What is necrotizing fasciitis? Canadian journalist's death prompts 5,000% spike in web searches — and more health questions Canadians had this week

From a deadly bacterial infection to recalled sunscreen, these are the health-related questions Canada asked this week.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

close up of woman looking up something on her phone.
These are the most popular health-related questions Canadians are asking this week. (Image via Getty Images)

Canadians turn to the internet when headlines leave them with more questions than answers. This week, the sudden death of a Canadian journalist prompted web searches for necrotizing fasciitis to spike by more than 5,000 per cent.

Lori Paris, a broadcaster with the Canadian Press, died on June 29 after developing necrotizing fasciitis. According to Paris’s sister, the 46-year-old had fallen while walking her dog earlier in the week and died days later at Toronto Western Hospital.

Necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects connective tissue called fascia. The infection spreads rapidly and can be caused by one type of bacteria (mono microbial necritizing fasciitis) or multiple types of bacteria (polymicrobial necrotizing fasciitis) enter the body through scrapes, insect bites, surgery or puncture wounds.

Lori Paris, as shown in this photo, who became both a mainstay of the airwaves during her time as a Canadian Press broadcaster and a beloved newsroom leader, died on Saturday at the age of 46. Paris developed necrotic fasciitis after she fell while walking her dog this past week, her sister said. She died Saturday at the Toronto Western Hospital.
Lori Paris died suddenly after developing necrotizing fasciitis. (Image via THE CANADIAN PRESS/Staff)

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Group Strep A bacteria are the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. Secondary infections can occur in the muscle, skin and soft tissue and can potentially lead to organ failure and death.

Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis can include:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Nausea

  • Body aches

  • Intense pain where the initial injury occurred

  • Reddened or discoloured skin

  • Blisters with yellow or bloody fluid

  • Low blood pressure

  • Sepsis

  • Necrosis (tissue death)

Earlier this week, a new study made headlines when it suggested a potential link between use of GLP-1 injectables, like Wegovy and Ozempic, and a rare form of vision loss. The study, published to JAMA Ophthalmology, prompted a 3,400 per cent increase in web searches for Ozempic and Wegovy side effects.

After analyzing more than 16,800 people in the Boston area from the past six years, researchers found that people who were prescribed a GLP-1 medication had a greater risk of developing nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).

obese fat man preparing Semaglutide Ozempic injection control blood sugar levels
What to know about GLP-1 medications and vision loss. (Image via Getty Images)

Researchers found that people prescribed GLP-1 medications for diabetes were four times more likely to develop NAION, while people prescribed GLP-1s for weight loss were seven times more likely to develop the condition. According to the study, the risk for developing NAION was greatest during the first year of use.

NAION occurs due to decreased blood-flow to the optic nerve head. The condition causes vision loss and can include symptoms like headache, ocular discomfort or pain surrounding the eye. The presence of any these symptoms require immediate medical attention.

The study noted that more research is required to "assess causality."

Web searches for "Health Canada sunscreen recall" surged by more than 5,000 per cent this week after a potential fungal contamination prompted nine lots of Suntegrity Impeccable Skin Sunscreen Foundation. product to be recalled.

 Suntegrity Impeccable Skin Sunscreen Foundation has been recalled by Health Canada. (Image via Suntegrity)
Suntegrity Impeccable Skin Sunscreen Foundation has been recalled by Health Canada. (Image via Suntegrity)

On May 24, the brand published an urgent message noting that some lots had “a higher than acceptable microbiological mld count” and “unusual odour.” At the time, the Suntegrity said it was going to “voluntarily recall” the product and urged anyone with any of the flagged lot numbers to immediately discontinue use of the product.

Suntegrity said use of products contained with aspergillus sydowii, a mold species, could cause an allergic reaction or primary fungal kin infection “if used on open wounds or sunburned skin.”

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