October  Edition, click HERE

Memory loss

Featured article from October 2019 edition

The prospect of memory loss is one of the major concerns of people who are getting older. The ‘good news’ is that while the total number of people with dementia is increasing, the percentage of the population with dementia is declining.

Work over the past three decades shows that as each cohort gets older, a smaller number of people are being diagnose with dementia.

There are a number of causes.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. Risk factors include a family history, past trauma to the head (especially repeated concussions), smoking and alcohol consumption.

The condition generally comes on slowly. It is worth noting that occasionally forgetting where you put your keys is not the first sign. Diagnosis is largely on assessing mental state through questionnaire.

A CT or MRI scan may be done to assess the brain. Certain changes are typically seen in people with Alzheimer’s.

Blood tests are done to rule out treatable conditions that can impact memory (e.g. underactive thyroid, certain infections, kidney or liver diseases). Any underlying secondary cause can be treated accordingly.

There is no treatment, as such, for Alzheimer’s. Available medications only slow progression and not always even that. The key is practical support for the individual and carers.

Talk to your GP about available support services.

The World Health Organisation recommends physical exercise, adequate sleep, sensible diet to keep the brain active.

Avoiding smoking and consuming only moderate alcohol, controlling blood pressure and blood sugar all help.





August Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the August edition:

Sinusitis on the Nose

The body has a number of air-filled sinuses which sit below, above and behind the eyes, and are in communication with the nasal passages. Their role is to warm and filter air and produce mucous to trap inhaled dust and other irritants. Too much mucous production, swelling of the linings or blockage can lead to sinusitis.

Risk factors include smoking, regular use of decongestant sprays, dental infection, and nasal polyps. Common predisposing factors are a viral illness such as a cold or allergy issues such as hay fever. Sinusitis can also be of itself.

Typical symptoms are a blocked nose, headache or facial pain, post nasal drip, cough, yellow or green nasal mucous and a feeling of pressure in the sinuses. There may be a fever.

Treatment depends on cause. If allergy related then antihistamines and steam inhalation, with or without eucalyptus, can help. Avoid decongestant sprays. Over the counter steroid sprays may help but best talk to your doctor before self-medicating. Simple analgesics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can ease symptoms.

Where a bacterial infection is suspected antibiotics will be prescribed and some people need two courses. Some people develop chronic or recurrent sinusitis. This can, in turn, impact hearing by blocking the eustachian tube, which drains from the middle ear. If the sinuses become permanently congested and do not respond to treatment, they may need drainage or clearing which is a hospital procedure.



June Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the June edition:

Whooping cough

Whilst rare these days due to vaccination, there are still over 1000 cases of the infection “whooping cough” in Australia each year. It is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis spread from person to person. The infection causes irritation of the lining of the airways and increased mucous.

Although any age group can be infected, the elderly and those under age one, are at particular risk of secondary pneumonia. Symptoms start about a week after exposure and may be non-specific with runny nose, low grade fever and cough. The paroxysmal stage starts seven to 14 days later with the hallmark cough on spasms ending with the “whoop”. Later vomiting may also occur.

Diagnosis is not always straight forward. In the early stages there are no specific features. Swabs from the nose or throat can be diagnostic. Blood tests are not always reliable and can take some weeks to turn positive.

Treatment is directed to easing the cough and other symptoms. Steam inhalation helps. A course of antibiotics may be needed. Young children may need to be hospitalised. Those with infection need to stay away from school or work. Exclusion times vary according to circumstances.

Prevention is the key so make sure you and your family are fully vaccinated. The whooping cough vaccine is part of the childhood schedule and is also recommended for pregnant women between weeks 28 and 32.

Weblink: www.mydr.com.au/respiratory-health/whooping-cough-overview

April Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the April edition:

Hepatitis C – Avoiding Damage

Hepatitis C virus was first “discovered” in 1989. Catching the virus was associated with blood transfusions before 1990 but today the main risk factors are sharing intravenous drug needles, tattooing and body piercing (if not sterile). Hepatitis C is no longer officially classed as a sexually transmissible disease but its spread via sexual contact is still possible if there are cuts or open wounds. Needle stick injuries carry a very small risk. The virus is not spread by hugging or through sharing food.

At the end of 2017 it was estimated that 200,000 Australians had Hepatitis C.

