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Emergency Contraception

1) What is the Morning-After-Pill?  

The Morning After Pill is also called the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP).  ECP is not an "abortion pill".  ECP can only prevent a pregnancy from happening up to 5 days after unprotected sex.  If you are already pregnant ECP will NOT work.  ECP will not cause an abortion or miscarriage.  According to scientific information currently available, taking ECP during pregnancy will not result in an abnormal pregnancy.

 

2) Do you have to take the pill the actual " morning after " unprotected sex?

No, you can take the ECP up to 120 hours after unprotected sex.  However, the sooner you can take it, the better it works.  The effectiveness depends on when you take ECP after unprotected sex, where you are in your menstrual cycle and what type of ECP you take.  However, if you follow proper instructions, it will be on average 95% effective within 24 hours, 85% effective within 25 and 48 hours and 58% effective between 49 and 72 hours.

 

3) Can the ECP only be used by those patients who are able to use the birth control pill as a regular method of contraception?

No, anyone is able to use the ECP, whether you are on another form of birth control or not.  Almost all women can safely use ECP; in fact emergency contraception has been used worldwide for decades.

 

4) Are there any side effects to taking the ECP?

There are no long-term or serious side effects from using the ECP.  Some women experience nausea and vomiting when taking an older form of ECP combining several days of birth control pills.  You may also experience fatigue, headache, dizziness and breast tenderness and bleeding/spotting.

 

5) Can ECP be used instead of a regular form of birth control?

ECP is not as effective as other contraceptive methods and should therefore be used only as a back-up method of birth control.  While frequent use of ECP is not recommended, repeated use over time poses no known health risks.  Taking ECP will not have any effect on your future ability to get pregnant.

Repeated use of ECP suggests that you need to find a reliable and ongoing method of contraception that you can use correctly and consistently.

 

6) Do you need a prescription from a physician to get the ECP?

No.  The emergency contraceptive pill can be obtained from your local pharmacist.  Also, you have a right to emergency contraception no matter how old you are and you do not need parental consent to get emergency contraception.

 

7) How much will the ECP cost?

The cost of ECP differs across Canada from around $20 to $50, depending on where you live and where you choose to get ECP.  ECP may be more expensive if purchased directly from a pharmacist and may be available at a lower cost from your doctor or local sexual health centre.  Most insurance covers the ECP.  Talk to your insurance provider to find out.

 

8) Does the ECP protect me from Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS?

No, the ECP can only be used to prevent pregnancies in situation resulting from unplanned, unwanted or unprotected intercourse and NOT as protection against sexually transmitted diseases.  Using a condom or other barrier method will help to protect against these.

 

9) How does the ECP work?

ECP can have three possible effects that are dependent on where you are in your menstrual cycle and when you take ECP within the 5 days:

  • If your ovaries have not released your monthly egg (ovulation), ECP will delay ovulation.  If no egg is released there is no chance of the egg and sperm meeting and therefore no chance of pregnancy.

  • ECP may prevent fertilization (when the egg and sperm come together)

  • ECP may also prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in your uterus by altering the lining of the uterus (endometrium), thereby preventing a pregnancy from happening.

 

10) Links:

Public Health Agency of Canada 

 

Flu

1) What is the flu?

The flu is caused by influenza viruses that affect people in the Northern Hemisphere from October to April and in Southern Hemisphere from May to September.  People usually recover within a couple weeks without treatment.  Deaths can occur with the elderly, young, or people with serious medical conditions.  Annual vaccinations are available.  

 

2) What are the symptoms of the flu?

Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, sore throat, headache, runny and/or stuffy nose, cough, and muscle aches.  Some people will also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain as part of their illness.

 

3) How do I prevent myself from getting the flu?

You can protect yourself from the flu by getting a yearly flu shot.  It is available for free at the Ryerson Medical Centre, at your family doctor’s office, Toronto Public Health Flu Clinics and at your local pharmacy

 

4) What should I do if I get the flu?

 

  1. For many people, the flu will resolve on its own with rest and fluids.  Taking over the counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may alleviate some symptoms such as fever and pain.

  2. People who have severe or persistent symptoms (eg. persistent fever, difficulty breathing, dehydration) should see a doctor.  People who have underlying medical conditions (eg. heart or lung disease) may present with more severe symptoms and may benefit from closer follow up with their physician.  Physicians may prescribe antiviral medication for elderly patients, patients with severe illness or complex medical problems.

 

5) How do I prevent the spread of the flu to others?

 

  1. Stay home!  If you get sick, stay away from school or work to decrease the spread of the flu.  

  2. Cough etiquette. When coughing or sneezing, use your sleeve or a tissue.  This will decrease the spread of the flu virus into the air or onto other shared surfaces.

  3. Wash your hands frequently.  Proper hand-washing technique is as follows:

• Wet hands

• Apply soap

• Lather for 15 seconds.  Rub between fingers, back of hands, fingertips, and under nails.

• Rinse well under running water

• Dry hands well with paper towel or hot air blower

• Turn taps off with paper towel if available

• Practice social distancing in the workplace.  

• Cancel or postpone face-to-face meetings if possible.  Use telephone and electronic communications more often.

