are you tick prepared

Are You Tick Prepared?

It’s tick season on the eastern seaboard of Australia and with school holidays approaching are you tick prepared?

The most important tick in Australia is the Paralysis Tick, Ixodes holocyclus, and over 95% of tick bites in Eastern Australia are due to this species.
Distribution of the Australian Paralysis Tick

Distribution of the Australian Paralysis Tick

The Paralysis Tick is most common in moist, humid coastal areas with abundant native animals that serve as hosts for the tick. Long grasses and bushland provide ideal environments for ticks, and if you live close to these areas, it is not uncommon to have Paralysis Ticks in your garden. This tick has a distinct seasonality; the larval stage is most active during the autumn months, the nymph during winter and the adult during the spring.

This tick is most active during periods of high humidity, especially after rain, and this is when you should take particular care to avoid tick bites.

life cycle of the australian paralysis tick

Life Cycle of the Australian Paralysis Tick
The adult tick is 4mm before feeding on blood and up to 13mm after feeding on blood

A tick attaches itself by piercing its sharp mouthparts into skin. It then injects an anticoagulant (a substance that prevents blood from forming clots) saliva which allows it to feed without the blood clotting. In the case of the Paralysis Tick, the saliva may be highly toxic to some animals and, potentially, humans.

Most tick bites pose no medical problems apart from some localised swelling and redness at the bite site if the tick is removed promptly and properly. However, in some cases, people can experience more severe conditions such as tick paralysis or allergic reactions including anaphylactic shock. Early symptoms of tick paralysis may include rashes, headache, fever, influenza like symptoms, tenderness of lymph nodes, unsteady gait, intolerance to bright light, increased weakness of the limbs and partial facial paralysis. Tick paralysis, while rare, is usually seen in children rather than adults. Allergic reactions can result in swelling of the throat, and may lead to breathing difficulties or collapse. It is important to seek medical attention quickly if such symptoms occur. If you have had similar symptoms in the past after being bitten by a tick, then it is a good idea to always be prepared.

Recently a new syndrome known as “tick-induced mammalian meat allergy” has been described, whereby people bitten by the Paralysis Tick can subsequently develop an anaphylactic reaction to consuming meats and animal by-products such as gelatine. The allergic reactions to meat are typically delayed for 2-10 hours after eating the meat. The allergen in the meat to which people react is called “alphagal”. Some people are so sensitive to alphagal, they react to mammal products, particularly, their milk and gelatine. Any product derived from mammals may cause allergic reactions, making avoidance very difficult as the allergen may be found in a wide range of agents used in medical treatments, as well as in foods.
 

How to prevent tick bites?

The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid tick-infested areas.

If this is not possible, wear appropriate clothing such as a long sleeved shirt, long pants tucked into socks and light coloured clothing to make it easier to see ticks on clothes before they attach to the skin.

Before entering possible tick infected environments apply an insect repellent containing diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) or picaridin to the skin. The higher the concentration of these ingredients, the longer the product will remain effective. We stock Bushman’s and Tropical Aeroguard at Fresh Therapeutics. “All natural” products aren’t recommended as they haven’t been proven effective.

Be thorough when applying repellents – think of it like sunscreen – if you miss an exposed bit it’s likely to get sunburn – likewise for repellents; they only protect the places they’ve been applied. The repellent should be applied and re-applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Clothing treated with permethrin is also recommended. Permethrin wash kits for treating clothes can be obtained from outdoor recreational stores and it is important to follow the label directions. Permethrin-treated clothing is considered the most effective means of preventing tick bite in tick infested areas.

All clothing should be removed after visiting tick infested areas and placed into a hot dryer for 20 minutes to kill any tick that could be still on the clothing. The entire body should be then checked for ticks of all sizes and stages, paying particular attention to areas behind the ears and the back of the head or neck, especially on children. Ticks can take up to 2 hours to actually bite you once they’ve found their way onto your skin and even then may go unnoticed for one to two days before you feel the effects of their bite.

life stages of tick

Life Stages of the Tick
Very small ticks sometimes called “grass ticks” or “seed ticks” are in fact juvenile Australian Paralysis Ticks. These will rapidly grow to adult size at which point they’re at their most dangerous and will then lay up to 10,000 eggs before they die

 

Treating Tick Bites

Watch this video that demonstrates the safest way to remove ticks

 

Adult Ticks

Kill the tick where it is using an ether-containing spray such as Wartec ® Wartner Freeze Off ® Wart-off ® available at Fresh Therapeutics. Hold the spray approximately 0.5cm above the tick and spray 5 times until the tick is frozen.

