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Health-related info hard to find — doctors too

“If only people would treat themselves as well as they treat a new car. We’d think twice about what we put in our tank. We’d also be more inclined to schedule regular maintenance.”

– DARREN BRERETON, DIRECTOR OF FITNESS WELLNESS CENTRE AT SEVEN OAKS HOSPITAL

How can a farmer be fitter? Are supplements needed if you’re eating healthy food? What stops a racing mind at night?

Those were questions put to a panel at the Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference here last week.

Pharmacist Kerry Kent, Darren Brereton a Wellness Institute fitness coach and Janet Smith, manager of the Farm and Rural Stress Line were panel speakers in a session devoted to providing answers on questions of women’s health and wellness.

Health complaints such as inability to sleep, upset stomachs and chronic infections regularly plague callers who contact the stress line, said Smith.

“Some say up to 75 per cent of illness is stress related,” she said.

Kent spoke about potential negative interactions between prescription drugs and herbal supplements,

urging the audience to stick to a healthy diet, take a multivitamin and find ways to reduce stress. Pharmacists can also provide answers to specific health-care questions, she said.

Brereton said his best advice is to take a proactive approach to health care. “If only people would treat themselves as well as they treat a new car,” he said. “We’d think twice about what we put in our tank. We’d also be more inclined to schedule regular maintenance.”

But without doctors available, as is the case in many rural communities, getting those checkups can be tough to do, said woman.

Hazel Lamont, a dairy farmer near Virden who facilitated the panel discussion said afterward she thinks many women don’t seek care because doctors are so hard to find. “I think often rural women don’t want to bother people,” Lamont said. Health and wellness information sources may be out there, she added. But rural women find it tough to get answers to specific health-related questions. “I don’t think they have a good idea where to go.” [email protected]

About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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