November is CPR Month 2012

CPR Month 2012

There is more to managing a cardiac arrest than “pushing the button” on an AED. If you witnessed a family member in cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Nearly 20,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital every single year in Canada. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of those individuals survive. One of the leading causes is that 75 percent of those people do not receive immediate CPR, mainly due to a fear of “doing it wrong.” The truth is, you can’t hurt someone who is in cardiac arrest, they are already dead. [youtube=] The majority of Canadians say they would recognize the signs if someone were experiencing a cardiac emergency, but fewer than half say they have the skills to help. Now is the time to make a difference. November is CPR Month the team here at Iridia urges everyone to either become certified or re-certify (see why you should re-certify now). Widespread training will lead to effective bystander CPR, which, used in conjunction with an AED and administered immediately following cardiac arrest, can double a person’s chance of survival. CPR Month 2012 At Iridia, we offer two training options, Initial Training and a Re-certification. Our four hour Initial Training workshop provides certification in AED use as well as CPR Level ‘C’(adult, child and infant; one and two-rescuer). This training session is taught on site with substantial time spent on practical drills utilizing the in-house Medical Emergency Response Plan. Pre and post cardiac arrest procedures are also included. Our shorter AED Provider re-training program is two hours in length and reviews lessons from the initial training program. We can also work with an organization to develop an “In-House Program” where one or more of your own employees receives training to become an AED instructor.   Learn more about our medical education course offerings.

Mindflex – Meetings on the Fly


For the past month or so, the team here at Iridia have taken the idea of a “traditional meeting” and thrown it out the window.

No longer are we bound by the confines of our chairs, we are a mobile idea machine.

Here enters Mindflex – a weekly walking meeting where we come together to discuss current topics within our organization while enjoying the west coast air (likely huddling under our umbrellas, but we do luck out with sunshine sometimes!)

Walking Meeting

One of those lucky sunny days

All you need to bring is yourself, walking shoes, creative insight and an analytic mind.

Each week, the Mindflex meeting has a brainstorming topic. For the innagural Mindflex walk, the topic was… wait for it… “How can we make Mindflex work?” 

It was as good of place to start as any and offered everyone a voice in its development. All participants were able to chime in and offer their ideas as to what makes an ideal Mindflex walk. 

Here is a summary of the ideas from our first walk: 

  • Keep it scenic—creativity can come with good distractions
  • Coffee pit stops—leisure walks are always good with a beverage in hand
  • Continuity—If innovation = creativity + action, let’s work with an idea over some time
  • The sounding board stop—a quick stop mid-way to summarize the discussion
  • How we can create demand—Let’s use the anonymous platforms to engage and connect ideas to the staff
  • Communication —If anyone asks what it is, you can reply “It’s a moving, living sounding board.”
Walking route

Always a good idea to map out your route beforehand

From this first experience, we were able to create a framework that subsequent Mindflex walks could follow. So far, Mindflex has allowed another line of communication to open up as well as the opportunity to connect with additional team members on a regular basis.

We have told you what Mindflex is about, but why do we do it? I could tell you myself, but head on over to the following blogs, they do an excellent job of explaining the benefits of walking meetings:

Communicable Diseases – West Nile

At Iridia Medical, many of our paramedics work in oil and gas camps in Northern British Columbia, as such, we encourage them to be prepared for whatever they may come across in these remote regions.

Throughout the year, we profile various diseases and afflictions to help further their understanding in the hopes they will be prepared should they come into contact with one of these diseases.

This week we are profiling a known transmissible disease that an individual may encounter in their career as a paramedic, nurse or other health care provider. It is our hope that this profile will allow you to quickly diagnose common or rare diseases should you come across them.

West Nile

The West Nile virus is a disease mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds which carry the virus. It can infect birds, humans, and other animals (including horses, dogs and cats).

The virus is found in both tropical and temperate regions alike and since 2002 the virus has claimed 42 lives in Canada.

west nile cases canadaWest Nile is considered to be the most widely distributed vector-borne disease in North America, and has been detected in B.C.

In most cases, those who have been infected by the virus have no symptoms, or mild flu-like symptoms. For every five people infected with West Nile, one has mild illness usually lasting three to six days. Meningitis or encephalitis develops in about 1 in 50 people who are infected with West Nile, more commonly in those over age 50.

Occasionally the virus can cause serious illness and even death – in up to 4.5 percent of cases.

