Author Archives: Alicia Pittman

June – July 2018

Chicken Pox is not Child’s play

Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, chicken pox is a highly contagious illness. It can affect any age but is more common in children. The number of cases has declined since the addition of a vaccine against chicken pox onto the childhood immunisation schedule in the early 2000's. Fortunately most cases are mild.

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Coming to grips with osteoarthritis

As we get older our joints show wear and tear. The cartilage (lining) of the joint is affected most, though bones, ligaments and muscles can also be involved. This is known as degenerative osteoarthritis. It affects almost everyone over forty but the severity and the joints involved varies. Risk factors include age, being overweight, positive family history and injuries to joints. Knees hips, hands and the spine are the most commonly affected areas.

 

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Tonsillitis – say argh!

The tonsils are located half way to the back of the throat and help "trap" infections. They are particularly important for young children with less developed immune systems. Unless they become enlarged or infected, we generally don't even know they are there.

 

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Cold and Flu Protection

Viruses are present all year round but more people get unwell with them in winter. It could be a case of less sunshine and spending more time indoors but, whatever the reason, we can do a lot to prevent the spread. Viruses spread by airborne droplets so covering your mouth when you cough makes a big difference, as does sneezing into a hanky or tissue. AND washing hands is imperative.

 

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Flash burns to the eye.

Flash burns occur when a strong light burns the surface of the eye (cornea). Causes include skiing without glasses or sun lamps. Symptoms include pain and burning in the eye, watery or bloodshot eyes, blurred vision and can start up to twelve hours after exposure.

 

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Flu Vaccinations

Brook Medical Centre are now taking bookings for your annual Flu Vaccination, which are bulk billed consultations.

flu

FLU SEASON is generally July – August , so no need to rush. Indeed you have better immunity if you have the immunisation late April during consultations if available or May in our Flu Clinics.

We are pleased in 2018 to be able to immunise with more effective vaccines. 

The changes,

  • Free Vaccine for children from 6 months of age to under 5 years of age
  • 5 different age- specific quadrivalent influenza vaccine. 
  • Attenuated vaccine for the over 65s which is more effective with no increase in side effects expected.

 This  vaccine  will cost $20 if you are not eligible under the National Influenza Vaccination program. This  can be paid upon arrival for your appointment, as we stock this and almost all  travel vaccines here at Brook Medical Centre.

Free influenza vaccine 

Under the National Influenza Vaccination Program, free seasonal quadrivalent influenza vaccine is available for the following people:

  • all people aged 65 years and over
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years (new)
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
  • pregnant women
  • Children aged between 6 months and under five years old.
  • people aged 5 years and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza,(and you may wish to discuss with your regular GP if your medical condition is covered)

 

Chronic conditions include :

  • Cardiac disease,  cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
  • Chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma
  • Other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies
  • Chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders
  • Impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use
  • Children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy .

 

Please contact us to book an appointment in one of our Doctors

 

Influenza Information

 

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April – May 2018

Tips for Older Travellers

Baby Boomers are gradually retiring but not wanting to put on the proverbial slippers yet. Many remain in good health and travel is increasingly on the agenda. A popular pursuit is driving around Australia in a camper van  or with a caravan.

It is a good idea to have a general health check with your GP before embarking.

 

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Tennis Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis, inflammation of the tendons where they meet the bone at the elbow on the thumb side, is commonly known as tennis elbow. It is not unique to tennis and can come about from any ongoing or repeated use of the forearm and wrist. Bricklaying, painting and gardening plus other racquet sports can bring it about as can using a computer mouse and it can affect anyone. It is commonest in those aged 35-55.

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Managing Coeliac Disease

This is a condition where there is marked immune response to gluten which is found in wheat. rye and barley. It can damage the small bowel and interfere with absorption of nutrients. The symptoms vary from mild to severe and include tiredness, intermittent diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating and flatulence. Children with Coeliac disease may have slower growth, irritability and abdominal swelling.

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Cooling Down Heartburn

This is a burning pain in the chest or upper abdomen caused by acid leaking from the stomach into the oesophagus. It is also known as reflux and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). It is very common and can affect all age groups from infancy. It ranges from mild to severe.

