Posts Tagged "News"


Menstrual cups are just as safe as tampons — here’s how they work – National

by BBG Hub

Menstrual cups may be daunting to some, but a new study suggests they are just as safe as tampons.

According to the first scientific review on the topic published in The Lancet Public Health journal earlier this week, authors found about 70 per cent of women continued to use menstrual cups once they figured out how to use them.

“Despite the fact that 1.9 billion women globally are of menstruating age — spending on average 65 days a year dealing with menstrual blood flow, few good quality studies exist that compare sanitary products,” senior author professor Penelope Phillips-Howard of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, U.K. said in a statement.

READ MORE: ‘Smart’ menstrual cup sends messages from your vagina

The research looked at 43 studies and data from 3,300 women and girls, and found in some cases, menstrual cups had similar or even lower leakage rates compared to pads and tampons.

What are they?

Menstrual cups are sanitary products that collect blood flow instead of absorbing it like a pad or tampon. Like tampons, they are inserted into the vagina and should be emptied every four to 12 hours. The cups themselves can last up to 10 years.

Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, told Global News menstrual cups are also economical and environmentally friendly compared to other products. She also added they have been around for decades — the versions today just look and feel different.

“They are bell-shaped and they can come in different sizes,” she continued. “It’s usually made with medical-grade silicone.”

There are currently two types in the market: a vaginal cup which is generally bell-shaped, and a cervical cup which is placed around the cervix high in the vagina. Vaginal cups are more popular.

Credit: Getty Images

“There’s less risk for toxic shock syndrome that’s seen with the high-absorbent tampons,” she explained.

But for many, there is still an underlying “gross” factor. Kirkham said this is the case for any type of sanitary product — people who use pads may be “grossed” out by tampons and vice versa.

Kirkham said the cups can also be intimidating because of their size. “It does take a little bit of practice to get the right positioning,” she continued. “There also is a little bit of a learning curve in removing the cup.”

For removal, it is advised to pull out the cup using the stem attached to the bottom and pouring the blood into the toilet before inserting it back in.

“It’s quite discreet,” she explained. “Especially places where sanitation is poor or for people who can’t afford tampons or pads… this cup can be $35 and used for up to 10 years.”

You can buy menstrual cups at most major retailers in Canada or online. The DivaCup, one of the most popular brands, is Canadian-made, and other brands include Tampax Cup, EvaCup, Lena and more. 

Awareness is key

The report found although there are 199 brands of menstrual cups available in 99 countries, people are still unaware of how to use them or what they are in general.

“Globally, menstruation can affect girls’ schooling and women’s experience of work, increase their disposition to urogenital infections if they use poor quality sanitary products, and even make both women and girls a target of sexual violence or coercion when they don’t have the funds to buy them,” the authors noted.

“There are an increasing number of initiatives in both high- and low-income countries to combat ‘period poverty’, so it is essential that policymakers know which sanitary products to include in menstrual health programs and puberty education materials.”

Kirkham added it all comes down to personal preference and if you have questions, always speak with your doctor.

“Always see a physician if your bleeding is heavy or overflowing,” she said.

There are also resources online including Put A Cup In It PACII, that offers resources and information for anyone interested in using the cup. PACII offers everything from a FAQ to a comparison round-up of popular brands.

Health concerns

Another concern (and a chunk of the report) was focused around health concerns. Kirkham said there have been several studies done around this topic, and there has been no scientific evidence to suggest menstrual cups can cause health issues.

The only concern, she noted, is with IUD birth control. “It may pull an IUD out if [the person] is not used to removing it.”

The Lancet report added there was no increased risk of infection with using a cup for European, North American, and African women and girls.

“There were five reported cases of toxic shock syndrome following their use, but the overall number of menstrual cup users is unknown, so it is not possible to make comparisons of the risk of toxic shock syndrome between menstrual cups and other products,” the report added.

READ MORE: Halifax looks at making menstrual products free at municipal facilities

“In four studies involving a total of 507 women, use of the menstrual cup showed no adverse effects on vaginal flora. In studies that examined the vagina and cervix during follow-up, no tissue damage was identified from use of a menstrual cup.”

Again, Kirkham added it comes down to the user being comfortable. Menstrual cups can be especially uncomfortable and maybe even painful for women who did not use tampons, haven’t masturbated or are virgins, she added.

“It may take some practice, there may be some difficulty… I recommend people to try it when they don’t have a period at home.”

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

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If you stop exercising, here’s how quickly you’ll lose strength – National

by BBG Hub

It often takes months of training to gain muscle, but how long does it take to lose strength?

According to experts, it varies depending on age and fitness levels, but it may be quicker than you think.