• Try to arrange employee workstations 1-3 meters apart

• Work from home

• Try to stay about 3 feet from your colleague if you are coughing or sneezing

 

6) Links on the flu:

 

Toronto Public Health

Ministry of Health and Long Term Care of Ontario

Public Health Agency of Canada

 

Immunizations

The following vaccinations are provided free of charge at the Medical Centre under OHIP:

 

  • Tetanus

  • Diphtheria

  • Polio

  • Measles

  • Mumps

  • Rubella

  • Flu Vaccine

     

Other vaccinations such as Hepatitis B, Varicella (chicken pox), and the meningitis vaccine are optional and can be obtained by prescription from your pharmacy.  Often the cost of the vaccine will be covered by your extended health care plan.  Check with your insurance company to determine if you are eligible for coverage.

Medical certificates

Often students will be asked by their instructors to obtain a medical certificate for missed classes, tests, assignments etc.  In most cases these forms can only be completed by one of the physicians at the Ryerson Medical Centre. An appointment must be made to have this form completed. Please specify that you require a medical certificate when you are scheduling your appointment. The medical certificate can also be completed by your family doctor or a physician at a walk-in-clinic.

Medical certificates are not covered by OHIP or UHIP.  A service charge will apply (see Service with Fees [PDF]).

 

Download the printable version of the Medical Certificate [PDF]

 

Medical records

1) Who can access my chart or medical file?

Your medical file is kept separate from all other University and academic files. Information about you cannot be released to anyone without your written consent, except when required by law.

 

2) How long do you keep my medical file?

We are required by law to keep each medical file for ten years. If you have graduated or are no longer a current patient, your file will be transferred to our archives. Our files are stored in a secure facility located within the Ryerson campus.

 

3) I am planning to go to another doctor, how do I get my chart transferred?

If you wish to have your file transferred to another clinic or physician, written authorization is required. You will need to sign a "Medical Release of Information Form" which grants us permission to release your medical file (or any part thereof) to another practitioner. This release of information form can be mailed or faxed to us or alternatively you can drop by the Medical Centre to complete a form. Please be advised that there is a charge for transfer of medical records (see Services with Fees).

 

Sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to collection of behaviors and routines to create and maintain regular sleep.   Some tips include:

  • Adults need on average 7 or more hours of sleep nightly

  • Go to bed and wake up at a similar time everyday.  Avoid sleeping in on the weekends as this will shift your sleep cycle

  • Avoid napping as this will shift your sleep cycle and can cause difficulty initiating sleep

  • Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine but avoid exercising too close to bedtime

  • Limit caffeinated products to the morning or early afternoon

  • Avoid overeating before bedtime

  • Although alcohol can make you sleepy, it tends to disrupt sleep later in the night

  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a warm shower, listening to calming music or reading a book.  Research shows that media use and screen time before bed can interfere with sleep

  • If you are unable to fall asleep after 15 mins or so, get up and do a relaxing activity

  • Avoid checking the time if if you are unable to sleep as this tends to create frustration, making it even hard to fall asleep

  • Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, dark, quiet and set to a cool temperature.  Wear earplugs, eye mask and set the thermostat appropriately to optimize your sleep environment.

 

Sleep Resources:

 

TB skin tests

1) What is TB?

TB  is a highly contagious disease which is caused by the spread of active TB bacteria known as Tubercle bacilli.  Only people who are sick with pulmonary TB are infectious.  The disease primarily affects the respiratory system and is transmitted like the common cold by coughing, sneezing and spitting of active TB bacteria.

 

2) Who needs to be tested?

A TB or tuberculin skin test can determine if a person has ever been exposed to TB.

Testing for TB is done for several reasons:

 

  1. The test should be performed on people who have had close daily contact with someone who has active TB disease.
  2. People who have symptoms of TB, such as persistent cough, fever, weight loss, or night sweats.
  3. It is requested for a school, job or volunteer position.

 

3) How is the test performed?

A small amount of a harmless substance called PPD tuberculin is placed just under the top layer of the skin of a person's arm with a very small needle and syringe.  The skin test reaction must be read by a healthcare professional two to three days later (i.e. within 48-72 hours).  The skin test reaction is measured and the results are noted.  The test is determined to be positive or negative depending on the measurement of the skin reaction.

 

4) What does a negative TB skin test mean?

A negative result in most cases means that the person has not been infected with TB.  In some cases, where a person has been exposed to someone with active TB, this can mean that the person was tested too soon after breathing in the germs.  It may take many weeks after being infected for the body to react to the skin test.  To ensure that the result is accurate, the test will have to be repeated again after 8 weeks.

 

5) What does a positive TB skin test result mean?

A positive TB skin test means that the person has either been exposed to TB or sometimes, it could mean a reaction to prior TB vaccination.  To determine if the person has active infection, the doctor will order a chest x-ray to look for signs of infection in the lungs.   

 

6) Is there a charge for getting a TB skin test?

If the test is done for medical reasons or for school then it is covered under the health plan.  A charge will apply for TB skin tests for work or volunteering.  See Service with Fees [PDF] for more details.

 

7) Resources