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Family Break-ups and Kids

It is estimated that 40% of marriages will end in divorce or separation. In many instances there are children and the impact on them is significant. Regardless of whether a couple love each other or not, their children will still love them both.

While all children are affected in the short term, American research shows in the longer term the vast majority of children in divorced families do as well as their peers when it comes to behaviour, academic performance and social relationships.

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February – March 2018

School refusal can be serious

Children and adolescents who experience severe emotional distress at having to go to school need to be taken seriously. It can lead to considerable absence from school, which in turn can impact on education and job prospects. This is completely different to truancy and is not associated with anti-social behaviour.

 

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Mobile phones and kids

It is hard to believe that the ubiquitous mobile phone only became widely used in the 1990's and smart phones in the past decade.

Previous generations of parents did not have to contend with managing their children's use of phones. Today there is a view that children should have access but neither can you wind the clock back. Certainly, there is research showing that too much screen time is an issue for children as they tend to exercise less and it can impact on sleep. There is also the additional complication of social media being accessed via mobile phones anywhere, anytime.

 

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Avoiding Listeria

Listeria is an infection caused by a common bacterium that occurs in the soil and water.

Thus, plants and animals in the food chain can be infected. There are around 65 cases in Australia each year and 10% of these are in pregnant women who are at greatest risk in the third trimester.

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Dealing with depression

Depression is a common condition affecting as many as one in five Australians. For some it can be an ongoing condition; for others, there may only be an isolated episode. Depression is more than just feeling sad for a day or two. It is feeling miserable for at least two weeks together with a lack of enjoyment of usual activities, withdrawal from friends and often sleep and appetite disturbance.

 

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December 2017 – January 2018

Children at the Beach

The summer holiday is the perfect opportunity to get children away from electronic devices and into the outdoors. While we want children to play safely and avoid injury, we need to recognise that a grazed knee is not a major drama.

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Connecting with your Teenager

The teenage stereotype of a monosyllabic adolescent behind a slammed-shut bedroom door has some validity but it is far from the whole story. Adolescence is a time of change, physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. The transition from child to adult is not always easy. In this era of social media and smart phones, there are additional pressures.

 

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Tips for Travellers

Travel vaccinations are important considerations before travelling, but most of the health issues people face on their travels can't be vaccinated against. Insurance claim statistics suggest that people experience similar health issues travelling as they do at home - chest or sinus infections, gastro, cuts and bruises and more serious ones like heart attack and broken bones from trauma.

 

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Jellyfish

While shark attacks make headlines, there are other creatures in the water than can cause us problems when swimming. These are many and varied and influenced by season and where on the coastline you are.

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Getting on top of Impetigo

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by common bacteria (staphylococcus and streptococcus).

It is more common in children, as the name school sores suggests, but it can also affect adults. The bacteria can live quietly on the skin but minor grazes or other disruptions of the skin's surface can allow infection to set in. It is not a reflection of poor hygiene.

 

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Chlamydia the hidden STI

The commonest sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Australia is Chlamydia with the number of cases rising over the past 20 years, particularly in the 15 - 25 age group. Both sexes are equally affected and it is very treatable .

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October – November

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This is a painful condition caused by pressure on the median nerve running through a narrow space in the wrist (the carpal tunnel) into the hand. The nerve supplies the feeling sensation to the thumb, index and middle fingers, and aids thumb movement.

 

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Hair Raising Symptoms

Nearly all men and 10% of women will suffer some head-hair loss. The commonest form is male pattern hair loss, which can start as young as 20 and sees the hairline gradually recede from the front. The main risk factors are being male and a family history. There are other causes of hair loss (alopecia), including an under-active thyroid, trauma to hair follicles, some auto-immune conditions and side effects of some medications.

 

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When Periods Cease

Menopause literally means cessation of periods. It happens as the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In theory, this makes menopause the day of the last period. In reality, it is not so simple. Some women may experience issues related to menopause for months and even years. Symptoms vary from minor to severe. It can be natural with age or occur prematurely.

 

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Heat Rash v Urticaria

Heat rash or prickly heat is caused by sweat being trapped under the skin. It is more common in children than adults, with the neck, shoulder and chest the most affected areas. It can come on in hot weather or after sport. There is an itchy "lumpy" rash. While uncomfortable, it is not serious.

