The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Ontario has recently been promoting its new health care options with a new series of commercials. At least some of the commercials, however, promote an unnecessary reliance on emergency rooms and other community health care facilities.

A minor burn upon touching a hot pot handle (without even blisters) does not require a visit to the emergency ward. What it does require is cold running water as soon as possible, possibly followed by antiseptic ointment and light gauze. Now, if the jerk back from having touched the hot pot handle resulted in a more serious burn after spilling boiling water: that would be a different thing entirely.

A minor rash discovered while hiking or camping (again, without blisters, and apparently even without an itch, yet) does not require a visit to a health care provider. It may require calamine lotion, since it was most likely caused by a chance encounter with poison ivy or a mild allergic reaction to some other plant or insect bite. In Ontario: nothing is so very poisonous unless you run into a Massassauga rattler or eat an unfamiliar plant. (Be careful around warm rocks or logs in summer, and don't eat unfamiliar plants.)

Giant hogweed(While you are at it, you might also leave giant hogweed alone. That one is an unwelcome import to N. American shores, and can cause the types of rashes that you won't discover first by a friend happening to spot it. By the time you see it, you will also most definitely feel it burning. But this is not exactly the kind of plant you are unlikely to overlook. In all likelihood, it will be taller than you.)

A mild rash may even require nothing at all. Most rashes, allergic or otherwise, go away on their own. If it does not start healing in a couple of days: that would be when to ask the doctor about it.

Ontario is no less strapped for health care cash than any other province. Why breed unnecessary dependencies on public health care facilities?


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