Research suggests health care providers should be on the lookout for severe muscle weakness as it is a common symptom. Other symptoms can include:

  • Sudden sensitivity to light or an inability to perform routine tasks
  • Extreme swelling or infection at the site of a mosquito bite
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Fever and severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion

Protect Yourself Against Mosquitoes

West Nile

  • Wearing light-coloured, loose fitting clothes with long sleeves and pants when possible
  • Applying DEET-based mosquito repellent
  • Using mosquito nets when mosquito populations are high
  • Emptying any source of standing water (a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes) every two days
  • Removing old tires and cover rain barrels with netting as these can also attract mosquitos
  • Filling in depressions in the ground and check flat roofs for standing water
  • Checking for mosquito larvae in lagoons, dugouts, and standing water on rural properties
  • Avoiding scented lotions or perfumes (mosquitoes are attracted to sweet smells)

Continuing Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

Looking for ways to embrace a healthy workplace? Look no further because it’s Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

healthy workplace month

We’ve chosen a number of activities and are encouraging our staff to do at least one activity a week to make positive changes at the workplace and in their personal lives. Earlier this month, we outlined what you can do to stay healthy in weeks 1 and 2. Please see our original post here.

Healthy Workplace Month Tips

The first two weeks are now behind us and we are ready for more. We would like to reveal  our favourite activities for Week 3 and 4.

Healthy Workplace Month

Week 3: Workplace Resiliency 

  • Take Back the Lunch Break: Encourage people to eat a healthy meal away from their desks. Explain the benefits of getting away from your work, eating with friends or going for a quick walk. Often taking a break will make you more creative and productive.
  • List your Work Stressors and How to Accommodate for Each of Them: Knowing your stressors and how to manage them helps you cope and to be prepared for future challenges. You will already know what to do, and that takes away a good bit of the stress.
  • Start a Checklist of Good Work: How much water do you drink? How often do you stretch? How often do you break and change your focus? How frequently do you take a proper lunch break? Check your list for a week and make gradual changes if required.
  • Meet a Friend for Lunch: Spend time catching up. Even better, organize a reunion of several friends. Determine a time for the next get-together before everyone leaves.
  • Caffeine-Free Week: Go caffeine-free during meetings for one week. Ask people to bring water or healthy juices instead of caffeinated beverages.

Week 4: Workplace Safety 

  • Improve Sleep Habits: Seek a program or information that covers the importance of getting sufficient sleep at night and how to improve sleep habits.
  • Make Ergonomic Adjustments: Check that your chair is adjusted properly for you. Are the components of your computer at the proper height and location? Where’s the ideal place for the telephone? Are there piles of paper or equipment that might create an awkward position or make you reach further than necessary?
  • CPR/First Aid Course: Help employees who want to learn CPR and first aid by offering a course onsite at your workplace. Been doing this on an annual basis for many years – our next session is scheduled for the end of October! If you are looking to conduct a course for your workplace, give us a call.
  • Schedule Pandemic Planning: Plan for the worst and be prepared! Create a team that investigates the needs of your organization in case of a pandemic.  Been there, done that. Contact us if you need help!

If these tips helped you achieve a healthier state at your workplace, keep it up!

Thanks to Great-West Life for organizing this month and all of the ideas for healthy living. If you’d like more information about Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, visit:

Celebrate Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month!

This month at Iridia, we want to make a real, healthy difference. We are aligning ourselves with the goals of Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month by improving and building upon healthy lifestyle practices, workplace culture, occupational health and safety here in the office.

Healthy Workplace Month!

As a healthy lifestyle is a core focus of Canada’s Healthy Workplace month we wanted to help spread awareness for a local event called Jog4Joy; a 5K walk/run to raise awareness for mental and emotional wellness.

healthy workplace month

Click for larger view.

The Cause

“Jog4Joy is a JOYFUL and EMPOWERING COMMUNITY EVENT raising awareness for mental and emotional wellness. Mental illness/mental health has a large umbrella that includes but not exclusive to: depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, abuse, grief, poverty, postpartum, bullying and suicide.
It also reaches people suffering with other illnesses such as cancer, arthritis or chronic pain. This affects our community in a BIG way. It knows NO BOUNDARIES affecting people of all race, culture, age, gender and financial circumstances.”

For more information or to register, please visit:

If you’d like more information about Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, visit:

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention

At this time there is no definite way to gauge the likelihood of suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), so reducing the risk is your best strategy. Steps to take include regular checkups, screening for heart disease, and living a heart-healthy lifestyle with the following approaches:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Only use alcohol in moderation
  • Eat a nutritious, balanced diet
  • Stay physically active

Dietary Prevention

A growing body of research supports the role of lifestyle measures in protecting against this sudden, silent killer. Given the serious outcome of this disease, scientists are now looking to diet as one of the most promising primary prevention strategy.

