10 Health Hacks For Canada’s 149th Birthday & Canada Day Holiday Hours

Over here at iamsick.ca, we’re all about boosting and improving the health of our fellow Canadians.

For the Canada Day long weekend, we’ve collected holiday hours for healthcare services, so you can easily use the iamsick.ca website or iPhone, Android or BB10 app to see whether a pharmacy or clinic is open.

And, to celebrate Canada Day, we’ve created a list of 10 cool health hacks that celebrate and advance our daily marriage with our own health.  Here they are!

1 – Nappuccinos
What is this sorcery? Nap…puccinos? The last time I had coffee before taking a nap, I lay awake on my bed jittering uncontrollably for 40 minutes. But as with all techniques, effective execution is necessary for its success.

Time for a super quick (simplified) science lesson:Your body consumes molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to release energy, and produces adenosine molecules as a result. In the brain, adenosine can act as a central nervous system depressant, which makes us sleepy. The longer we stay awake, the more adenosine accumulates; when we sleep, the body replenishes ATP from the produced adenosine (a.k.a. rest). Caffeine keeps us awake because it essentially acts by blocking the effects of adenosine.In concept, napping and caffeine both do the same thing – they make us more awake by reducing the effects of adenosine. So it’s really no surprise that the two paired together are an effective strategy to potentiate naps. You see, caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in – so if you consume a cup of coffee and immediately take a quick power nap, you wake up with a wonderfully compounded wakefulness!

2 – Train your brain! (with music)
Music is such an intrinsic and natural component of life. Everywhere from the rustle of the leaves to the whispers of the wind, melodies arise and caress our ears. But we usually don’t pay much attention to what this could actually be doing for us. Music is actually shown to exert many benefits on our health that are worth learning about:
– Music, as a distraction element, can effectively reduce the perception of pain, and improve performance during physical activity.
– Music has a huge impact on mental health, being shown to help combat depression, relieve stress, and just to elevate moods in general.
– Music (especially when playing music) is shown to boost neuroplasticity and cognitive performance.
So why not try exploring some new genres or types of music this Canada Day? Taking care of mental health is equally if not more important than physical health, and music is a very easy way to do it.

3 – Download our app!
Sometimes health might escape us. But that’s okay. The most important thing to do when we fall is to get up. And we can help you with that. Remember to download iamsick.ca app on Android, iOS, or Blackberry (or just use the web app). Our app is tiny in size and big in impact, so you won’t need to worry about it taking up your precious smartphone storage space while also having it ready to help you when you least expect it.  You can do all sorts of things with our app.. like check where the nearest walk-in clinic is, book your doctor’s appointment online, find doctors accepting new patients (including clinics with doctors that let you book appointments online), look for diagnostic labs, and even see real-time wait times for walk-ins that use our virtual waiting room service! What’s even better is that for the upcoming Canada Day long weekend, we’ll display updated holiday hours.. so you can access healthcare when & where you need it. Even if you just need to pick up some sunscreen at a local pharmacy, we’ll help you protect your skin! Our service is especially useful to keep those on great Canadian road trips healthy.. if you’re visiting a new place, you can rely on use to ensure that your nearest healthcare options are just a couple of taps away if anything (hopefully not) happens.

4 – Ditch the whiskers
Allergy season got you down under the weather? Rocking a sick moustache? Well… it’s time to make a decision. It turns out that moustache hair is very good at trapping pollen and other airborne allergens (like pollen grains) that trigger seasonal allergies. A very easy and quick fix to this without having to take those drowsiness-inducing antihistamines would be to…ditch the whiskers and shave that ‘stache. Alternatively, as hygiene is ALWAYS important, making sure to clean your facial hair regularly throughout the day could achieve a similar effect.

5 – Offer to dog sit
Ever heard of dog therapy? It turns out that having dogs as company has great therapeutic effects. Playing with a dog can increase levels of the stress-suppressing hormone oxytocin, while simultaneously lowering your body’s production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Other benefits include lowering blood pressure, increasing
post-heart-attack lifespans, and a general increased happiness. So… if your neighbours are planning a road trip for the Canada Day weekend but can’t take their dog with them… why not be a  benevolent member of the community and pick up on some dog-sitting with a side of mental therapy?