There may be no symptoms of infection. Symptoms include tiredness, fatigue, nausea, fever, itchy skin and loss of appetite. Some people only get symptoms many years after contracting the virus.

Long term the virus can damage the liver leading to cirrhosis and /or liver cancer.

Diagnosis is by blood testing. A liver scan may also be advised. Since 2016 there have been new and successful treatments for hepatitis C that can cure the condition in 95% of cases, with few side effects. Treatment before 2016 was less effective and side effects were a major problem for many people.

If you think you are at risk of Hepatitis C talk to your doctor. If diagnosed, treatment can be through your GP or a specialist.

Weblink: www.hepatitisaustralia.com/how-do-you-get-hep-c/

February Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the February edition:

Living with Obesity

Over the last 40 years, there have been an increase in the number pf people overweight or obese, helped by a reduction in body mass index (BMI) classifying overweight from 27.5 to 25 in the late 1980’s. This has significantly inflated the statistics.

Another little known fact is that in over three million people studies have demonstrated no effect on life expectancy up to a BMI of 30.

Many people find reducing weight difficult. Their cause is not helped by the judgmental ways they can be treated. Overweight children may be subject to teasing and bullying in the playground. Many overweight adults are uncomfortable going to the beach or to the gym (notwithstanding that exercise can help). Purchasing clothes and swimwear can be traumatic.

Media or these days, social media (think Instagram), can portray images of “perfect” bodies (often photoshopped) which adds to the pressure.

So, is there a solution? Each person needs to consider their health in total. Overweight is but one aspect. Being overweight is not synonymous with being unhealthy. It is also important to be comfortable with who you are. Each of us is different so there is no single correct shape or size.

It is important not to compare yourself to others especially the media images that are usually unrealistic. If you want to reduce weight talk to your doctor about it and avoid offers of a quick fix.

December Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the December edition:

Plantar Fasciitis – Heel Pain

A common cause of heel pain, ‘plantar fasciitis’ is inflammation of the tissue (plantar fascia) that runs along the sole of the foot connecting the heel to the toes, creating the arch of the foot. Risk factors include age, being overweight, sports which stress the heel (e.g. running) and spending long periods of time on the feet.

The main symptom is pain under the heel. It can be dull or sharp. It is often worse on rising in the morning, after prolonged sitting or after intense activity. Diagnosis is from the story and examination. X rays generally do not show anything. Some changes in the fascia may be seen on ultrasound or MRI.

Treatment is a mix of improving symptoms and preventing further aggravation. Analgesics or anti-inflammatory medications may help in the short term but are not a cure. Avoid activities which aggravate the situation. Wear shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Purpose made insoles may be helpful as can be stretching, as advised by a podiatrist or physiotherapist.

In more severe cases cortisone injections may be recommended. Surgical treatment is viewed as a last resort.

Do not expect immediate results from treatment or get frustrated. Perseverance with treatment is important and most fasciitis improves with time.

Weblink: www.healthdirect.gov.au/plantar-fasciitis

October Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the October edition:

Parkinson’s disease

An estimated 40,000 Australians have Parkinson’s disease – a progressive degenerative neurological condition which affects the control of body movements. Typical symptoms are trembling of the hands, arms, legs and face, together with slowing of movement, instability, tiredness and difficulty walking. It comes on gradually and early signs may be very subtle.

The condition comes about from nerve cells ceasing to produce enough dopamine, a chemical which sends message between cells. When those messages are blocked, muscle control is impeded. Why this happens is not clear. Family history is one risk factor as is head trauma and exposure to pesticides.

Diagnosis is based on history and examination. There is no specific blood or imaging test for diagnosis. Brain scans are generally normal. Given the slow onset of symptoms it can take some time for an exact diagnosis can be made.

Treatment is focused on maintaining function. A healthy diet and keeping active are important. Physiotherapy, to establish and guide an exercise program that includes daily stretching, helps. Medications can control the condition but not cure it. As time goes by their effectiveness can lessen and dosages need to be increased. Side effects can also be a problem for some.

No two people will have the exact same experience, so treatment is always individualised. There are state and national support groups to assist.



August Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the August edition:

V is for varicose veins

Widened, often twisted, veins near the skin surface are called varicose veins. They are most common on the lower legs.

Risk factors include advancing age, being female, a positive family history, being overweight, pregnancy and prolonged sitting or standing. They will appear as blue, twisted cords on the legs.

