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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flu Season!

Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Pineridge Health Unit Announced Flu Season is officially here. For those without a home to rest and recuperate,Flu season can be extremely dangerous. Anne Marie Batten, a street nurse in Toronto from nearby Downeyville counts her blessings in today’s Street News.

Street News : Cold and Flu Season!

by Anne Marie Batten
January may mean a new year to some but to health care workers it means something else. This is flu and cold season, and this year looks like no exception. Personally, I have been ill for the past 6 days with a sore throat, fever, cough and congestion. We all know how uncomfortable this is. As I rested in my house watching TV and drinking fluids, I realized how lucky I am to have a home and somewhere to rest while I get better. Where does a homeless person go to get rest when they are ill? How do they get over the counter medicine or juice or popsicles?

Little Rest for Homeless

Unfortunately, I know the answer. Most homeless shelters ask folks to leave after breakfast until late afternoon. There are some drop ins for shelter through the day where food is provided. Some of these locations have a space to lie down on the floor but most do not. When you are not feeling well, this is an even greater challenge.

How Colds Become Pneumonia

There are a few health services that provide over the counter medicines if the person is able to travel to receive this service. If it is an "extreme cold weather alert" day, certain drop ins have TTC tokens provided by the City of Toronto for transportation but on a regular winter day, there may not be any transportation assistance. For many who are homeless, a flu or cold will develop into pneumonia simply because adequate rest and nutrition are not possible in these circumstances.

Outreach Getting Services to People

When people can not get to services for help, it is so important to get appropriate services to them. This is the meaning of "outreach." This week, I will pack extra cough drops, throat lozenges, Kleenex and juice boxes as well. We will keep advocating for outreach nursing to be part of every community.

About Anne-Marie Batten:Anne Marie Batten,grew up in Downeyville-around here we know her as 'Joe O'Neil's daughter'. Have questions for Anne Marie?  Read about Anne Marie's work, or Connect with Anne Marie Batten on Twitter @AnneMarieBatten, LinkedIn  her blog Anne Marie Batten, or leave a comment below.We are pleased to feature Anne Marie's column Street News in Omemee Pigeon eFlyer.

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