6 – Hypothermia
Okay, this one’s even weirder than the nappuccino tip. Hypothermia? And the summer? Compromised heat regulation…in the heat of the summer? It just doesn’t make sense… Well, as it turns out, the CDC has found that there’s been an alarming number of deaths occurring due to hypothermia… in June.Why? Well, the answer is simple, really. People are unprepared. In the winter, everybody likes to bundle up with layers upon layers upon layers. But in the summer, it’s very common for people to go for a dip in the lake at the cottage (even at night), and just walk around in swim-clothes, unaware that their body heat may be declining rapidly. The tip here, is to stay prepared. Towels and light extra layers are key, especially if you’re planning on getting wet!

7 – Apply cold (tea) to area of burnThis tip is super useful for the summer. If you find yourself sunburned in the hot summer sun (you should be putting on sunscreen to prevent this in the first place), or brushed against some poison ivy, or bitten by mosquitoes, you can use TEA as a remedy! The many natural organic compounds in tea have many powerful therapeutic effects. Black tea applied to sunburns can speed recovery. Anti-inflammatory agents in chamomile tea can reduce irritation from poison ivy and bug bites. Biting into tea bags can also be used to relieve cold sores! Check out this article on Greatist.com for more information about the amazing benefits of tea: http://greatist.com/health/treat-sunburns-tea-and-other-tips

8 – Sniff some fruits and flowers
Having a bad day? Headache’s got you down? Can’t sleep? Mother nature’s full of solutions – and they’re easier to access than you think. Studies have found that odorous molecules released by oranges can relieve anxiety and boost mood, the scent of green apples can reduce the magnitude of pain perception in some individuals, and the scent of lavender oil has soothing effects that can facilitate the sleeping process. I guess whoever said that you need to take time to “step back and smell the roses” was on to something… 

9 – Exercise with your immune system!
People are always nagging you to do exercise because “it’s good for you”, but often don’t really offer much more information beyond that. So how do you actually know it’s good? Well… it goes deeper than “it boosts your metabolism” or “it makes you feel good”. It turns out that when you regularly do exercise, you are concurrently training your immune system (that part of your body that defends against illnesses and infections) to be stronger. Ever heard of a white blood cell? Well, there are several types of these, and two of them are directly impacted by your levels of exercise.Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells) are the virus and cancer-killing white blood cells. Your body is constantly producing “busted” cells that have the chance of developing into cancers… but the reason why everyone doesn’t have cancer is that their NK cells are there to destroy the bad cells before they can do damage. Macrophages (a.k.a. “big-eaters”), are another member of your body’s general immune defense, and literally eat up illness-inducing pathogens that may enter your system. Doing exercise has been found to boost the number of NK cells AND making them more powerful, while also making macrophages more responsive to your body’s chemical signals, and more capable of destroying unwanted invaders. Exercise, then, not only makes you stronger, but makes you more resistant to disease and keeps you healthier for longer!So…yeah. Next time someone tells you that “exercise is good for you”, make sure THEY know why too.

10 – Tune your mind to your body
Have you ever just looked at your hands and marvelled at how, with barely a thought, you can make your fingers move exactly how you want? Have you ever sat down and just wondered how all the multiple molecular intricacies in your body dance together to create the fully functioning organism that is you? So many of us simply take our bodies for granted, without realizing how amazing this complex vessel we are born with and grow with for our entire lives really is. Cited in multiple realms with different names, such as “mind-muscle connection” in weightlifting, “zen” in Buddhism, or “mindfulness” in colloquial terms, establishing a connection between your mind and your body is a topic of increasing importance. This mindfulness allows for the defusing of stress, a momentary reset, and just feeling more in tune with yourself as a person. Check out these 5 bonus health tips to get started on your journey to become more mindful in your everyday environment: http://www.mindful.org/5-tips-for-practicing-mindfulness-at-the-office/

Happy Canada Day everybody!!!  We hope these health hacks are useful to help you live happier every day.