Whilst often painless, they can cause aching and a heavy feeling in the legs. Itching and skin rash (varicose eczema) can also occur. If ruptured there can be significant bleeding. In more severe cases there can be ulceration.

However, they are not associated with deep vein thrombosis.

Treatment depends on severity. There are no specific medications, though Painkillers may ease symptoms but should not be relied on.

Previously formal surgical stripping was performed and this required some days in hospital. Surgical treatments have advanced and most commonly they are now injected to close down the vein. When varicose, the vein is no longer working effectively so it is not a problem to remove or close it. This can be done as an outpatient and recovery is quite rapid.

People seek treatment either for cosmetic reasons or due to symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what might be the best option for you.

To help avoid developing varicose veins, maintain a healthy weight, do regular exercise and change position regularly.


June Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the June edition:

Work on Cold & Flu Prevention

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 reduce 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.

Many people try to soldier on with a virus even though staying at home not only helps you get better quicker but also makes it less likely you will pass it on to others. Air-conditioning makes it easy for viruses to spread, so don’t contribute yours to the office pool.

Many workplaces offer flu vaccination for employees and certainly something to consider but it will not prevent a cold. Regular exercise has been shown to strengthen the immune system but it is wise to cease or at least reduce exercise while unwell. Eating a healthy diet with adequate fruits and vegetables and getting enough sleep also helps. Managing stress (e.g. meditation, guided relaxation and herbal teas) has been shown to benefit immunity as does having adequate vitamin D.

It is worth repeating, if you get sick, stay home, the world will keep spinning.

April Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the April edition:

Cooling down heartburn

This is a burning pain in the chest or upper abdomen cause 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.

Not everyone with heartburn has GORD but those who do may have a hiatus hernia which is where some of the stomach ‘slips’ above the diaphragm.

In adults, risk factors include being overweight, smoking, alcohol consumption and a family history. Certain foods will trigger heartburn in certain people but there is no one set of foods to avoid. Caffeine, dairy and spicy foods are common culprits but each person needs to find what disagrees with them.

Prevention includes avoiding known triggers and also not eating too much at one time. Treatment depends on severity and frequency. Simple home remedies such as bicarbonate of soda or herbal teas help some people. Simple antacids can also relieve symptoms. At night it can be helpful to sleep on a slight incline from head down to toes.

If simple approaches fail, you need to see your GP. Often the history is sufficient for diagnosis but you may be sent for tests to rule out other causes.

For ongoing problems there are prescription medications that can reduce acid production. Some people need short courses of these, others need it long term. If symptoms are not relieved after some weeks, you may be referred for a gastroscopy to assess the oesophagus and stomach.

February Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the February edition:

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 be only 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 lack of enjoyment of usual activities, withdrawal from friends and often sleep and appetite disturbance.

There are no blood tests or scans. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms described.

Treatment is effective and divides into non-pharmacological and pharmacological. There are a number of medications which can be used if needed. Counselling through a psychologist or counsellor will be of benefit to many. Your GP can refer you.

Lifestyle measures also help. Eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables and less sugar may help. Cut down on alcohol use. Regular exercise is good for mental health. Meditation or guided relaxation can help. Getting enough sleep is also important. Equally do not stress if your sleep pattern takes a while to get back to normal. Switch off screens at least 30 minutes before bed and have a regular night-time routine.

Regular follow up with your GP is important. Changes in treatment may be needed if you are not making improvement. With recovery, medication (if prescribed) can be reduced and then stopped. You should not stop your medication without talking to your doctor.


December Edition, click HERE

Featured article from the December edition:

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.

Compared to previous generations, most public playgrounds are remarkably safe. The modern synthetic surfaces cushion falls and equipment is designed with safety in mind. However, there is no substitute for watching your children.

Older children can be left more to play independently but younger children need a watchful eye. There is much to be said for parents and carers playing with them, which gives the adults some exercise too.

Trampolines are fun but children need instruction on how to use them safely. Once more, design is far better than in the past. Bicycles are a popular Christmas present and learning to ride a bike is still a childhood joy. While falling off when starting is impossible to avoid, careful assistance and support can minimise major damage.

Running and ball games are fun in summer. It is important for children to wear appropriate footwear and, where applicable, safety equipment.