“Every person is different… but it typically takes takes two to three weeks to [lose strength],” said Sergio Pedemonte, a Toronto-based certified personal trainer and founder of Your House Fitness.

Would you exercise more if you were paid to do it?

Pedemonte says that while muscle fibres will stay the same for weeks after stopping exercise (meaning your bicep won’t suddenly disappear), there will be a decrease in strength and power.

While this decrease may not be a lot at first, the longer you stay away from the gym, the more strength you can lose.

Research backs this up: a 2013 report on rugby and football players found that the athletes’ strength decreased just three weeks after they stopped training. The more time that went on, the more the players’ strength diminished.

Where did my muscles go?

Gabriel Lee, the co-founder of Toronto’s Fit Squad and a former strength coach, says that generally speaking, muscle mass — i.e. the size of your muscles — starts to dwindle after four to six weeks of inactivity.

WATCH BELOW: The art of aging backwards

“The reason many people feel they lose muscle much sooner, that is due to a decrease in water retention and glycogen stores in your muscles, versus an actual loss of muscle tissue,” Lee told Global News.

That being said, Lee adds if you suddenly go on a calorie-deficient diet, you can lose muscle mass as quickly as one to two weeks. He does not recommend severely cutting back calories, as the body begins to use muscle as an energy source.

Factors that affect how quickly you lose strength

Everyone’s bodies work differently, and losing muscles and strength depends on factors like fitness level, lifestyle habits and overall health.

For athletes or folks who train four to five times a week, they may not lose strength as quickly as a new gym-goer or someone less active. Regular exercisers may also gain back muscle and strength more quickly, too, due to muscle memory.

What’s Your Fitness Age?: Cardio

Aging also plays a role in how quickly you’ll lose strength.

“As we age, our hormone production also slows, which in turn can make the ability to gain and maintain muscle become increasingly more challenging,” Lee said.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, after age 30 you begin to lose as much as three to five per cent of muscle mass per decade. The insitute says that most men will lose around 30 per cent of their muscle mass in their lifetime.

What about cardio?

If you’ve ever noticed it’s harder to catch your breath on a jog after a running break, it’s not in your head.

Research shows that cardio or aerobic endurance is easy to lose, and dwindles faster than muscle strength. Both Lee and Pedemonte say you can expect to notice a decrease in your cardio abilities about a week or two after you stop doing things like running or biking.

WATCH BELOW: What’s Your Fitness Age: senior edition

Pedemonte says that even marathon runners will notice a change in their performance if they take a break.

“For example, if a marathon runner is accustomed to running three to five times a week and can run five kilometres under a certain amount of time, if they take time off and pick it up again, that person will struggle a little bit,” Pedemonte said.

A 2014 study looked at folks who did aerobic interval training for fourth months, then stopped. Researchers found that after just one month, the associated health benefits from the exercise, like improved blood pressure, were reversed.

READ MORE: New to working out? Here’s how to overcome exercise anxiety

In order to prevent any significant losses in strength or cardio endurance, Pedemonte says it’s a good idea to hit the gym as regularly as possible, and stay active even on rest days. “Active rest” can include light exercise like walking or yoga.

But sometimes life or injury gets in the way, and a fitness break is inevitable. Don’t fear; time in the gym can get you back to where you started, Lee said.

“Luckily, strength power and endurance are very malleable qualities and they come back very quickly.”

[email protected]

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

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STIs rates in Canada are rising — decline in condom use may be to blame – National

by BBG Hub

With the recent news of STI outbreaks in Alberta, experts are wondering if a decline in condom use may be to blame.

Nathan Lachowsky, an assistant professor at the University of Victoria, told Global News we need more sexual health research in Canada in general to explain trends like this one.

“A lot is changing about the ways that Canadians are having sex, but we don’t why as we don’t have nationally representative surveys like many other nations,” he said.

Lachowsky presented findings on condom use practices, focusing on gay men, at the STI & HIV World Congress in Vancouver this week.

READ MORE: Syphilis outbreak declared in Alberta amid ‘rapid increase’ in cases

Lachowsky said rates of some sexually transmitted infections continue to increase across the country, and this is partly due to people using condoms less.

The importance of sex ed

He added that much of this comes down to a lack of sex education.

“We can absolutely improve the quality and depth of sex education in schools, which requires both stronger curriculum and implementation,” he explained. “Youth should be learning about condoms and practise how to use them before they are in the moments of having sex with someone else for the first time.”

He said that as a society, we also need to remove the stigma related to STIs.

“That is what shuts down conversations within schools, within families, and between partners,” he said. “How much more pleasurable would sex be if you weren’t concerned about getting an STI?”

