found that “more women seem to be using cannabis during pregnancy than ever before, even though evidence of its safety is limited and conflicting.”

READ MORE: Marijuana use on the rise in Ontario even before legalization: survey

The UBC researchers found that one of the main reasons women may think cannabis is safe is because there’s not enough communication between patients and doctors when it comes to the drug.

“We know that from other types of research that when there’s no communication and there is lots of uncertainty in literature — which is true for cannabis use —  then it is very important that health-care providers … educate [patients] about risk,” Hamideh Bayrampour, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at UBC’s Department of Family Practice, told Global News.

“When there’s no communication, [women] may feel like [cannabis use] is not significant or important.”

WATCH BELOW: Yes, cannabis can help you have better sex — here’s why

Bayrampour added that her findings also indicate that many women don’t consider cannabis to be a drug, or that it’s a harmful one.

“When health-care providers ask about drug use, some people don’t feel that cannabis is a drug, so they say, ‘No,’ [they don’t use it],” she said. “Somehow, information is missing in this communication.”

In one study that Bayrampour and her team analyzed, 70 per cent of both pregnant and non-pregnant cannabis users said they perceived slight or no risk of harm around using cannabis while pregnant.

In another set of data, 30 per cent of women responded “no” when asked if they believed cannabis is harmful to a baby during pregnancy.

READ MORE: Should parents lock up their pot? Probably, lawyers warn

When it came to when women used pot in their pregnancy, the research found that cannabis use rates were highest during the first trimester and lowest during the third trimester. Furthermore, 96 per cent of pregnant users said they used the drug to treat nausea early in pregnancy.

Despite the attitudes around cannabis, there were many women who quit the drug when they found out they were pregnant.

In one sample of 306 women, 35 per cent of moms-to-be reported being “current users” when they discovered they were pregnant, but two-thirds of them quit pot after confirming their pregnancy.

WATCH BELOW: Future of medical cannabis and cancer research

Among the women who continued to use the drug, half reported using cannabis almost daily or twice a week, and 18 per cent met the official criteria for cannabis abuse or dependence.

While research is conflicted, Bayrampour said, there are some potential risks of using pot while pregnant.

“There are some outcomes that have very strong associations with cannabis use and pregnancy, like having a baby that’s smaller than average, so low birth weight,” she said.

READ MORE: Divorce hurts teens more than it does children, study finds

“We also have evidence for the impact of cannabis … on the brain.

The researchers found that women who used cannabis while pregnant also shared common factors including higher rates of unemployment, lower income levels, and used other substances like tobacco and alcohol.

Pregnant pot users were more likely to be under the age of 25, and have a diagnosis of anxiety or depression.

READ MORE: Shoppers Drug Mart clinic now offers Botox. Here’s what it will cost you

Bayrampour said that it’s important for pregnant women to be aware of possible health risks, and should be educated on what cannabis can do to their child.

“From a health-care-provider perspective, we do need to have conversations with our pregnant population,” she said.

“Also, people mention they want to understand the specific effects. Just saying, ‘Don’t use it,’ isn’t enough; we need to bring them some more information and let them know that yes, we don’t know for sure if it’s harmful, but we don’t know if it’s safe, so it’s best not to use [cannabis] during pregnancy.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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