The most important line of defense is adopting heart-healthy lifestyles that can guard against heart disease in the first place.

The urgency of preventive approaches takes on even more meaning when you consider that most victims of SCA weren’t identified as being at risk in the first place.

The results of a study published in a 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that 81 percent of cases of SCA were due to unhealthy lifestyles.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that a Mediterranean-style diet, when combined with other healthful habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and exercising, provided a 92 percent reduced risk of SCA.

The researchers evaluated data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which included information from more than 81,000 women over 26 years.

healthy food

Key findings:

  • Women who ate a diet closest to the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, omega-3 fats, and fish; moderate in alcohol; and light in red meat, had a 40 percent lower risk than women whose diets least resembled the Mediterranean diet
  • Normal-weight women had a 56 percent reduced risk compared with obese women
  • The more the women exercised, the smaller their risk; at least 30 minutes of exercise per day lowered the risk by 28 percent
  • Smoking was the biggest factor: Women who had never smoked had a 75 percent decreased risk than women who smoked at least 25 cigarettes per day

The American Heart Association stresses the following approaches for the general population to achieve ideal cardiovascular health:

  • Fruits and vegetables: at least 4.5 cups per day
  • Fish (preferably oily fish): at least two 3.5-oz servings per week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: at least three 1-oz-equivalent servings per day
  • Sodium: less than 1,500 mg per day
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: no more than 450 kcal (36oz) per week
  • Nuts, legumes, and seeds: at least four servings per week
  • Processed meats: no more than two servings per week
  • Saturated fat: less than 7 percent of total energy intake.

We hope we have shed some light on the risks and prevention of SCA. At Iridia, our goal is to fight SCA and the damage it does to our society. Now get out there and start your heart-healthy lifestyle!

October is…Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

While some people (okay, the majority of people) are already planning Halloween events, here at Iridia we are planning to celebrate Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month throughout the month of October.

These days it’s as though there is a theme day or month for everything – National Puppy Day (Mar 23), National Hot Dog Month (July), Bubble wrap Appreciation Day (Jan 31) and so on. There are fun months and there are also important ones like Healthy Workplace Month that promote awareness and taking action.

healthy workplace month

Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month

This month at Iridia, we are aligning ourselves with the goals of Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month by improving and building upon healthy lifestyle practices, workplace culture, occupational health and safety here in the office.

While we’ve already taken a number of steps to encourage healthy living such as providing fresh fruit to snack on, enacting a Fitness program and taking weekly brainstorming walks, there is always room to try new things.

As a company providing many services in the realm of healthcare, this is a great opportunity to ensure staff are living healthy and rewarding lifestyles at work and home.

Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month website provides a number of excellent resources to get started on healthy living at work. Each week of October has its own theme and focuses on a different aspect of workplace health.

 Accompanying each week are suggested activities to help you channel your inner healthy-working self.

workplace health

We’ve chosen a number of these activities and are encouraging our staff to do at least one activity a week to make positive changes at the workplace and in their personal lives. For starters, we are  revealing our activities for Weeks 1 and 2 so keep posted for our favourite activities for Week 3 and 4!

Week 1: Mental Health 

  • Compliment a Colleague: Co-workers feel great when they’re recognized for a job well done. And you’ll feel great about making them feel good
  • Play a game with co-workers: Play a game during your lunch break to exercise your mind
  • No-screen Night: Turn off the television, video games, computers, smartphones and iPods. Read a book or go for a walk with a family member, friend or neighbour.
  • Prioritize Your Resources: Priorities are always changing. Sometimes you may need to put personal and family needs first. At other times, work may take a front seat.
  • Assess Your Accomplishment: Ask yourself, “What felt meaningful today?” Feeling pride in accomplishments can make you feel happier.

Week 2: Workplace Culture 

  • 5-Minute Desk Clean Up: Take five minutes to clean up the clutter around your workstation 
  • Massage Days: Run a program that offers relaxing in-chair massages. (Already have a massage therapist come in bi-weekly!)
  • Workplace Walks: Walking and talking is a healthy pleasure on many levels and can be done all year long. (Just implemented a weekly walking and brainstorming group!)
  • Desk Stretches for a Week: Practise workstation stretching each day. Focus on performing them regularly and completely so you have more energy at the end of the day.
  • Lend Your Skills: Donate your skills to a charitable project that demonstrates community care and good corporate citizenship.

Thanks to Great-West Life for organizing this month and all of the ideas for healthy living. If you’d like more information about Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, visit: