Resources to support active, healthy living are just a click away

Every day we hear about the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and all of the great benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating and healthy lifestyle choices. From news reports to advertisements and conversations amongst friends and family, the evidence that healthy choices lead to more energy and happier lives is all around us. As a former professional athlete, I have always done my best to stay active and to make physical activity a part of my regular routine.

Being physically active and making healthy, nutritional choices are integral to maintaining health at all stages of life. Supporting people to make active, healthy choices is an important priority for Halton Region. Our website, halton.ca/healthylifestyle, connects you with a number of resources and services to help you build physical activity and healthy eating into your daily routine including:

In addition to these resources, we have many opportunities in Halton year-round to participate in fun, recreational activities that can help you make active living a part of your day. The fall is a great time to check out the many hiking trails located throughout Halton. Consider spending the day at a fall fair or touring Halton’s Pumpkins to Pastries Trail. Not only will you get to enjoy the sites and sounds of the harvest season, you also be building ‘active living’ into your day. Great resources and many opportunities to be healthy and active, contribute to making Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Protect yourself from West Nile virus

As the summer winds up, it’s easy to start thinking about back-to-school and the autumn season, but did you know that late summer and early autumn are also the times when West Nile virus (WNV) is often spread and when the symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases often start to appear? Working together, we can work to reduce WNV in our communities while making smart, healthy choices.

Since the virus is spread by mosquitoes, until the first hard frost in the fall, the most important step to preventing WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. Taking a few simple actions can make all the difference in protecting your family’s health:

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin;
  2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn;
  3. Cover up – wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs; and
  4. Remove areas of standing water from your home since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that doesn’t flow.

To help control the mosquito population and reduce the risk of WNV, the Halton Region Health Department treats areas of standing water, such as catch basins, with a larvicide. This larvicide prevents the mosquito larvae from maturing into adult mosquitoes. When walking around your neighbourhood, you may have noticed some dots of spray paint on catch basins – these indicate how many rounds of larvicide have been applied to each catch basin.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps throughout the region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes trapped are examined and sent for WNV testing. If the Health Department finds West Nile virus positive mosquitoes in the region, we inform the community to remind you how to help prevent the spread of the virus across Halton.

To learn more about how to protect yourself against WNV, visit halton.ca/wnv. Working together to prevent WNV, we can make safe and healthy choice and keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire all year long.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Getting ready for back to school by updating immunization records

As a parent, keeping your children safe and healthy is your number one priority. With the beginning of school less than a month away, it’s important to start planning now to ensure your children are up-to-date with their immunizations and that you’ve reported any updates to the Health Department. Immunization can ensure our children and community are protected from the threat of preventable diseases and Halton Region is doing its part to help families stay safe and healthy.

While the majority of families in Halton immunize their children to protect their health, many are unaware of the legal requirement to notify the Halton Region Health Department about any required immunizations or exemptions their children have, especially those the province requires for school attendance.

ImmunizationRecordsIn order to enforce the provincial Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA), the Health Department needs your help. Please take a moment this summer to ensure that your family’s immunizations are up-to-date and report any immunizations to the Region. If your child is unable to get immunized, you must have a notarized exemption on file with the Health Department in order to meet school attendance requirements.

Since immunization reporting is so important to not only the health of our children, but also needed to attend school, Halton has recently been making it easier for parents to report and request immunization records. You can now report immunizations either online, in person or by dialing 311. If you’re unsure what immunizations the Health Department has on file, we recently launched an online immunization records request form to give you a more convenient way to request a copy of the immunization records we have on file.

As we continue to enforce ISPA, the Halton Health Department periodically sends out letters to students in certain age groups who have outdated immunization records. In May, we sent out letters to families with students born in 1999 and 2000. If you received one of these letters, you can sign up for one of Halton’s special summer clinics to help your family catch up with mandatory immunizations.

Working together, we can protect ourselves, our children and our community from vaccine preventable diseases. Thank you for helping us keep Halton a great and healthy place to live, work, go to school, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Helping keep Halton healthy in 2016

ThinkstockPhotos-462255685At the beginning of each year, many of us make resolutions to lead healthier, more active lives. As part of Halton Region’s commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of residents, we can help you and your family make healthy choices and improve your quality of life.

Knowing the actions you take today can enhance your health tomorrow, choosing an active lifestyle can improve your health with every step. Whether you are at work or school, at home or travelling, there are always opportunities to remain active. Halton offers residents of all ages and stages a variety of physical activity resources to help you get active in 2016!