Samantha Bitty, a Toronto-based sexual health and consent educator, added that sex education also has to be inclusive.

“If the types of sex you’re having isn’t represented in the sex education you receive, you’re less likely to feel empowered to suggest safer sex methods.”

But Lyba Spring, a retired sexual health educator based in Toronto, said education is only one factor.

READ MORE: HIV and syphilis outbreaks declared in northwest Saskatchewan

“Even though there are guidelines for sexual health education, it is unevenly applied throughout the country,” she told Global News. “Young heterosexuals may indeed rely on methods of birth control other than condoms, but there are also other factors which may impede their condom use.

“Negotiating safer sex requires not only an ability to communicate but also a feeling of self-worth.”

Spring added that older Canadians who did not have the benefit of sex ed may not be aware of the risks of STIs in general.

“Canadian seniors for whom pregnancy was once an issue would not necessarily think about STI prevention because they may have been in a long-term relationship before losing their partner to death or divorce,” she added. “They may believe their new partner did not have more than one partner in the past.”

Men who have sex with men may also be at risk without proper sex education of STIs, Spring said.

“Men having sex with men who are at low risk for HIV transmission because they are HIV positive but using medication that keeps their levels undetectable, or men who are using [HIV prevention drug] PrEP may ignore the risk from other STIs aside from HIV.”

Embarrassment buying condoms

For some, there can be a feeling of anxiety or shame when it comes to buying condoms.

“Anyone who is buying condoms and lube should feel great about making sexually healthy choices,” Lachowsky said. “As public health, we should also be making condoms, lubricant and other prevention strategies readily available and easily accessible for everyone.”

READ MORE: 1 million people a day catch sexually transmitted infections, WHO warns

Spring added that where you live may also be a factor.

“It is not clear how easy or difficult it is to obtain/buy condoms in rural or remote areas,” she explained. “Moreover, there can be an embarrassment factor, especially if one is in a smaller town.”

Communication is critical

When it comes down to it, all three experts agree communication between partners or partners is key.

“It’s hard to talk about the kinds of sex you want to have and how to prevent passing an STI, but we need to start practising,” Lachowsky said. “Practice makes perfect. Getting tested for STIs regularly is also a critical part of being a sexually responsible and healthy adult.”

The majority of STIs do not have any symptoms, he said, which is why we should not rely on our own self-assessment.

READ MORE: Canadian youth need access to free contraceptives, Canadian Paediatric Society says

Bitty said these conversations also include talking about pleasure, power dynamics, stigmas around STIs and even shame when it comes to condom use.

Spring agreed and added that people shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.

“[For example,] ‘After we both get tested for the usual suspects (HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) what are you comfortable doing without barrier protection?’ or ‘If you have a history of cold sores, I need to know so we can talk about transmission through oral sex.’”

[email protected]

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

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‘Incredibly concerning’: More U.S. teens are trying to lose weight – National

by BBG Hub

Despite growing awareness around body positivity, new research has found more American teenagers are dieting today than in the past — especially young women.

From 2013 to 2016, nearly 38 per cent of adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19 said they had tried to lose weight during the past year, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

This number is up from previous years, as around 24 per cent of U.S. adolescents attempted to lose weight between 2009 and 2010.

The CDC found almost half of adolescent girls tried to lose weight compared to almost one-third of boys. For both boys and girls, a higher percentage of Hispanic teenagers tried to lose weight compared to other groups, the centre wrote.

READ MORE: Coping with ‘beach body’ season when you have an eating disorder

The data found that among those who tried to lose weight, the most common ways were through exercise (83.5 per cent), drinking a lot of water (52 per cent) and eating less (nearly 49 per cent). Over 82 per cent of teens said they tried to lose weight using two or more methods.

The recent U.S. data is not surprising to Amanda Raffoul, a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo who researches disordered eating and dieting, largely in adolescents.

Raffoul says there’s reason to believe more Canadian teens are trying to lose weight, too. She says unlike the U.S., Canada does not have consistent weight-loss data for youth.

READ MORE: Men suffer from eating disorders, too — so why do we ignore them?

“A lot of us working in the area have assumed that rates of dieting have gone up, but without consistent data sources, we can’t necessarily track those changes over time as well,” she said. “Seeing results like this sort of confirms our beliefs [in Canada] — but it’s still incredibly concerning.”

Why more youth are trying to lose weight

Raffoul says teens and children are particularly vulnerable to weight-loss messaging in society. As children grow into adolescents, they internalize any pressures from family, friends and the media. This can lead to unhealthy weight-loss behaviours.

“Combine that with the fact that there’s a growing emphasis on health and wellness that proliferates across social media and popular messaging, and [youth] are constantly engaged,” Raffoul said.

WATCH: Eating more plant-based food

Things like weight-loss tea and waist trainers — products often endorsed by celebrities and influencers on Instagram — affect the adolescents that see them. Raffoul says products like these promise “easy and simple weight loss,” which is enticing to young adults.

“When you’re a teenager or child who’s under a lot of pressure to look a certain way and [see] something that’s a promised ‘easy solution,’ that makes you more inclined to want to engage in that,” she explained. “Even though we know that weight is incredibly complex and not something that simple.”

Dieting in youth can affect people into adulthood

As the CDC report found, Raffoul says young women are more likely to engage in weight-loss behaviour or dieting than young men.

A recent report that Raffoul co-authored found women and non-binary individuals had a higher risk of engaging in more weight‐loss behaviours, many of which were unhealthy or dangerous. (It’s important to note than men and adolescents are affected by eating disorders and dieting, too.)

READ MORE: Calorie-tracking apps can help with weight loss, but aren’t perfect, experts say

Developing unhealthy dieting behaviours as an adolescent puts people at a greater risk of having disordered eating habits as an adult, Raffoul says. This is particularly true for women.

“Eating disorders are obviously very complex and have a lot of factors that contribute to them,” Raffoul said. “But dieting at a young age is a pretty major risk factor.”

How to have healthy conversations around weight

To combat the risk of developing an eating disorder or disordered relationship with food, Raffoul says it’s important for youth to see messages that promote health — not weight loss.

Educating children and teens on the importance of regular exercise and a balanced diet is necessary, but the focus around these topics should never be on weight loss.

WATCH: Healthy Living Report — Disordered eating and weight loss

“If we continuously focus on needing to lose weight as an indicator of health, then people will do whatever they can, or feel like they need to do, to lose that weight without focusing on not only their physical health but also their mental health and social well-being,” she said.

[email protected]

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

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Bottled, filtered or tap: Is one water better than the other? – National

by BBG Hub

When it comes to options for safe drinking water, experts say Canadians are often confused.

Some people still hold the belief that tap water in particular isn’t safe to drink, while others believe bottled water is so-called “healthier” than tap or filtered water.

Ronald Gehr, an associate professor at the civil engineering department at McGill University in Montreal, told Global News there’s plenty of misinformation out there about bottled, filtered and tap water.

Water quality concerns spur state of emergency in Attawapiskat

“There’s a lot of confusion [and] suspicion,” he explained. “It’s too bad because first of all, people are paying for tap water even if they don’t drink it.”

He said sometimes it comes down to taste (people just prefer filtered water vs. tap water), but other times, companies have convinced consumers that their bottled versions of water are supposedly better for you.

According to Health Canada, drinking water in the country comes from either underground sources or lakes and rivers.

“Most Canadians get their drinking water from public water systems that have to meet quality requirements set by provincial and territorial governments. In rural and remote areas, people may get their drinking water from wells or from surface water sources located on their own private property and are individually responsible for the safety of the drinking water,” the site noted.

The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality is set by Health Canada, along with the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water.

The differences

Tap water: Tap water is produced by a municipality, city or town, Gehr said, typically through a water treatment plant.

“Tap water is subject to a large number of standards that are set by the province,” he said. “These standards basically follow federal guidelines. [Tap water] has gone through very thorough treatment and very thorough quality control.”

Gehr said this includes disinfection.

Hedley residents told not to drink local tap water

The addition of fluoride to tap water also continues to be a debate, Gehr added. Montreal, for example, does not include fluoride in their tap water, but Toronto does.

“Despite fluoride being introduced into Canadian communities over 60 years ago, the national average still currently sits at less than 50 per cent. Clearly water fluoridation is not without its detractors, and over the years, the principal arguments for and against water fluoridation have changed very little,” a 2009 report from the Canadian Dental Association noted.

Filtered water: Filtered water takes tap water and processes it through a filtration system at home. This could be through the tap directly or a water filtration system like Brita.

“Generally people use filtered water because they are either suspicious of the health of tap water or because they don’t like the taste of tap water,” Gehr said.

While some believe filter water will improve health, this is not the case, he said. U.S. researchers in the past have said tap water was just as good as bottled water or filtered water when it came to health, NPR reported.

Water filtration systems often trap low concentrations of carbon and other chemicals not removed by treatment plants.

One thing filter water users need to be mindful for is switching out their filters in their pitchers. According to Healthline, make sure you follow the manufacturers’ recommendations or the filtration process actually won’t work.