Love,

The iamsick.ca Team

Sources

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16453980

http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/news-story/0937a947dbc07abd0ca0e643adf44e85

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health-advice/nine-weird-health-tips-that-work/news-story/0937a947dbc07abd0ca0e643adf44e85

http://animalsmart.org/species/dogs/dogs-help-reduce-stress

http://www.theactivetimes.com/summer-hypothermia-4-tips-preventing-unexpected

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16095639

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/green-apple-scent.aspx

http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9129266

http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v78/n5/full/icb200075a.html

http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm

#HCSMCA Crowdfunding in Healthcare

Crowdfunding healthcare innovation

On June 11, iamsick.ca co-founder Ryan Doherty (@ryansdoherty / @iamsick_ca) will host a #hcsmca chat to discuss how crowdfunding can play a role in healthcare innovation.

What is #hcsmca?

  • #hcsmca is a community passionate about healthcare social innovations
  • hcsmca holds weekly tweet chats on Wednesdays at 1PM ET
  • anyone and everyone can join in the chat

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A tweet chat about crowdfunding healthcare innovation? 

  • iamsick.ca aims to create awareness of the value that crowdfunding brings to healthcare innovation, hackathon teams, and healthcare startups

 

iamsick.ca’s crowdfunding campaign ( from our May 7th blog post on crowdfunding )

We normally think of crowdfunding to support a large scope of activities such as disaster relief, startup fundraising, film/music production, prototype development, or app development.  For iamsick.ca, our crowdfunding campaign is an opportunity to raise funds to cover the cost of expanding our free Ontario-wide healthcare wayfinding app to every corner of Canada.  However, it isn’t just about raising funds, we are also giving Canadians a voice.  Everyone who supports our campaign will receive a vote to decide “where next?” We are hoping to bring together Canadians passionate about improving healthcare to create a movement that will lead to more accessible and efficient healthcare for everyone.

iamsick.ca crowdfunding


Crowdfunding = Community Engagement 

  • crowdfunding is more than just a fundraising tool
  • crowdfunding allows healthcare innovators to engage the public (patients, physicians, organizations)
  • through our vote initiative, we give Canadians an opportunity to be involved in iamsick.ca’s growth (a vote to decide which province next)
  • crowdfunding can create an opportunity to give supporters a behind-the-scenes peek at healthcare app development
  • crowdfunding can create conversations and shine a spotlight on opportunities that organizations & policy makers may otherwise not notice

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For the #hcsmca chat on June 11, 2014 at 1pm EST, we will discuss the following topics that explore crowdfunding to innovate healthcare:

T1: What is crowdfunding, and how is it different from traditional fundraising?

T2: Does crowdfunding help advance healthcare IT and innovation?  If so, how?

T3: What role does the social web and / or network engagement play in crowdfunding?

 

 

iamsick.ca, Ontario & Open Data

What is Ontario’s Open Data?

We hear a lot about open data and its potential, but what is it?  Also, does Ontario have an open data strategy?  Why is that important, and how can Canadians benefit from such an initiative?

Recently, the Open Government Engagement Team consulted Ontarians, legislators, journalists, government staff and public servants about how to improve government engagement with the public.  As reported, there was an overwhelming positive response to open up government data so that it is more accessible to the public.  The concept of Open Data has been around for a while, and it is the process of making government collected data freely accessible by the general public.  Some members of the public analyze the data, creating charts, infographics to identify stories & trends.  Others leverage the data to create tools.  Sometimes those tools (ie. iamsick.ca) help improve the delivery of public services.OpenData-1 Ontario’s Open Data Goals

  • Complete: All data is published automatically, unless there are valid privacy, security or legal reasons not to do so.
  • Primary: Data is published with the most detail possible (i.e. not aggregated).
  • Timely: Data is published as quickly as possible after it is collected.
  • Accessible: Data is made available to the widest range of users for as many purposes as possible.
  • Non-discriminatory: Data is available to anyone and does not require registration for access.
  • Non-proprietary: Data is free and is available in formats that no one has exclusive control over.
  • Licence-free: Data is released under a licence that does not restrict its use (i.e. no copyrights or patents).