Injury risk can be minimised but not eliminated. Fortunately, most play-related injuries will be minor. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.

October Edition, click HERE

Feature Article – October Edition

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.

By the age of 50, 50% of men will have some degree of hair loss. The follicle growth cycle begins to weaken making the hairs thinner and eventually the follicle stops producing new hairs. This is influenced by the male hormone, testosterone. The condition isn’t harmful and doesn’t affect hair elsewhere on the body or face.

No tests are needed unless there is concern about other causes of hair loss. There are many different and well-advertised treatments available. The most commonly used treatment is a tablet which blocks the effects of testosterone and is prescribed by your doctor. It does not work in everyone and only works while taken. A lotion rubbed into the scalp can also be used.

Hair transplant is a definitive treatment but can be expensive. Laser treatment is controversial.

While upsetting for some, there is nothing abnormal with going bald. Treating hair loss is big business and treatments vary in their degree of success, so be wary of advertising claims.

August Edition, click HERE HN_August_2017-1
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Feature Article – August Edition

Reflux in Infants

Stomach-acid rising into the oesophagus causes reflux. The typical symptom in adults is a burning sensation in the lower chest – ‘heartburn’ but r 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.

Diagnosis is not always straightforward and is largely based on history. It is rare for any tests to be done.

There are many simple things that you can do to alleviate reflux. Feed your baby while upright keeping the body straight and head higher than the stomach. Avoid placing baby on their back immediately after feeding. Avoid overfeeding. Changing nappy before a feed can help by reducing pressure on the abdomen as does avoiding tight clothes. Gently ‘burp’ baby after feeds. Give smaller feeds more frequently. For bottle fed babies a change in formula can help.

Baby-over-father's-shoulderIn a small percentage of cases simple measures are not enough and medication (generally a proton pump inhibitor) may be prescribed. The medication blocks acid production. This will improve symptoms but, by blocking acid, the absorption of some minerals including iron can be reduced. The tablets are dissolved in water or can be made up as a liquid by the chemist.

In most cases the situation will improve by itself or without medication. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have with your baby’s feeding.


June Edition, click HEREHealthNews_June_2017_Web-1
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Feature Article – June Edition

Croup is a viral infection of the throat and windpipe (trachea) and typically affects children under five years though children up to eight years can contract it. The hallmark symptom is a harsh, dry, barky cough, mostly at night.
Croup generally starts with a ‘cold-like’ runny nose, cough and perhaps a low-grade fever. The symptoms that distinguish croup from a cold are noisy breathing (stridor), the harsh barking cough, and a hoarse voice. In severe cases, if there is difficulty breathing, seek urgent medical attention.
Most cases of croup are mild and need only symptom relief. Croup is viral so antibiotics do not help. Simply comfort your child (it can be scary for small children) and make sure they take adequate fluids. You can use paracetamol or ibuprofen for sore throat or fever as needed (according to weight and directions on the bottle). Traditionally, a vaporiser to humidify the surrounding air was advised but perhaps not these days.
If there is no improvement, or if you have any concerns, see your GP. In more severe cases, a short course of steroid can be effective. There is no specific way to prevent croup apart from general hygiene measures.
Source: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/croup

April Edition, click HEREApril 2017-1
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Feature Article – April Edition

Influenza Vaccination: Key Points

Annual vaccination prevents influenza and its complications and is recommended for any person >6 months of age who wishes to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza. Quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIV) only are available in 2017. They protect against one completely new virus strain. Vaccines are free on the National Immunisation Program in 2017 for:
• Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to <5 years and persons aged ≥15 years
• Everyone aged ≥65 years
• All persons aged ≥6 months at risk of influenza complications; e.g. severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes.
• Pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy).

Influenza vaccination is also strongly recommended, but not funded, for other groups who are at increased risk of influenza and its complications. People with egg allergy can be safely vaccinated, with precautions taken in some cases.

Content from the April EDITION

  • Teething Babies
  • Influenza Vaccination: Key Points
  • Helping with Learning Difficulties
  • Thyroid Tests Serve a Function
  • Profile: Sports Drinks
  • Body Facts…
  • Sudoku
  • Easter Colouring Fun – for the kiddies
  • Recipe: ANZAC Biscuits

February Edition, click HERE HealthNews_February_2017-1
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Feature Article – February Edition

Legionnaires’ disease – gardeners take care!