Then, either wait for it to drop off or seek medical attention for it to be removed using tick removal tweezers (fine-tipped only) taking care to not squeeze the tick because this would cause tick saliva to enter your body, increasing the risk of tick- induced allergies.

For Adult Ticks: “FREEZE IT DON’T SQUEEZE IT”

 

Nymph and Larval Ticks (may look like a splinter)

  • Dab on a blob of permethrin cream (Lyclear ®) to cover the tick (do not rub in)
  • Leave for three hours and then wipe off

NB: There are limited data regarding permethrin use in pregnancy and it is not known whether it can be present in breast milk. During pregnancy, try to avoid exposure to ticks.

For Nymph and Larval Ticks: “DAB IT DON’T GRAB IT”

 

DO NOT:

  • Use household tweezers to remove a tick – they are too wide at the tips and you will inevitably squeeze the tick’s body forcing toxins into your blood
  • Try to scratch or pull it out with your fingernails. Also, don’t scratch something you can’t see if there’s any chance it might be a tick.
  • Try to burn it with a match or lighter.
  • Apply any sort of substance to it. Lyclear Cream is the only substance that should be used (see below).

If the tick is close to the eyes or genitals don’t attempt to remove it yourself but seek medical assistance.
 
At Fresh Therapeutics we have what you need to be tick prepared:

  • DEET and picardin Sprays
  • Lyclear ® Cream
  • Freeze off Sprays
  • Tick tweezers

 
Acknowledgements:
http://www.tiara.org.au/
http://ticksafe.com.au/tick-bite-first-aid/
https://allergyfacts.org.au/shop/food-preparation-tools/allergen-cards/allergen-card-mammalian-meat

taking antibiotics

Antibiotic Awareness: Antibiotics Will Not Help You Get Over a Cold or Flu Faster

Colds and flu are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are medicines used to treat bacterial infections and diseases. Colds and flu are caused by viruses.
 

Viruses

Viruses are a type of tiny organism that can cause illness. When you have a cold, you may sneeze and have a blocked or a runny nose, a sore throat and a cough. Colds rarely cause serious harm, but they can still make you feel unwell. Colds usually get better in 7–10 days, but a cough can last up to three weeks. Influenza, commonly known as ‘the flu’, is different to a cold although both are caused by viruses. Flu symptoms usually start suddenly with a high fever and you may feel unwell and need to rest. You may have a dry cough, shivering, sweating and severe muscle aches.
 

Bacterial infections

antibiotics

Antibiotics are medicines used to treat diseases and infections caused by bacteria. Bacterial infections can affect the throat, lungs, skin, bowel, and many other parts of the body. While some infections are severe, many are mild. These diseases can be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics interfere with the vital processes in bacteria, killing the bacteria or stopping them from multiplying. However, they do not work against viruses. Therefore, not all illnesses and diseases can be treated with an antibiotic.
 

Antibiotics don’t kill viruses

People who have a cold or the flu may think that antibiotics will help them get better faster. This is not true. Antibiotics do not kill viruses so will have no effect on viruses such as those causing colds or the flu. If you are normally healthy and well, your body can usually clear the viral infection causing the cold or flu by itself. Antibiotics will not help people get over a cold or flu faster, they won’t stop the infection from getting worse, and won’t prevent the infection being passed onto other people.
 

Possible side effects of antibiotic use

upset stomach

Antibiotics may cause side effects such as:

  • diarrhea
  • stomach upsets
  • thrush
  • allergic reactions

 

Protection against influenza

The yearly flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu. It is ideal to have the flu vaccine in autumn each year. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for further information.
 

Self Care for colds and flu

Colds and flu usually get better on their own, but there are things that you can do:

  • Get plenty of sleep and rest, and stay comfortably warm.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Carefully breathe in steam (e.g. from inhalations, vaporizers, showers, baths) to loosen mucus.
  • Blow your nose gently with a tissue and dispose.
  • Try drinking honey and lemon in warm water.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Wash children’s dummies and toys regularly.
  • Avoid sharing eating or drinking utensils.
  • Eat regular, healthy meals, fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Limit foods high in salt, sugar, and fat.
  • Keep hands away from nose, mouth, and eyes.