To make it easier for residents to make active choices, we’re also putting the infrastructure in place to help residents incorporate active transportation into their daily lives. Halton Region’s new Active Transportation Master Plan will support walkable communities and promote human-powered travel through an active transportation network of sidewalks, on-road bike lanes and off-road, multi-use trails. Once implemented in partnership with our Local Municipalities, the Active Transportation Master Plan will offer Halton residents many potential environmental, health and economic benefits including increased levels of physical activity, lower levels of obesity and other chronic diseases, as well as improved air quality.

At Halton Region, we know that there is more to your health than just staying active. We want to ensure all residents have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Our nutrition programs and services and food safety initiatives connect residents with healthy resources and supports for the entire family. The Where to Get Help in Halton guide also helps connect residents in need to community services such as food banks and emergency food programs.

The start of a new year is a good time to reduce alcohol consumption to support a healthy lifestyle.  Making a commitment to low-risk or moderate drinking can be an important first step towards better health. For resources and support to help you reduce alcohol consumption, visit halton.ca/alcohol.

Mental health is another key part of your overall health and we’re dedicated to ensuring residents receive the resources and services they need to support good mental health for the community. So whether you have a child in need, are stressed at work or looking for ways to improve a relationship, Halton is here to help.

For more information on how to stay healthy this year, please visit halton.ca/health. By working together to create a healthier Halton, we can keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Protecting Halton from West Nile virus

To help keep West Nile virus (WNV) out of our communities, Halton Region has begun its West Nile virus prevention program. Whether by monitoring and reducing the amount of mosquitoes in Halton or helping our residents make smart choices to prevent West Nile virus, together we can help keep Halton safe and healthy this summer.

Since West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes, Halton Region is diligent in monitoring and preventing mosquito larvae from hatching to help keep WNV out of Halton. As a result of the relatively dry spring, the Halton Region Health Department has found higher numbers of mosquito larvae in catch basins and other places with standing water. To help control the mosquito population and reduce the threat of West Nile virus, the Health Department has started treating areas of standing water with a larvicide to prevent the mosquito larva from maturing into hungry adult mosquitoes.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps throughout Halton Region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes are examined and sent for WNV testing.

While Halton works behind the scenes to reduce the chance of WNV in Halton, you can also help protect yourself and continue to enjoy the warm weather this summer.

The most important step to preventing West Nile virus it to prevent mosquito bites and a few simple actions can make all the difference.

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin.
  2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn.
  3. Cover up: wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  4. Remove areas of standing water from your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that does not flow.

If you notice any areas of standing water on public property that can’t be drained or removed, please report it to the Health Department and they can determine if larviciding is necessary.

Working together, we can enjoy a safe and healthy summer and keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Happy Holidays from Halton Region!

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a joyous Holiday Season!

On behalf of Regional Council and staff, I wish you a Merry Christmas, a happy New Year and a wonderful holiday season!

December is one of my favourite months. It’s the time of year to get together with family and friends, celebrate the season, give back to our community and be thankful for all we have.

If you are staying in town, there is so much to do around Halton. Take the opportunity to discover Halton and experience the things that make it such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Over the holidays, all essential services and Halton Region facilities will remain available, including water and wastewater services, waste collection, road operations, public health, paramedic services and social and community services. Some public facilities will be closed during the holidays. For more information about holiday hours at our public facilities, visit halton.ca/closures. If you require assistance with a Regional service during the holidays dial 311, visit halton.ca, or submit a service request at halton.ca/311.

May this season bring peace, prosperity and joy to you and your loved ones. From my family to yours, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.

West Nile virus: Prevention is the key

Summer is finally here! As we enjoy the warm weather at one of Halton’s beaches, at the Bruce Trail, on vacation or in our backyards across Halton – it is important to take action to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and West Nile virus (WNV).

To help control the mosquito population and reduce the threat of West Nile virus, Halton Region treats areas of standing water with a larvacide to prevent the mosquito larva from maturing into hungry adult mosquitoes.

This is an important step in protecting Halton residents; however the most important steps we can take to prevent mosquito bites are simple and up to us.

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET.
  2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn.
  3. Cover up: wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  4. Remove areas of standing water from your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that does not flow.

Did you know that the type of mosquito that carries WNV is found much more frequently in urban areas than rural or forested areas?  

If you notice any areas of standing water on public property that can’t be drained or removed, please report it to the Health Department and an assessment can be conducted to determine if larvaciding is necessary.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps throughout Halton Region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes are examined and sent for WNV testing.

Visit our West Nile Virus surveillance webpage to see the locations of larvaciding as well as other tracking data.

For more information on WNV or to report standing water, dial 311 or call Halton Region at 1-866-442-5866, or email accesshalton@halton.ca.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.