“Filters that are not changed at the proper time may not work to reduce the contaminants that they were originally designed to address. If it’s not filtered out, that contaminant might result in potentially harmful health effects,” Rick Andrew, director of the NSF International Global Water program, told the site.

Chlorine is another sticking point for some. Health Canada added that chlorine acts as a disinfectant and is added to drinking water “to reduce or eliminate microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, which can be present in water supplies.” Adding chlorine (and again, this is a safe amount) will reduce the risk of waterborne diseases.

“The reason why chlorine is in the water is to provide an extra disinfection barrier so it’s safe for our people to drink,” Gehr said.

Bottled water: Companies that create bottled water technically do not follow federal, provincial or municipal guidelines, but as product-makers, most ensure their product is high-quality, Gehr said.

“There are different kids of bottled water,” he continued. “Some bottled water is made from tap water [while] others use spring water,” adding some companies use lake or river water as well.

Bottled water also goes through a purification process. This includes disinfecting the water and sometimes adding minerals. noted some popular bottled water brands like Dasani, SmartWater and Nestle Pure Life include everything from magnesium sulfate to calcium chloride to salt.

Clean water access

But not all people living in Canada have access to safe drinking water. On Tuesday, A First Nation in northern Ontario declared a state of emergency over its water supply.

The chief of Eabametoong First Nation added tests of water quality showed high levels of chemicals that are byproducts of treatment materials like chlorine interacting with naturally occurring compounds.

WATCH: Should Calgary bring fluoridated water back?

The community continues to be on a boil water advisory for almost two decades. The Council of Canadians added there are more than 100 drinking water advisories in First Nations across the country. 

Bottled water and the plastic problem

Another concern is around bottled water and waste. Sylvia Struck, an adjunct professor with the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, told Global News Canadians should consider using tap over bottled water.

“I would advocate for people to consume water from the tap if safe to do so over bottled water due to the additional plastic/container waste produced and the cost incurred,” she said over e-mail.

Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada was looking into a ban of single-use plastics by 2021. 

Whistler launches new campaign telling hotel guests to drink tap water

Gehr added in some cases, bottled water is often more convenient for people on the go — travelling or camping, for example. But he, too, added Canadians need to be aware the cost and resources it takes to bottle water.

“Bottles have to be cleaned, filled, add a label, transported to the store… then people bring it home and dispose it,” he said. “All of this is a tremendous waste of resources, energy and water. Even the water itself is used to clean the bottles.

“I really can’t see this need for society to have huge quantities of bottled water.”

— with files from The Canadian Press

[email protected]


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

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Your kid just caught you having sex — now what? – National

by BBG Hub

Having ‘the talk’ with your kids can be awkward for them, but having them walk in on you in the middle of sex can be, well, very uncomfortable.

“I think a lot depends on what exactly the child sees, along with their age,” said Sara Dimerman, a Toronto-based registered psychologist and parenting expert.

If a child is three or four years old and sees some movement under the covers, Dimerman says they may not realize their parents are being intimate. When it comes to an older child or teen, however, things can get tricky.

WATCH BELOW: Parenting with patience

“If the parents are fully exposed and their bodies are contorted in a way that is foreign for the child to see, and [he or] she is around the age of 11, then it may be upsetting, or even embarrassing,” Dimerman told Global News.

“Around the age of 16… [a child] might find it more ‘gross’ or disgusting because that’s not the image they want to have of their parents.”

If your kid likely knows what they saw, it’s important to talk to them.

How to talk to kids about seeing sex

Dimerman says parents should take cues from their child’s reaction, and respond accordingly.

READ MORE: Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood

If a child is too young to realize what they just saw, or is seemingly unaware of the situation, a parent could “just respond to the child’s need without making a big deal of it,” Dimerman said. But if a kid freaked out or ran away after seeing their parents in the act, it’s important to talk to them quickly.

“A parent might say something like, ‘I know it surprised you to see us naked on the bed together and being intimate,’” Dimerman said.

“Then, validate [their] feelings with: ‘It’s always awkward and uncomfortable to walk in on parents having sex, and that’s why our door was shut; because sex is something private. But we want you to know that you didn’t do anything wrong, and to save you from feeling this way next time, how about knocking first?”

WATCH BELOW: Parenting tips

The important thing is to not pretend the incident didn’t happen. Ignoring sex can stigmatize the act and confuse children, said Sara Moore, an assistant professor of sociology at Salem State University who specializes in sexuality and family life.

“Ignoring it may give the child an impression that sex is something to hide or be ashamed of,” Moore told Global News. “While it may seem easy to ‘save face’ by pretending it didn’t happen, parents then have little influence on how their child interprets what they saw.”

Be honest and open about sex

Moore says children will be less affected if they walk in on their parents having sex if they actually understand what sex is. A lack of understanding can be upsetting for them.