OpenData-2 Why is Open Data Important?

Open Data has the potential to change the way government works internally by promoting more transparent decision making and efficient use of public resources. The Open Engagement Team has recently consulted with the iamsick.ca team about making healthcare providers information more accessible to Ontarians. By disclosing healthcare provider information to the public, it would help social enterprises such as iamsick.ca create tools that will allow the government to improve and efficiently deliver healthcare services that cater to the needs of a diverse spectrum of Ontario residents. Tools that leverage open data can improve all sectors and levels of government, and Open Data has a huge potential for improving the lives of Ontarians. The best thing about Open Data is the creativity of the concepts, tools and analysis created with the data. Whether it’s a high school, student, journalist, scientist or entrepreneur, people will look at the data from different perspectives that may lead to great ideas or insight.  The way we see it is clear to us: making healthcare provider information public through open data initiatives will help bridge some of the gaps in the current healthcare system: awareness, access and appropriateness of care.

Ryan-presenting-to-OntarioMinistries2 iamsick.ca President & co-Founder, Ryan Doherty, explaining how Open Data could be leveraged to improve healthcare across Canada during an Open Data Day event for Ontario public servants.

OpenDataEngagementTeam-Nov23-2013a

iamsick.ca team meeting Ontario’s Open Engagement Team. 

Crowdfunding & Open Data

One of the main purposes of the open data initiative is to give the public a voice and increase knowledge of the decision making process within the government. The Ontario government aims to open data so the public can leverage the information and accomplish good. And, this is exactly what iamsick.ca does: we leverage government information to improve public service delivery.  Crowdfunding is a useful tool that can augment open data initiatives. It is a way to raise money, allowing free services like iamsick.ca to improve and expand. Our crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo takes it one step further, by giving the public a voice; anyone who pledges $1 or more will get a vote to decide which province we will expand our service to next.  Our campaign also includes perks, like Get Well cards and Canadiana cards from local artists and photographers, which help bring the community together to support our social enterprise.

Open Data & Social Good

Social enterprises like iamsick.ca can use open data to improve public services, build an engaged community of users, and bring public concerns to government awareness.

Be the change you want to see in Canadian healthcare, visit our indiegogo crowdfunding page and see how you can make a difference!

 

Happy Birthday 23rd Birthday WorldWideWeb – The best is yet to come!

birthday-cake-happy

Today, the World Wide Web turns 23 years old. The first web server was setup at CERN on May 17th 1991, and look what it has grown to become.

Millions of people around the world use the Internet on a daily basis. Many jobs and fields have come into existence only because of the public-facing World Wide Web.

This is the perfect example of how a concept can grow and change the way Humans live and interact.

More importantly, the World Wide Web has grown into something that is becoming a more important part of healthcare delivery. With patients seeking advice from “Dr Google”, or searching for others who share similar symptoms/illnesses. And, even making it easier for Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, and other healthcare providers to stay on top of the growing body of healthcare knowledge. The World Wide Web has also grown into a tool to help people remain aware on services available to them, to maintain an ongoing connection with healthcare providers/organizations, and ultimately making accessing healthcare easier.

I see the World Wide Web and related Internet/mobile technologies improving healthcare access & delivery beyond our wildest dreams. If it can leveraged in the right way, it can also hopefully improve efficient & appropriate access to healthcare, which could ultimately lower the overall cost of providing equitable healthcare for all.

Please support our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign!

Take a look at our perks, be a “Hometown Hero”, pitch in, and help spread the word. We can’t do this alone!

Join our ongoing discussion:
What province would you like to see us in next?
What language should we translate our app to first?

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/iamsick-ca-helping-canadians-access-healthcare/x/2655534#comments

 

– Ryan Doherty & the iamsick.ca team