DR ALICE LAM
YOUR PRIMARY CARE SPECIALIST
YOUR PRIMARY CARE SPECIALIST
Did you know that around 1 in 10 Australians have asthma?
The symptoms of asthma vary between individuals, including cough, tight chest, wheeze and breathlessness. Some people have mild and infrequent symptoms, whereas others experience daily symptoms and/or severe attacks.
It is useful to work out your potential triggers, such as cold weather, exercise or hay fever, as taking daily preventer treatment in consultation with your GP can help you to manage your symptoms well. The risk of poorly controlled asthma includes not having a great quality of life, being more prone to serious chest infections and attacks, or being unprepared for thunderstorm asthma.
Thunderstorm asthma can occur with little warning when the weather is hot, dry and windy with a consequent high pollen count, with broken up pollen grains causing even more allergic asthma attacks. It tends to occur in spring or summer. It is a serious matter - in 2016, over 3,000 people had to attend Emergency departments and 10 people sadly died.
Asthma Australia has some useful info here about thunderstorm asthma, and they recommend seeing your GP 6 weeks before the pollen season to start preventers.
Finally, Asthma Australia also offer a free toolkit full of information including asthma basics (including the best way to use an inhaler and spacer), asthma emergencies, smoking, and pregnancy. Plus they also have apps to help you manage your asthma well. And if you need to speak to someone, they have asthma educators available Mon-Fri 9am-5pm on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).
Info on thunderstorm language is also available in other languages here.
This is a great collection of practical tips produced by a collaboration between various mental health bodies, to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during #COVID19
Until recently, Australians have been able to access a maximum of 10 rebatable psychology sessions per year, under a GP Mental Health Care Plan.
As of 7th August 2020, the Australian Government has extended the number to include a further 10 sessions, subject to GP review and if public health orders (issued at any time from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021):
Note: These extra sessions are available until 31st March 2021.
If you are feeling stressed or anxious in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. It is hard to get away from the constant media, ever-changing government updates and restrictions on our way of life. Reduced social contact, temporary closure of community hubs, worries about our jobs and our children's schooling are just some of the concerns that can affect our mental health. As well as consulting with your GP, here are some other places you can get help.
The Black Dog Institute offers links to resources to help you look after your mental health. It includes guided meditations, relaxation techniques, and fact sheets including how to support and reassure young people. And they have even produced a customisable self-care plan which is full of tips and advice.
More support services* are listed below:
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
A crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Mental health information and support for all Australians. Support includes phone, online chat, email and forum.
Eheadspace 1800 650 890
Online and telephone support and counselling for 12 - 25 year olds, their families and friends.
*List from Department of Health and Human Services, State Government of Victoria
Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexela
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that cause the common cold, and more seriously illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain in humans, which researchers believe may have been passed to humans by exposure to bats or pangolins, following genomic sequencing.
On 20 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed the novel coronavirus was spreading person-to-person. The first case in Australia was confirmed on 23 January 2020,
You can find more, including how to reduce your risk of exposure, who should get tested and what to do you if you feel unwell on the Department of Health website, the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services website or you can ring the
24/7 National Coronavirus Helpline on
1800 020 080.
For advice on who should self-isolate and how, see here.
For up-to-date travel advice, see here.
Testing is recommended in people who display the following symptoms:
Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation
Acute respiratory infection that is characterised by runny nose, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell/taste.
The Australian Department of Health particularly recommends testing for people with symptoms if:
After testing you MUST stay at home until you have a negative COVID result AND your symptoms have cleared.
iF YOU ARE NOT SURE, CLICK BELOW TO USE THE SYMPTOM CHECKER WHICH WILL HELP YOU DECIDE IF YOU NEED TESTING. IT WILL ALSO TAKE YOU TO A LIST OF GP'S WHO ARE SEEING PATIENTS WITH SYMPTOMS.
If you are looking for your nearest Covid-19 testing clinics, here is a list of links from healthdirect:
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay
For daily Covid-19 updates, click here*:
*Links to Department of Health website in new window
United Nations COVID-19 Response@unitednations
You should also get tested if you have headache, muscle aches, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea and:
Photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com
The COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary, and is designed to help manual contact tracing (identifying those who have been in close contact with a positive case). You can read more about it and download the app here.
Image from Australian Government Department of Health website