READ MORE: Why most ‘dad shaming’ comes from mom

To help kids develop a healthy attitude towards intercourse, Moore says parents should talk to their kids about it at an early age. She says so many young people get misinformation from the media and pornography, which can harm perceptions of sex.

Planned Parenthood says that when adults talk to their kids about sex, it reduces the likelihood that they’ll engage in risky sexual behaviour. It also helps normalize sex, and create a healthy relationship with sexuality.

Moore says sex conversations should be age-appropriate. For a kid in elementary school, for example, teaching them proper names for body parts and topics of consent are important. Moore says when her daughter was five and started asking where babies came from, she and her husband had a conversation with her about reproduction.

WATCH BELOW: How to be a great role model to your kids

“Having those conversations early and consistently will help children better understand what consensual sex is, and why people have sex to begin with,” Moore said. “Nobody wants to see their parents having sex, but it’s likely much more ‘traumatic’ for children when their experience is filtered through half-formed or ill-informed ideas about what sex is.”

The other thing all parents should remember? Lock the door if you’re going to get intimate.

“We live in a culture that suggests kids should have full access to their parents 100 per cent of the time,” Moore said.

“This isn’t healthy for parents or their kids, and parents should let their kids know they sometimes need private, child-free time together.”

[email protected]

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

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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.”

Expert tips that can take the stress out of holiday travel

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.

‘You have to make it comfortable’: travel writer’s road trip tips

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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How U.K.’s Prince Andrew may be connected to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex allegations – National

by BBG Hub

The U.K.’s Prince Andrew’s name has been making headlines again after convicted sex offender and billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged with sex trafficking dozens of underage girls. 

The charges, which were revealed on Monday, accused the 66-year-old businessman of luring girls as young as 14 to visit his mansion in Manhattan and estate in Palm Beach, Fla., for sexual acts in exchange for money.

According to the Associated Press, Epstein’s charges come more than a decade after he secretly cut a deal with federal prosecutors for similar allegations.

READ MORE: What did the famous friends of Jeffrey Epstein know and see?

The billionaire has been linked to several powerhouses, including former President Bill Clinton and current U.S. President Donald Trump. But Epstein has also been connected to one member of the royal family: the Duke of York.

Relationship with Epstein and allegations

The Guardian previously reported that Prince Andrew and Epstein had been friends in the ’90s and would party together in destinations like Saint-Tropez, Thailand and New York City.

In 2015, a woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre who accused Epstein of making her a “sex slave” alleged she was forced to have sexual relations with the Duke of York several times, the site continued. The accusation was filed in a Florida court in connection to a longtime lawsuit against Epstein.

READ MORE: Who is Jeffrey Epstein? U.S. billionaire accused of sex abuse, trafficking minors

Giuffre claimed that between 1999 and 2002, she was sexually abused by Epstein, who also “loaned her” to rich men around the world. The court documents found Giuffre, who was underage at the time in the U.S., had sexual relations with Prince Andrew in London, New York City and on a Caribbean island owned by Epstein.

Buckingham Palace released a statement denying all allegations against the prince.

The palace said the accusations were “false and without any foundation,” the BBC reported, and Prince Andrew did not have “any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.”

Later that year during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Prince Andrew broke his silence over the allegations himself. 

“I just wish to reiterate and to reaffirm the statements which have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace,” he said. “My focus is on my work.”

After the palace’s initial statement, Giuffre said the palace’s denial was false and hurtful, the BBC reported.

READ MORE: The Jeffrey Epstein case could involve a ‘well-known prime minister.’ Here’s what we know

“I did have sexual contact with him as I have described here – under oath. Given what he knows and has seen, I was hoping that he would simply voluntarily tell the truth about everything. I hope my attorneys can interview Prince Andrew under oath about the contacts and that he will tell the truth.”

Giuffre alleged that in 2001, after having sexual relations with the prince, she told Epstein what happened.

“It was horrible to have to recount all these events and have to try to meet all these needs and wants. I told Epstein about Andy’s [Prince Andrew’s] sexual interests in feet. Epstein thought it was very funny. Epstein appeared to be collecting private information about Andy,” Giuffre told the site, adding that the billionaire paid her $15,000.

“That money was for what I had done and to keep my mouth shut about ‘working’ with the prince,” she said.

Neither Prince Andrew nor Buckingham Palace has released a statement following Epstein’s latest charges.

Epstein heads to court

The Associated Press added that prosecutors said evidence against Epstein earlier this week included thousands of lewd photographs of young women or girls.

Authorities also found phone records and papers that corroborated the alleged crimes and a massage room in his New York home.