 

Overuse of antibiotics

If you use antibiotics when you don’t need to, such as treating colds and flu, it could make the antibiotic less effective when they are needed. This is called antibiotic resistance. When bacteria become antibiotic resistant, the antibiotic will no longer work against that infection. This can make infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria difficult to treat, last for a long time and spread to other people. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is the third biggest threat to human health. Therefore, it is very important to only use antibiotics when appropriate. Do not expect doctors to prescribe antibiotics for viral illnesses such as colds and flu. This will encourage the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
 

When antibiotics are needed

a sick child taking antibiotics2Certain people may be more likely to develop complications from respiratory tract infections. Complications are often bacterial infections that need antibiotics. People with chronic conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes, immune problems) are more likely to need an antibiotic to treat respiratory tract infections. There are illnesses that need to be treated with antibiotics. Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that can be caused by bacteria. Antibiotics will be prescribed if pneumonia is caused by bacteria. Always ask your doctor how long you need to take a prescribed antibiotic. It may not always be necessary to “Take until finished”.

ALSO READ:
Diabetes – Are You At Risk?

If you have a cold or the flu, speak with our pharmacists at Fresh Therapeutics. We can give you detailed information about colds and flu and suggest treatment and prevention options. We stock Self Care Fact Cards such as those titled Colds and flu, Coughs and Antibiotics.

NPS MedicineWise is a helpful consumer website that has information about colds and flu, antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, and bacteria. NPS MedicineWise can be found at www.nps.org.au The NPS holds an annual Antibiotic Awareness Week that encourages consumers to “Handle Antibiotics with Care”

 

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia: Self Care Health Column

Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide

Sense in the Sun: Skin Cancer Awareness

In Australia each year more than 2,000 people die of skin cancer During National Skin Cancer Action Week 2017 (19–25 November). Let’s remember to protect ourselves and our family from sun damage. Skin cancer is common in Australia. Approximately two-thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.

In 2017, it is estimated that 13,941 new cases of melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed. As summer approaches, these statistics should serve as a wake-up call to all Australians about the importance of sun protection. The incidence of skin cancer has risen in Australia. In 1982, the number of new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed was 3,527, and this has increased to 12,744 new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in 2013.
 

Types of Skin Cancer

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Australia, and is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women. Over 750,000 people each year are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia. Melanoma is the third most common cancer affecting Australians (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), and the most common cancer in Australians aged 15– 29 years. While the five-year relative survival rate for melanoma is 88% for Australian men and 93% for Australian women, unfortunately in 2014 more than 2,000 people in Australia died from skin cancer. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be prevented simply by ensuring good sun protection.
 

Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer

National Skin Cancer Action Week 2017 (19–25 November) reminds us of what we can do to ensure good sun protection:

  • slip on sun-protective clothing
  • slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
  • slap on a broad-brimmed hat
  • seek shade
  • slide on sunglasses

There is no such thing as a safe tan. Solariums are banned in Australia as they are not a safe way to tan and significantly increase the risk of skin cancer.

RELATED: Show You Care About Beating Cancer
 

‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide’

The ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign, initiated over 35 years ago, has been recognised as one of Australia’s most successful health campaigns. The campaign has more recently been modified to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide’ (referring to seeking shade and sliding on wraparound sunglasses to prevent sun damage). A combination of these sun protection measures along with getting to know your skin and regularly checking so you can pick up on any changes are the keys to reducing skin cancer risk.
 

Australian research finds a reduction in non-melanoma cancers with twice daily Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

A trial was conducted across the Royal Prince Alfred and Westmead Hospitals and included 386 patients who were randomly assigned to receive either a twice daily dose of nicotinamide or a placebo for one year. All the patients had been diagnosed with at least two non-melanoma skin cancers in the previous 5 years, which meant they were at a high risk of developing more cancers. During the twelve months of the study, this group of patients collectively grew 800 new skin cancers.

The team found that at 12 months, the rate of non-melanoma skin cancers was 23% lower in the nicotinamide group than in the placebo group. The number of precancerous lesions was also 13% lower among the people taking nicotinamide compared to those not taking nicotinamide.

