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Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. Over 90% of people who are not immune to measles and who come into contact with the virus will become infected.

For most people its an illness that they will recover from with no problems, but there can be some severe complications.

Recently Canada has seen an increase in the amount of measles cases, especially in the Vancouver area.

Thirteen cases of measles have now been confirmed in British Columbia, most of them linked to a pair of French-language schools in Vancouver after an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a trip to Vietnam.

Meanwhile, health officials are warning that a that a person with measles who passed through Edmonton International Airport may have exposed others to the infection as they travelled.

Alberta Health Services said in a news release that an individual with a lab-confirmed case of measles arrived on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver on February 12th, then rode in an airport shuttle to a hotel in Leduc.

The health agency said the person visited a store in Leduc later that day, and left Edmonton on a Canadian North flight for Inuvik on February 13th.

Officials in the Northwest Territories also issued a statement, warning that a person flew to Inuvik from an ``international destination'' on February 13th, and that the person's travels also took them through Yellowknife and Norman Wells the same day.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Dr. Howard Njoo says symptoms can be tricky to judge.

"The symptoms you will get initially will be along the lines of having a fever, a cough, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability, red eyes and a sensitivity to light," explains Dr. Njoo.

The most classic and tell tale sign that you have measles is a red blotchy rash. It starts on the face about 3-7 days after the start of the symptoms and then progresses down the body.

The average incubation periods is 10 days, but can be as long as 21 days, so a person could be travelling and unaware that they are infecting people.

Despite measles being officially eliminated in Canada back in 1998, there continues to be yearly outbreaks across the country as cases are acquired abroad.

"Before the introduction of the measles vaccine, there were annually about 100 million cases and up to 6 million deaths per year," said Dr. Njoo. "With the introduction of the vaccine in Canada and around the world, the rates have dropped dramatically, which speaks to the importance of vaccination."

Dr. Njoo says we have seen the number of cases creep up in recent years due to a drop in the vaccination rate country wide.

He says our ideal vaccination rate is 95 percent, but in recent years we have only had a rate of 89-90 percent.

"As long as there are cases of measles occurring anywhere in the world, there is always that risk in Canada," Dr. Njoo explains. "Any Canadian planning to travel overseas should make sure their vaccinations are up to date.

If you believe you have measles you are encouraged to contact a health care professional, but are asked to alert the office before heading in to see the doctor.

Keeping our children safe, no matter their age, can be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting.

According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the vast majority of children that go missing in Canada are not abducted, in fact, the vast majority are runaways.

Karyn Kibsey, manger of training and education with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection says we can no longer use "stranger danger" as a way to tackle the problem.

"When we talk about abduction, there are some stranger abductions. However, the vast majority of time when it is an abduction, it is almost three times more likely that it is someone that is known to the child that has taken them," Kibsey explained.

Kibsey says based on statistics, the concept of "stranger danger" is an outdated method. She says placing emphasis on a fear of strangers is not an effective approach for protecting children from victimization. Instead, she says it is about shifting our language and how we talk to kids about their safety.

"When we are talking to kids about those situations, a key thing is to have discussions that are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate," said Kibsey.

She says it is very important not to use any fear tactics, as it will only increase their vulnerability. She says the best way to approach the topic is in a calm and matter of fact way.

"Treat it the same way you would if you were teaching your child about wearing a helmet or buckling their seatbelt," said Kibsey.

Another great resource for teaching young people about safety is via books. Kibsey says that books help repeat the message and gives children different safe situations to learn about these risks.

The Child Centre for Child Protection has also released a list of the Top 5 Safety Habits for Life to help parents.

1. Check first

Get permission from parents before going anywhere with anyone.

2. Use the buddy system

Sticking together creates safety in numbers.

3. Some secrets should be told

Secrets that make you feel scared or uncomfortable need to be told to adults.

4. Trust your instincts

Pay attention to your body’s signals that warn you of danger.

5. Be assertive

Set clear boundaries about personal space and touching.

For more information and resources visit protectchildren.ca.

It's been a long, cold and snowy winter across the country, which has many Canadians wondering when spring will arrive.

The shift in temperature and darker days of winter can quite often lead to the winter blues, with others feeling the full effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Sean Miller, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association- Central Region says there are many factors that play a role in how we feel during the winter months.

"One of the things about living in North America is that during the winter months, we do not experience a lot of daylight and when we are outside we cover up about 90 percent of our body," Miller expained. "If we are not exposed to sunlight our body does not synthesize vitamin D, which is correlated with healthy levels of serotonin."