 

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Know Meningococcal

Meningococcal Disease is rare but potentially deadly bacterial infection that may progress extremely quickly.

Children receiving routine childhood vaccinations will have been given a vaccine at 12 months specifically for one strain of meningococcal disease.

However, this routine childhood vaccination doesn't protect against every type of meningococcal bacteria. Your child could still be at risk from other types of meningococcal disease.

 

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e Health and You.

When booking in for your appointment, you may be asked if you are registered with eHealth or would like to register. This process only takes a couple of minutes but it could be very beneficial to your health in the future.

Having a My Health Record means your important health information like allergies, current conditions and treatments, medicine details, pathology reports or diagnostic imaging scan reports can be digitally stored in one place. Healthcare providers like doctors, specialists and hospital staff can see these details online from anywhere at any time when they need to, such as in an accident or emergency.

For more information or to make a My Health record click here

 

 

 

 

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August – September

Reflux in Infants

Stomach-acid rising into the gullet (or oesophagus) causes reflux. The typical symptom in adults is a burning sensation in the lower chest - "heartburn" but reflux can occur at any age. 

In infants the symptoms can include vomiting or regurgitation, difficulty with feeding, sleep disturbances, crying (especially during or after feeds) and irritability. None of these are absolutely specific. They may be regular or intermittent. It ranges from mild to severe. Reflux can occur in both breast and bottle-fed babies.

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Enlarged Prostate

The prostate gland sits under a man's bladder. As men get older it slowly enlarged. It is thought to double in size between ages 21 and 50 and again between 50 and 80 and we don't know why.

Benign prostate enlargement (BPH) is universal but not all men experience symptoms nor need treatment. It is important to note that prostate cancer can also cause prostate enlargement but is a completely separate condition to BPH.

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Vaginal Thrush

Thrush is caused by the fungus candida albicans. While it is part of healthy vagina flora, in certain circumstances it can multiply excessively and lead to typical thrush. About 75% of women will experience thrush at some stage while some get it frequently.

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Iron for Vegetarians

Iron defiency is a potential problem for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. This is particularly the case for women whose daily iron requirements (especially in reproductive years) because of menstruation are greater than for men. Iron is essential for red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia, which causes fatigue, headache and weakness.

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June – July 2017

Wee Problem, Big Solutions

Being unable to control the bladder remains silent because most people don't talk about it. Yet it affects about 13% of Australians.

Severity ranges. Stress incontinence is when urine leaks in response to (for example) movement or any pressure in the pelvis. Urge incontinence is when you need to go to the toilet quickly or else!

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Be wary of Croup

Croup is a viral infection of the throat and windpipe (trachea) and typically affects children under fiver years though children up to eight years can contract it. The hallmark symptom is a harsh, dry, barky cough, mostly at night.

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For the Fainthearted

People may feel dizzy and pass out for many different reasons. Some matter, most don't.

A true faint (vaso-vagal episode) leads to brief unconsciousness because blood pressure drops, blood vessels dilate, or the heart rate slows. When blood pressure to the brain is not maintained we lose consciousness, usually for only a few seconds, go pale, and perhaps feel a bit unwell for a time afterwards. Some people will go through life never fainting whereas others are prone to it.

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April – May 2017

Helping with Learning Difficulties

There are many possible reasons why your child may fall behind in their schoolwork - anything from not getting along with the class teacher to ADHD or a hearing problem. Learning problems need to be detected and remedied early.

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Teething Babies

During teething an infants first teeth (the deciduous teeth, often called "baby teeth" or "milk teeth") subsequently emerge or 'erupt' through the gums. They typically arrive in pairs, the lower two incisors come first at 6-8 months of age, before all 20 teeth take a few years to erupt. This is sometimes called "cutting teeth", but emerging teeth don't in fact cut through the gums but hormones released cause some cells in the gums to die and separate, allowing the teeth to come through.

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Thyroid Tests Serve A Function

The thyroid gland in the front of the neck controls the metabolism of the whole body. Sometimes the gland becomes overactive or underactive. This happens most often in women over 50 who have a family history of thyroid problems or pernicious anaemia (vitamin B12 deficiency).

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