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Doctor at Shoreline Medical with a maternity patient

Health considerations for the fall and winter

Original published in Seaside Magazine, our very own Dr. Ruth Caden has authored this helpful article.

Coming into the winter months, we get a lot of questions from our patients about what they can do to maximize their health and well-being, and reduce the risks of infection. My answer is always the same – vaccines, vaccines, vaccines.

Of course, we are all eagerly anticipating the arrival of a vaccine for COVID-19. However, there exist now safe and effective vaccinations for a range of serious illnesses, and I encourage all my patients – where appropriate – to get them. Never has it been more important to minimize our exposure to healthcare facilities, reduce the burden on hospitals, and protect our friends and families. Everyone over the age of six months, with rare exception, should have the flu vaccine every year. This is covered by MSP for over 65s and select groups. Over 65s and those in high risk groups should get the pneumonia vaccine (Pneumovax). In addition, there is a second pneumonia vaccine (Prevnar) that people in high risk groups should get. Adults over 50 should consider getting the shingles vaccine. Unfortunately, MSP do not cover the cost of this. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about which vaccines are appropriate for you.

Often, we have patients who turn to natural remedies and “supplements” to ward off illness, but given that these can be costly, and sometimes harmful, it is worth considering the evidence.

In general, vitamin supplementation is not necessary for most adults who eat a balanced and varied diet and get regular sun exposure or drink vitamin D-fortified dairy products. Individual advice on this may vary (particularly for Vitamin D and B12) according to your own personal circumstances.

It has been suggested that Vitamin C, D, zinc, garlic, and/or apple cider vinegar can help reduce your chances of getting a cold or speed up recovery, but there unfortunately is no strong evidence to support this.

Finally – wearing masks, social distancing and washing our hands appropriately will be all the more important as we face into the winter, and we should all redouble our efforts in this regard.


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Ryan Liebscher

family physician

Dr Ryan Liebscher grew up and lived in Victoria before moving out east to pursue undergraduate work in microbiology in Halifax. He went on to medical school at the University of Saskatchewan where he met his wife and endured a few cold winters. They went on to Prince George to complete residency training in Family Medicine and then Ryan undertook a year of added competency training in palliative care through UBC. 

They settled on the Peninsula in 2009 to start a family. After completing his training, he worked as a locum in family practice and as a Palliative Care physician at Victoria Hospice for 4 years until settling into his own family practice in Brentwood Bay in 2014. He continues to work with the Saanich Peninsula palliative care consultation team and feels very strongly about supporting a palliative approach to care for patients in need. His other interests include meditation, Tai Chi, mindfulness, and active healthy living.

He feels grateful to work with Shoreline Medical and the wonderful team here at Brentwood Bay.

Andrew Kwasnica

family physician

Dr. Andrew Kwasnica grew up in Cordova Bay and is delighted to be able to practice medicine on the Saanich Peninsula. He has a strong interest in preventive medicine and personal health management, and invites his patients to engage fully and take charge of their own health, through careful attention to risk reduction, diet and exercise, weight management, and judicious use of pharmacologic and interventional approaches to medical conditions. His other areas of focus include internal medicine, palliative care and mental health. He is a self-professed exercise and nutrition fanatic (and dog lover), and you’ll find him on the courts, trails and slopes with his young family.

“An apple a day does not keep the doctor away, but it does improve your colonic health!”
– Dr. Kwasnica

Andrea Lewis

family physician & board member, Shoreline Sidney

Dr Andrea Lewis was born and raised in Vancouver. She spent many years at UBC, but still found time to satisfy her enthusiasm for adventure with travels to Africa and Australia. Her love of the outdoors enticed her to Newfoundland where she completed her Residency in Family Medicine and where she met her husband. Together they have raised 2 beautiful daughters and in 2014, they spent 6 months in Vanuatu providing medical care to the populace of the remote tropical Island. 

Dr Lewis has been involved in the establishment of the South Island Division of Family Practice and the Shoreline Medical Society, both of which have been very rewarding processes. She feels honoured to act as the Medical Director of Shoreline Medical Sidney and looks forward to being a part of the development of a new approach to Family Medicine.  

Sienna Bourdon

Dr. Sienna Bourdon grew up on Vancouver Island in Black Creek. She received an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from UVic and a Medical Degree from UBC’s Island Medical Program. After completing her Family Medicine (CCFP)  training through Western University, Dr. Bourdon worked 1 year in Ontario doing inpatient hospital care, clinics, teaching and family practice locums. She moved back home to BC in the fall of 2014 and set up her own practice at Bayside Medical Centre in May 2015. Since that time she has been doing Family Medicine, walk in clinic, inpatient care and Emergency Medicine shifts at SPH. She is also very involved in leadership in the community and at the hospital. She has a keen interest in teaching and has a faculty appointment at UBC.
Dr. Bourdon is excited to be moving her practice to Shoreline Medical, Brentwood Bay. She places an emphasis on preventative medicine, optimizing the lifestyles of her patients to maintain health and prevent disease. Dr. Bourdon practices full-service, comprehensive Family Medicine, offering a wide range of services, and expects her patients to be active participants in managing their health.
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