A severe form of pneumonia is caused by the Legionella bacteria – a few 100 cases are identified to authorities each year ­­– and it usually requires hospital admission and can be fatal.

You get Legionnaires by breathing in water droplets that hold the bacteria. Typically warm water sources are the culprit such as air conditioning systems (cooling towers or evaporative systems), spa pools or water fountains. It can also be contracted from potting mixes, mulch and compost.

Simple gardening tips reduce the chances of infection. Always wear gloves. Keep any soil mix damp while you are using it, avoid inhaling any garden mix and wash your hands after use. women works with animal manure

Other risk factors for Legionnaires are smoking, being over 50 and having a chronic disease.

Typical symptoms are a fever, muscle soreness, headache, tiredness, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms can worsen rapidly, so if you think you may have this disease seek medical advice urgently. Diagnosis is by blood and sputum testing as the symptoms and signs are not specific.

Treatment is with antibiotics, generally in hospital. Most people improve within five days but some take two weeks.

After recovery from Legionnaires, the development of antibodies makes a second infection unlikely, although how long this natural protection lasts is unknown.

Further information: http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/J_M/Legionnaires-disease

Content from the February EDITION

    • Legionnaires’ disease – gardeners take care!
    • Travelling With Peace of Mind
    • Toddlers’ Picky Eating
    • Vertigo – Finding the Balance
    • Exercise Reduces Dementia Risk
    • Swat Pesky Ross River
    • Quiz for that person at home
    • Recipe: French Lentil Salad
  • Word Search

December/Christmas Edition, click HEREhealthnews_december_2016_enewsletter-1
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Feature Article – December Edition

Back-to-School Nutrition

Holidays are over and thoughts will turn to getting children back to school and what to put in that dreaded lunchbox. While lunch boxes can be a difficult problem for parents, they needn’t be.

Before considering lunch, ensure your child eats breakfast every day. This can be an egg, or some fruit with yoghurt or toast. Many breakfast cereals are high in sugar and food colouring, so read the labels carefully. The best drink for your child at
breakfast is water. The sandwich remains a popular lunch. Choose wholegrain or multigrain bread in preference to white. Fillings can be cold meats, vegetables or cheese or whatever your child likes. Wraps are another option. Pack some carrot or celery sticks, a hardboiled egg and fruit – and you have a nutritious and inexpensive lunch! If allergies are not a concern a small pot of mixed seeds, nuts and dried fruit is a healthy recess snack. Just as at breakfast, the best drink during the day is water. Fruit juices are high in sugar so it is better children eat a piece of fruit and drink a glass of water than have fruit juice.

Content from the December EDITION

    • Fun in the Sun
    • Back-to-School Nutrition
    • Swimmer’s Ear
    • ‘I Don’t Want to go to School’
    • Alcohol and the Festive Season
    • Recipe: Seasoned Rolled Pork served with Spiced Apricots
  • Christmas Colouring Fun – for the kiddies

October Edition, click HERE
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Feature Article – October Editionhn_oct_2016

Falls prevention

Falls seem to be a part of getting older – one in three Australians aged 65 or more each year, sometimes causing injury severe enough to require hospital admission. Women make up 70% of these admissions.

Bruising, head injuries, and bone fractures can all result from falls – 12 times more likely than a motor vehicle accident in the elderly. Hip fractures are a particular concern.

The good news is that much can be done personally to prevent falls: regular exercise keeps the muscles and bones stronger and improves balance; tai chi is excellent; properly fitting shoes with slip resistant soles; avoiding alcohol and medications that cause sedation; getting a doctor or pharmacist to review all your regular medications; an annual eye test; and a podiatrist opinion on any foot problems.

Around the home some simple measures can help prevent falls: adequate lighting; handrails in bathrooms and at stairs; clutter removed from corridors; ensure mats or rugs wont slide when stepped on; fix uneven walking surfaces; and wipe up any spills immediately.

Have an adequate intake of vitamin D and calcium, with supplements sometimes. Some people may need medication to improve bone density. Talk to your doctor about a test for osteoporosis.


Content from the October EDITION

    • Childhood Discipline
    • Falls prevention
    • Male Hormone Deficiency
    • Drug-induced liver injury
    • Hot flushes in menopause
    • Recipe: Minute Steaks with Romesco-Dressed Salad
    • Crossword
  • Laughter – the best medicine!