READ MORE: Jeffrey Epstein pleads not guilty to sex-trafficking charges involving minors

Epstein’s lawyers argued his sex-crime allegations are “ancient” and had originally been settled in 2008 with a plea agreement in Florida. It was overseen by former U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta, who is currently Trump’s labour secretary.

Epstein was arrested Saturday and arrived in the U.S. from Paris before arriving in court on Monday. He waits for a bail hearing next Monday.

— with files from AP, Laura Hensley 

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

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Parents are hiring ‘screen-free coaches’ to help keep kids off their devices – National

by BBG Hub

It seems like some parents have forgotten what parenting was like before smartphones and tablets.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, some parents in the U.S. are hiring screen-free parenting coaches to help them raise phone-free children.

The trend, which is picking up in several U.S. states, allows these screen-free coaches to go into homes, schools and religious institutions to lecture parents on how parenting worked before screens.

“I try to really meet the parents where they are, and now often it is very simple: ‘Do you have a plain old piece of material that can be used as a cape?’” one coach told the site. “‘Is there a ball somewhere? Throw the ball… kick the ball.’”

Letting children ‘cry it out’ is controversial, but for some, it works

Another parenting coach, Gloria DeGaetano, based in Seattle, told the site coaches in small cities can make up to USD $80 an hour in small cities or rural areas and up to $250 in larger cities.

For the most part, coaches added, parents had forgotten what life was like before screens because they’re glued to their own devices.

Screen-free parenting

Screen-free parenting has also been around for years. Screen-Free Parenting, the blog, is a community of people who don’t use screens in their households.

“For the time being, we are screen-free parents. We have gotten our fair share of awkward stares and silences when we explain our four year old has never watched Doc McStuffinsCalilou, or pretty much any Disney movie. Screen-free may not be for everyone. But, it’s working great for us right now,” the blog’s authors noted.

The blog notes the community is for all type of screen users — or wherever you are on the “screen spectrum.”

“Limiting screens is incredibly freeing, boredom is the friend of creativity, and your child’s brain is an amazing thing.  So, if you are not ready to go full-on 1940’s and throw your smartphone in the toilet, maybe you are willing to see how it is we parent screen-free and why we think it’s so great.”

Early childhood consultant Julie Romanowski of Miss Behaviour in Vancouver told Global News there are two ways of looking at screen-free parenting.

‘Panda parenting’ is all about giving children more freedom — but does it work?

“One is going hard-core and getting rid of screens all together to get rid of the problem however, if this can even be done, there are new problems that will arise from this decision.,” she explained.

“The second way of doing this is with a supportive method that includes discussions, expectations and guidance. This approach can help kids ‘learn’ how to live with out it, control it and accept it. There will still be challenges as this will take time and success will come in time.”`

Cutting back on screen time

And with countless studies and reports on how too much screen time can “delay important developmental milestones” or even how some Canadian kids are losing the ability to play in general, it’s no surprise parents are looking for more screen-free solutions.

But Romanowski said parents should not go completely screen-free if they don’t have a plan set in place.

“There will be times where children will constantly ask for it, beg for it, get angry about it or worse,” she said. “Support for everyone involved is essential because at the speed to which life is running, it’s easier to cave or just let it go, which never proves to go well.”

Not being consistent with new expectations can cause confusion and insecurities, she said.

But she said for most parents, going screen-free is often never the reality.

‘Phones are a privilege’: Parents should take away devices when teens act out

“It’s like getting rid of all the sugar so our kids stay healthy,” she continued.

Instead, she said, parents should acknowledge the dangers, pitfalls, risks and challenges and work around them — setting up expectations on how much screen time is allowed, and making sure all members of the family follow them.

If this means establishing a rule that means no or limited screen time before bed that children can spend on their phones or tablets, make sure the whole family is on board.

And while some argue children have been raised without screens for decades, Romanowski said the world is much more fast-paced today.

“The level of stress is out of this world for most people, of all ages,” she said. “It is challenging to go back to how things were — a simpler time of playing outside, hanging out at the playground, reading books and sitting down for family dinners.

“I don’t think ‘screens’ are necessarily the problem. I think it’s more of an unconscious way of living that’s the real issue because of the combination of life’s speed and stress.”

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

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Triplet gives birth to her own set of triplets: ‘I have fallen in love’ – National

by BBG Hub

Judit Minda grew up as a triplet, but the first-time mom was shocked when she discovered she, too, would be having three kids.

“Finding out about being pregnant with triplets was… the most unexpected news I could have ever got,” Minda wrote on Instagram.

The 31-year-old Olso, Norway, mom and her partner Glenn Undheim wanted to have a child, but they were not prepared for more than one.

