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Influenza (or the ‘flu’) is a viral infection that is transmitted person to person via airborne ‘droplets’, tiny particles of fluid that are expelled into the air, or onto a surface when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It affects the respiratory tract, the nose, throat and lungs. It is highly contagious and is attributed to around 3000 deaths in Australia per year. Some flu seasons, like that we experienced in 2017 are worse than other years. This can be attributed to the strains of flu virus that are most prevalent in the community and changes or ‘mutations’ in these virus strains. Viruses are constantly changing, in an attempt to subvert the immune system. Strains of virus that are more successful at this, become dominant and spread. Annual flu vaccines contain three or four of the most prevalent strains for that particular flu season and provide excellent protection against infection but they cannot provide immunity against all strains, or strains that have mutated.
In a highly anticipated announcement, the Minister for Health the Hon. Greg Hunt confirmed recently the My Health Record (MHR) opt-out three-month window will commence from 16 July to 15 October 2018. Every Australian will be offered a MHR unless they choose to opt-out during this period.
Follow this link to read more: myhealthrecordwebsitecopy
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ARE YOU GETTING THE CORRECT VACCINE?
By Dr Jane Healy
There are two new vaccines that many parents and adults may have recently heard about.
They are Bexsero and Menactra.
Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning caused by consumption of food that has been contaminated by Listeria bacteria. It is thought to cause around 150 hospitalisations and 15 deaths in Australia every year.
In recent weeks, an outbreak of Listeriosis linked to rockmelons grown in the Riverina area of New South Wales has resulted in two deaths in Victoria and two deaths in New South Wales, plus around 18 hospitalisations in the Eastern states. The contaminated melons were withdrawn from shops and news outlets were prompt to warn people not to eat product they may have at home.
Vaccinations for the 2018 influenza (flu) season will shortly be delivered to medical centres and pharmacies across Australia. There are a number of important changes this year, implemented in response to the particularly severe flu season experienced last year.
Why should I get vaccinated against influenza?
Influenza affects people of all ages and states of health.
Vaccination not only provides protection for yourself but reduces the risk that the people you come into contact with will be infected.
Oral contraceptive medication commonly referred to as the ‘Pill” works to prevent pregnancy by supplying the body with hormones that make an egg unsuitable for fertilisation. It is generally considered a very safe drug and its short term and long term use has been extensively studied.
There are a range of potential side effects linked to use of the Pill. Commonly reported side effects include breakthrough bleeding, increased blood pressure, nausea, weight gain, breast tenderness, vaginal infections (such as thrush) and headaches. These are mostly mild and transient symptoms, more common in the first few months of Pill usage.
Many people use after-hours doctor services when their usual doctor is closed. After hours doctors provide medical care either in your home or in special after-hours deputising clinics across Victoria.
They provide care strictly after hours meaning evenings, weekends and public holidays. They are not open during normal business hours when patients can access their own GP.
Effective from February 1st 2018, the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) have ruled that all medications containing codeine will no longer be available without a prescription. This includes medicines that contain codeine in combination with other analgesics such as Panadeine, Nurofen Plus and Mersyndol as well as various generic pharmacy brands of pain relief and/or cough and cold medication.
Why have these changes occurred?
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From the 1st of December this year, significant and important changes have been made to the cervical cancer screening program.
Until now, sexually active women between the ages of 18-69 years were screened on a two yearly basis with a Pap smear test. The new program replaces the smear with a five yearly Cervical Screening Test (CST) for women between the ages of 25-74 years. Extensive studies have shown that cervical cancer is incredibly rare in women under 25 and screening women under this age (i.e. 18-25) has not reduced the number of cases of cervical cancer or deaths from cervical cancer.
The CST detects the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the cause of 99% of cervical cancers. The traditional Pap test examined cervical cells looking for abnormalities that could lead to cancer. The CST looks for HPV, which is the cause of those cellular abnormalities.
The test procedure is the same. Your Doctor will still use a vaginal speculum to take a cell sample from your cervix, however, the sample is suspended in liquid rather than smeared onto a glass slide like a traditional pap test.
Your first CST will be performed when you are due for your next (or first) pap smear, which is generally two years from your last one. From that point on, the testing becomes five yearly (dependent on results of course).
Having blood collected isn’t a pleasant experience, so proper preparation is essential to ensure a viable sample is taken the first time.
This is especially important if your Doctor is requesting tests that require fasting, such as cholesterol and blood glucose. In order to prepare for a blood test, the recommendations are:
Come well hydrated; drink plenty of water the day before and the day of your test.
If you have recently turned 75 or will turn 75 in the coming year, you will likely be invited for an annual Health Assessment with your Doctor and Practice Nurse.
An initiative of the Department of Health and fully funded by Medicare, annual health assessments are designed to identify health issues and conditions that are potentially preventable and to reduce your risk of hospitalisation.
A broad range of questions and examinations are performed to provide your Doctor with a complete overview of your physical, mental and social health and overall quality of life.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a condition where the airways become blocked when a person is asleep. It is a serious medical condition that affects a person’s health and quality of life.
The severity of the condition can vary between individuals, meaning there may be partial or complete restriction of the airway during sleep. The restriction may last from several seconds to up to a full minute. The lack of oxygen causes the person to ‘wake’ briefly, generally followed by a snort or loud snore and a gasp which restores airflow. They tend to fall back asleep immediately with no idea that this has occurred.
The common migraine is a very painful type of headache. For unknown reasons, they tend to affect women more than men suggesting that hormones may play some role.
Migraines can be very distressing and disabling. An attack can last anywhere from four hours to several days. Symptoms experienced can be extensive but commonly include:
From the 1st December 2017 there will be a new test replacing the pap smear test. New evidence about cervical screening has found that screening for human papillomavirus (HPV)(with reflex liquid based cytology) every five years is more effective than, and just as safe as, screening with a pap smear every two years. Because of this more effective test women only need to screen every five years regardless of whether or not they have had the HPV vaccination.
Once you have had the new test and the result is normal you will be placed onto a 5 yearly reminder program.
*The screening age of women is now 25-74 years*
Weight training is one of the best ways to reshape your body, lose weight and gain strength and improve bone and general health. Whether you are new to weight training, keen to give it a go, or a season lifter, these five compound moves should form the basis of your workout as they work multiple muscles at the same time to build strength quickly for maximum results. Be sure to consult with a professional trainer to correct your form before attempting any heavy lifts, or if you have any injuries that may affect your ability to perform these lifts.