While travel is great there are a few simple precautions that can be taken to make the experience even greater!
Take the time 6 weeks before you plan to leave to speak to your doctor about vaccinations and medications to help keep you well while you are away. You can follow up with one of our practice nurses for any vaccinations required.
Remember to visit the official Government website – smartraveller.gov.au . This website offers great travel tips and current alerts for Australian and International travel. This website allows you to register your trip, allows you to subscribe for travel updates and advice and gives you information on taking out travel insurance for your impending trip.
Those pesky mosquitos can not only be annoying they can carry a few diseases so remember your high strength insect repellent (and apply it frequently), to cover up as much as you can with loose fitting clothing with cuffs and even use mosquito nets to sleep if need be.
CURRENT TRAVEL HEALTH ALERTS
Below is a summary of extra Health alerts as per Travelvax.com.au (27/2/19) and CDC.com.au (2/3/19).
These are in addition to the usual vaccines required.
Brazil – Dengue Fever – avoid mosquito bites
Cambodia– Dengue Fever – avoid mosquito bites
Cook Island – Dengue fever – avoid mosquito bites
Fiji – Leptospirosis outbreak – avoid contact with potentially affected fresh water. Cover cuts or scratches with waterproof dressings. Don’t walk around with bare feet.
Guatamala – Dengue fever – avoid mosquito bites
Indonesia – Polio – make sure polio vaccine up to date
India – Zika virus – no vaccine available. Pregnant women to avoid the area
Ireland – Mumps – make sure MMR vaccine up to date
Japan – Measles – make sure MMR vaccine up to date
Madagascar – Measles – make sure MMR vaccine up to date
Mexico – Dengue fever – avoid mosquito bites
Panama – Whooping Cough – Make sure pertussis vaccine up to date
Philippines – Measles – make sure MMR vaccine up to date
South Africa – Malaria – speak to your doctor about Anti Malarial medicines available
Vietnam – Measles – Make sure MMR vaccine up to date
New shingles vaccine – Shingrix
There is a new shingles vaccine in the pipeline. It is currently going through the process of authorisation for use in our country. Unfortunately this means we are unsure of when it will become available. When it is approved there may also be an issue of supple limitations as is currently occurring in other countries. So watch this space and notifications will be around the clinic when it is available. In the meantime Zostavax is still available. It is free for 70-79 year olds but can be given privately to anyone over 50. Speak to your doctor about the suitability of this vaccine for you.
Flu vaccine 2019
This years flu vaccine has 2 new strain in the quadravalent version. We are still waiting to be informed when it will be available. We are anticipating late April. Flu clinics will begin in May . As peak flu season is generally not until September it is advised to have the flu vaccine around this time to ensure you have peak protection when needed as protection from this vaccine wanes over time.
Meningococcal B – Bexsero
We now stock this vaccine in the clinic. It is $132 per dose. This vaccine is not on the schedule for any age.
Doses are as follows:
Children 6 weeks to 12 months- 3 doses
12 months and over including adults – 2 doses
Meningococcal ACWY – Menactra/Nimenrix
This vaccine is now on the schedule for 12 month olds. It is also available for Year 10 students/15-16 year olds. There is no catch up schedule for other age groups. It is available privately at the clinic for $78.00.
Speak to your doctor or one of the clinic nurses if you have any queries regarding these vaccines.
Croup (Often more prevalent in Autumn)
Croup is a viral infection of the throat and windpipe that causes noisy breathing, a hoarse voice and a harsh, barking cough.
Croup usually starts as a ‘cold’ for a few days, then the noisy breathing and cough start (usually at night).
You can treat mild croup at home if your child has no breathing problems or noisy breathing when they are not crying.
If there are signs of increasing windpipe obstruction, seek urgent medical help.
Croup is an infection of the throat (larynx) and windpipe (trachea) that results in noisy breathing and a harsh, barking cough. Most children who have croup are under five years old. Some older children (aged between three and eight years) may develop occasional croup.
Croup usually starts with a ‘cold’
Children with croup usually have an illness like a cold first – a runny nose, cough and slight temperature. Then the child wakes during the night with a barking cough and difficulty breathing. This can last a couple of hours and reappear for the next couple of nights.
Children are small, so their airway is narrow. When infection causes swelling of the lining of the airway, it becomes even narrower making it difficult for the child to breathe. This happens particularly when the air is cold, such as at night-time.
The symptoms include:
· Noisy breathing (inspiratory stridor) – a high-pitched sound
· Harsh, barking cough
· Hoarse voice
· Difficulty breathing – depending on how severe the illness is
The gut microbiome
The incredible complexity of the gut and its importance to our overall health is a topic of increasing research in the medical community. Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.
At one time, our digestive system was considered a relatively “simple” body system, comprised essentially of one long tube for our food to pass through, be absorbed, and then excreted.
The term “gut microbiome” refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
1. Upset stomach
Stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut. A balanced gut will have less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste.
2. A high-sugar diet
A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can cause increased sugar cravings, which can damage your gut still further. High amounts of refined sugars, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, have been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be the precursor to a number of diseases and even cancers.
3. Unintentional weight changes
Gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. An imbalanced gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight loss may be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), while weight gain may be caused by
4. Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue
An unhealthy gut may contribute to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. The majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well. Some sleep disturbances have also been linked to risk for fibromyalgia
5. Skin irritation
Skin conditions like eczema may be related to a damaged gut. Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause increased “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema.
6. Autoimmune conditions
Medical researchers are continually finding new evidence of the impact of the gut on the immune system. It’s thought that an unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This can lead to autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks itself rather than harmful invaders.
7. Food intolerances
Food intolerances are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods (this is different than a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods). It’s thought that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality of bacteria in the gut health. This can lead to difficulty digesting the trigger foods and unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and nausea. There is some evidence that food allergies may be related to gut health.