Feature Article – August Aug 2016_WEB-1Edition

Men Reaching Out

Men who find themselves without a partner, friends or parents in middle-age often lack the social support to help them cope. This means the impact on their physical and mental health can be big.

BeyondBlue research has linked social isolation and loneliness to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and depression – the risk to life can be up to five times higher from these things.

We know that social networks are vital to protect against depression – so men with lower social supports are more vulnerable to psychological distress.

BeyondBlue’s Dr Stephen Carbone said while socially isolated men can get by, they do better in the long run with some friends in their life because humans are social creatures and they do better together.

However, men can be their own worst enemies. They might crave greater openness with friends to talk about

personal problems but many admit they lack the skills to start these conversations, or don’t know how to respond when a friend opens up to them.Middle Aged Man Relaxing In Countryside

Some believe men should be silent, resilient, unemotional and self-reliant. If they follow this lead, it makes it harder for them to engage with others, especially other men. For whatever reason, they may stop making the effort, when in truth, social networks need to be nurtured and kept active.

Content from the August EDITION

    • Hay Fever
    • Questions for the other person
    • Men reaching out
    • Fibroids of the uterus
    • Restless Legs Syndrome
    • Nocturnal Enuresis
    • Recipe: zucchini pizza base
    • Sudoku
  • Kid’s colour fun – with crayons

Feature Article – June EditionHN_June 2016_WEB-1

Is it Tonsillitis?

The tonsils sit just behind the back teeth and are part of the body’s immune system. If they are infected you will typically get a sore throat, fever, headache and often, bad breath. However, the vast majority of sore throats are not tonsillitis but rather pharyngitis, which is an infection of the back of the throat and is almost always viral (and therefore not helped by antibiotics).

True tonsillitis may be due to a virus or bacteria and is more common in children. The throat is more acutely painful than in pharyngitis. Your doctor nearly always takes a look at the health of the tonsils when assessing a ‘sore throat’ and will be wary of group A Streptococcus infection (about 1 in 5 cases) which can cause complications like difficulty breathing, drooling, stiff neck, and neck swelling below the lower jaw. The same bacteria can cause acute rheumatic fever, particularly in children of Aboriginal, Maori, or Pacific Islander background.

When in doubt, your doctor may organise a Young girl with sore throatthroat swab to help sort it out.

The viral form of tonsillitis is treated with rest, fluids and pain relief. It will be painful to eat so don’t force it for children or adults. The less common bacterial form will need antibiotics – typically penicillin (unless there is allergy to this drug).

Complications, which are rare now, can include ear or sinus infection or an abscess (called Quinsy). Occasionally, an acute sore throat can be the beginning of a longer bout of glandular fever (Infectious Mononucleosis) or the more risky acute epiglottitis.

In previous generations, removing tonsils was common. Today they are only removed on good grounds including chronic or recurrent (more than four per year) infections or if the enlarged tonsils impact on breathing and contribute to things like sleep apnoea in the toddler.

There is generally no need to see your doctor with a mild sore throat. If it does not settle or you have a fever, or other concerns then always get it checked. Remember that most times antibiotics are not required and tonsils usually do not need to be removed.

Further info: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/tonsillitis

Content from the June EDITION

  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Stroke – know when to call 000
  • STI testing is easy
  • Is it Tonsillitis?
  • Psoriasis
  • Recipe: chicken & vegetable soup
  • Sudoku
  • Laughter: the best medicine

Previous Editions, click HERE*
*you may require the latest edition of Adobe Flash.

Here’s some articles from the last two years…

About Lumpy Breasts
Shingles: What Is It?
I Have GORD: What Next?
Asbestos – the 3rd Wave of Exposure
Shin Splints
Atrial Fibrillation
Puberty – Normal or Not?
Hepatitis C Facts
Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)
Domestic Abuse
Managing Sun Damaged Skin
Kids Activity
Correct Contraception for You
Febrile Convulsions in Children
Beating Christmas Stress
Childhood Vaccinations Help
Middle Ear Infections
Menopause and Me
Your Heart Needs Exercise
‘Boys Don’t Cry’: Men & Suicide
Coping with Chickenpox
Can Antibiotics Cause Thrush?
Grief – the Do’s and Don’ts
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Recipes and more
Health crosswords
Laughter – the Best Medicine