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, one of the hundreds in our body that help us to thrive in both our mental and physiological health. If we don't have those right levels of serotonin, it can affect our mood, sleep, appetite and weight.

"Another factor is inactivity. Social Isolation can also play a huge factor in our mental health," said Miller.

Miller encourages people to get into the community and to find groups they can relate to.

"Chances are there is someone else going through the same thing as you and they have the answers that you don't," said Miller.

He says it important to change our attitudes and to embrace winter. He encourages Canadians to find something that makes winter enjoyable, like a fun outdoor activity such as skiing, skating or snowshoeing. Something that allows a person to look at winter as a beautiful change of seasons.

Inactivity also plays a huge role in our mental health during the winter months according to Miller. He says it is important to get out and remain active.

"Even as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day has been shown to improve not only our physical well being, but also our mental health," said Miller

The food we choose to eat can also greatly affect our mental wellness.

"We undervalue the importance of a healthy diet. Our digestive system is connected to our mental health. It houses 80 percent of our immune system. So getting the proper fuel into our system is going to benefit us," Miller explained.

To find out more information on how to keep on top of your mental well being during the winter months, visit cmha.ca

 

In a society where workforces—especially executives—are encouraged to keep their professional lives and spiritual lives separate, Jeff Holler's Bigger Than Business: Real-World Stories of Business Owners Living Their Purpose is a thought-provoking testimonial to the power of a faith-driven existence—even in the boardroom.

Bigger Than Business shares transparent, true-life stories of Christian entrepreneurs living out their God-created purposes in their unique business settings. Between the covers of Bigger Than Business, readers will meet eight faithful business owners from six continents who share their remarkable stories, including:

• A US couple who rose above a personal tragedy and through their business set a transformative example for all;
• An inspiring Australian business owner who, with God's help, transformed a business capable of serving one individual at a time into one poised to serve hundreds of thousands around the globe;
• A Brazilian with a Japanese heritage who was fired by his own family, yet returned to help build and continue the family business; and
• An amazing woman who barely survived the genocide in Rwanda and who now heals broken hearts through her small sewing cooperative.

At the end of each chapter are insightful questions to help readers understand ways in which they can live their God-given purposes in and through their own businesses. Bigger Than Business gives readers the know-how and the confidence to pursue what they value and to commit more passionately to pursuing a greater purpose.

Author Jeff Holler is a speaker and founder of The Capital Chart Room LTD, serving some of the most respected and successful entrepreneurs in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. A certified financial planner, Jeff holds a bachelor's degree in business from Florida State University. He leads an adult Bible study class, and he and his wife, Charlsey, commit their time, talent, gifts and service to several ministries. They have two wonderful daughters with precious families of their own. Jeff and Charlsey live in Fort Worth, Texas.

You can learn more about Holler and his work at www.biggerthanbusiness.com.

Christie Amoyo is a wife, entrepreneur, author, and mother of four children.

She has served in ministry for more than fifteen years, including women’s, youth, children’s, administration, worship, and pastoral. She and her husband Danrey have a heart
for bringing encouragement through faith, which has resulted in the launching of Today’s Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, along with other outreach programs.

Most recently Amoyo has added author to her title releasing two books The Promised Child and Crayons, Crumbs and Christian Growth.

Her first book is a written testimony of how determination, coming from a new revelation of faith, can change lives. It demonstrates that the promises we read about in the Bible are for us today, even if we don't yet know how they apply.

She talks about her struggles with pregnancy loss and how the Word became real when they put their faith first.

Her second book, Crayons, Crumbs and Christian Growth, goes on to talk about how she manages to parent four children while keeping God first and foremost.

Parenting children is a wonderful blessing that comes with great challenges. As you navigate the waters of parenthood, it can be easy to feel disconnected from life and your faith. You may think you are alone on this journey, and you may be frustrated trying to meet the demands all around you.

But these years can be the greatest of your life—years in which God shows you how real He is, how faith actually works, and how you can enjoy the blessings He’s given you. In Crayons, Crumbs, and Christian Growth, Christie shares about how the trials and treasures of parenting her own children has taught her so much about who God is.

Amoyo encourages parents to relate to the not so easy times of parenting and recognize God’s presence in the midst of life’s messes.

She says the book is not only aimed at parents of toddlers or young children, but for any family at any age.

Crayons, Crumbs and Christian Growth can be purchased at Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Word Alive Press, and wherever fine Christian books are sold. It can also be purchased online at  Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, and in Adobe PDF format for additional vendors.