“I had thousands of thoughts,” Minda told TODAY Parents. “I wanted them all, but I did not want three children at the same time. I thought about all the complications that could occur (with) a triplet pregnancy and I felt extremely scared and confused.”

Minda’s mindset changed when she began thinking about how much she loved being a triplet. Because she is so close with her two sisters, having triplets meant that her children would also have the same unique bond with their siblings.

READ MORE: Baby bumps aren’t the same size — here’s why

“Being triplets was often the best, but sometimes it could get terrible, too. We got compared all the time. We were not called on by our names — just referred to as the Mindas,” she told TODAY.

“But most of the time it was amazing. And still is. I have gone through life having two best friends.”

On Jan. 29, Minda and Undheim welcomed two boys and one girl: Filip, Henrik and Amelia. Minda has created an Instagram account documenting her journey raising three kids, and often posts about the challenges of motherhood.

She is also open about the health implications of carrying three babies.

READ MORE: How safe is it to take medication during pregnancy?

Minda has tachycardia, a condition where the heart beats too fast. As reported by TODAY, Minda’s doctors recommended removing at least one fetus because they were worried about the strain that the pregnancy would have on her heart.

Minda and Undheim decided against that.

“The first 20 weeks were really difficult. I was extremely nauseous all the time,” Minda said.

“Throughout the entire pregnancy, I struggled with high pulse and difficulty breathing.”

Her babies also had a few growth issues, which naturally made Minda nervous. She wrote about her anxiety around the health of her triplets and her experiences with specialist appointments and tests.

When the triplets were born via C-section, Minda suffered some post-partum issues, including several viral infections.

“The days after the delivery were pretty tough, I have been fighting all kinds of viruses (sinus infection, flu, throat infection, cold) but that part is much better by now,” she wrote on social media.

“Two days ago I got worse again and was set on antibiotics immediately due to post-cesarean wound infection. It is terribly painful and gives me fever and makes it hard to move around or even to turn in the bed.”

Now that the triplets are five months old and healthy, Minda is doing better and says that her life has changed — for the better.

View this post on Instagram

29th June – Filip, Amelia and Henrik have turned 5 months old yesterday. . The past 5 months have been filled with uncountless new adventures, many emotions, smiles, tears, sleepless nights and new experiences. . Becoming a first time mother to three little babies has made me a different person. I feel like that at the age of 31 I have become a grown up, because I had to become a grown up. Does it make sense 😅🙈😉?! I have fallen in love, irrevocably, I have become responsible for little creatures who are absolutely dependent on me, for the first time in my life experienced depression, and a certain desire of wanting to be a better version of myself in order to be able to raise self confident and happy kiddos. . Time is passing by so fast and there is so much happening. ❓We do not know if Glenn has got the new job but hoping to find out about it soon. ❗️ We have decided that the best solution for our family is if I’ll go back to work from January too and the babies will start kindergarten. I’ve got a great offer which I will be taking and I am very excited about it. I will have flexible working hours which means that on less busy days I will be able to have more time with my children. ⁉️ We will have to move to a bigger and more child friendly place. Our home has a very steep driveway and even in the summer time it is a challange to push the stroller up on it. Winters are usually VERY cold in Norway with a lot of snow and ice… no chance we could push the stroller up on that kind of ice with 3 children in it safely. So… my heart is bleeding but we will have to move soon. ❗️We have started with a new sleeping routine. Will be writing more about it soon 🙈😁😘. ‼️ Filip, Amelia and Henrik has officially become big boys and girl and can not use their pram any longer. 😳🙈🥰. ‼️The babies have been eating solids for some days now. . 🍻Cheers to an adventureous future and thank you for following along 💙💖💙. . . . #5monthsold #triplets #trillinger #lifewithtriplets #family #newadventures #ourlife #thisisus ##trillinger #oslo #norge #summer2019 #livetmedtrillinger . Gift/annonse @marmarcopenhagen outfits are from 🥰❤️

A post shared by Judit, Sofia, Szilvia Minda (@triplet_with_triplets) on

“Becoming a first time mother to three little babies has made me a different person,” Minda wrote on Instagram.

“I have fallen in love, irrevocably, I have become responsible for little creatures who are absolutely dependent on me, for the first time in my life experienced depression, and a certain desire of wanting to be a better version of myself in order to be able to raise self confident and happy kiddos.”

Her two sisters help with her triplets, too.

“Having them by my side has given me courage, helped me through tough periods and made me realize that there is nothing in life I will ever have to face alone,” she wrote.

“No matter what life will bring, I will always have two amazing [people] to count on.”

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

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