Health Prevention by Dr. Sapna Walles
PREVENTION DURING A PANDEMIC
An Update By Dr. Sapna Walles
We are the fortunate recipients of huge strides made in modern medicine over the past century. We have experienced steady rises in life expectancy, cures for previously devastating diseases, and marked improvements in access to healthcare. With these improvements, a shift from solely disease management to preventive medicine becomes possible.
We have all heard the old adage that “prevention is better than cure”. As a general practitioner, I am privileged to put this into practice every day. On one hand we see the fit young athlete, presenting for their routine skin check. On the other, we see the life long smoker, finally seeking help after years of breathlessness.
Heath behaviours are unique; shaped by the cultural values, socioeconomic factors and general complexities of life. However at every stage of life, regardless of age, gender or cultural background, there are opportunities for disease prevention.
In the chaos of life, to prioritize everything other than ourselves. Despite the devastating impact that Coronavirus has had globally, it has become a forced break for many. A semicolon of sorts. A chance to slow down and take care of those neglected aspects of our lives, including our health.
What have you put off lately?
Did you grow up enjoying endless Aussie summers under the sun? When was your last skin check?
Surely you’ve heard of that grand-aunty or uncle with colon cancer. Did you do that stool test for bowel cancer the Government sent you as a 50th birthday present?
Pap smears are not fun. But have you pushed that dreaded test just a few years too far? Did you know that with improved testing it is now 5 yearly rather than 2 yearly?
Sure, getting your breasts squished by a machine doesn’t sound fun. But if it saves you from breast cancer and potential years of treatment, isn’t that mammogram worth it?
Understandably, we have seen a huge fear response around coronavirus. Rather than using this chance to catch up on our preventative health, most Australians have reduced their general healthcare visits.
Many measures have been instituted to keep our clinics safe. We have to ride out this pandemic. But until then, let’s use this opportunity to get on top of our own health. Come in and see your GP. We are still offering all our usual services, including skin checks, STI screens, and pap smears.
FLU VACCINATIONS ARE STILL AVAILABLE
Why Have the Flu Vaccine?
Influenza can be prevented with a high degree of success when a person receives the current influenza vaccine. This vaccine is made each year and is prepared to protect against a combination of the four mainly anticipated flu viruses. During COVID-19 health authorities have urged Australians to have the flu vaccination as this could avoiding co-infection with Covid-19 and Influenza.
How Effective is the Flu Vaccine?
The influenza vaccine is generally considered to be 79-90% effective in preventing influenza illnesses in healthy adults. It takes approximately 2 weeks after vaccination for a person to develop protection against influenza infection. The flu vaccne does not protect against other respiratory illnesses or viruses.
How Much Does the Flu Vaccine Cost?
Government funded flu vaccines through the National Immunisation Program are available now. This funding is available for the following groups due to their increased risk of complications from the flu.
- All people aged 6 months to less than 5 years (this cohort is newly eligible in 2020)
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
- All people aged 65 years and over
- People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.
Private vaccines are available now at a cost of $20. Should you wish to have the vaccine now, book online with a doctor of your choice.
WE ARE STILL OFFERING TELEHEALTH CONSULTATION
We continue to offer Telehealth consultations, for Coronavirus and non-Coronavirus related conditions!
As the strong urge is to stay home and safe, it is important that your essential medical needs are met, and thus we are able to offer Telehealth (Telephone) consultations so that you may stay at home in your warm, safe and comfortable environment whilst still addressing your health needs. It is incredible how many medical services can be done over the phone, a new concept in Australia but one used internationally for decades.
Needing a repeat prescription? Need a referral for radiology or pathology tests? Wishing to discuss results of recent tests? Feeling overwhelmed, flat, anxious or stressed? Requiring a medical certificate or University Impact statement? Simply book a bulk billed Telehealth consultation and have one of our doctors call you. Prescriptions, referrals, medical certificates and other correspondence can be sent to you via post, email or fax.
We are still committed to maintaining the health and safety of our patients, practice team and doctors, therefore, for ‘high risk patients’ we are offering no face to face consultations and only Telehealth consultations. These include those who have had contact with a confirmed case of Coronavirus or experiencing any flu-like symptoms.
There is no out of pocket cost to have our doctors call you, simply book online or call our reception staff to book a Phone/Telehealth consultation.