Professor Diana Damian, the lead researcher in the study, has emphasised that using nicotinamide to prevent skin cancer is a high-dose treatment rather than a supplement. “This treatment is only for people with a defined medical condition – multiple skin cancers. It’s not suitable for the general population, as we do not have any evidence that it would be beneficial in a lower risk setting.”

Before taking nicotinamide, people should consult with their dermatologist or general practitioner to see whether nicotinamide is suitable for them. It is also very important that people planning to take vitamin B3 take the amide form, nicotinamide, and not the nicotinic acid form. “Nicotinic acid has a range of unpleasant side effects – including flushing, headache and low blood pressure – that we don’t see with nicotinamide”, says Professor Damian.

At Fresh Therapeutics, we stock nicotinamide tablets and our staff can provide information about the medicine.
 

Other Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer (including both melanoma and nonmelanoma) is the most common cancer in Australia, with melanoma the most deadly form. Not to be understated, there are also other skin cancers which can be malignant and cause painful and disfiguring lesions.
 

Solar keratosis

These are more commonly known as sunspots. New therapies are now available to treat pre-cancerous solar keratosis.

  • These spots can vary in appearance.
  • They may appear scaly, rough or wart-like.
  • They are common on sites which are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the backs of the hands and the face (including the ears, nose, cheeks, upper lip, temples and forehead).

 

Getting to Know Your Skin

It is important to get to know your own skin and identify sun damage. A first step is to check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have doubts about any changes either in skin appearance or in the colour of moles and freckles.

ABCD of Melanoma

A new spot or an existing spot that changes in colour, size or shape should be checked by your doctor.

The Cancer Council website also has useful information on checking for signs of skin cancer: www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sunprotection/check-for-signs-of-skin-cancer.html 

At Fresh Therapeutics, we can help you to choose the best sunscreen for your skin and provide advice on how to be SunSmart. We also have a range of after sun preparations and provide the Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Fact Card entitled Sense in the Sun.

 
Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Program Health Column

mental illness help | Fresh Therapeutics

Looking After Your Mental Health

Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which individuals realise their own potential, cope with normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully and make a contribution to their community.

Mental illness on the other hand, describes a number of diagnosable disorders that can significantly interfere with a person’s cognitive, emotional, or social abilities.

The annual cost of mental illness in Australia is estimated at $20 billion in lost productivity and reduced labour force participation.

mental health

World Mental Health Day occurs on 10 October every year. The aim of this day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘mental health in the workplace’.

Poor mental health can have a large impact on individual employees as well as employers. A mentally healthy workplace increases personal and organisational resilience and success.
 

Mental Illness Affects Many Australians

  • Each year approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness.
  • Mental illnesses are the third leading cause if disability burden in Australia, accounting for an estimated 27% of the total years lost due to disability.
  • Prevalence of mental illness decreases with age but is greatest among 18-24 year olds.
  • Women are more likely than men to seek help for anxiety disorders (18% compared with 11%) and mood disorders (7.1% compared with 5.3%). Women are also more likely to use services for mental health problems than men.
  • In 2007, 45% of Australian aged 16-85 years old reported that they would have met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder at some point in their life.
  • In any 12 months, approximately 14% of Australians will be affected by an anxiety disorder.
  • The annual cost of mental illness in Australia has been estimated at $20 billion, which is the cost of lost productivity and reduced labour force participation.

 

Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health in the workplace is important. Poor mental health has a large impact on individual employees as well as employers. A mentally healthy workplace increases personal and organisational resilience and success.
 

Signs of Mental Health Strain

unhealthy workplace

Be aware of some common signs that may suggest someone at work is struggling with their mental health:

  • Emotional signs, such as being irritable, sensitive to criticism, showing lack of confidence that is not normal, or losing their sense of humour.
  • Changes in work performance, such as making more mistakes than usual, having difficulty making decisions or being unable to concentrate.
  • Behavioural changes, such as arriving late, not having lunch breaks, taking time off, not joining in conversations, unable to meet deadlines, or behaving in a way that is out of character.
  • Physical signs, such as having an ongoing cold, being tired at work, rapid weight loss or gain, or not making an effort with their appearance.

If you are concerned about someone that you work with, ask if they are okay, and encourage them to seek support. Heads Up, developed by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and Beyond Blue, has resources and information to help you support work colleagues.

Self Care

At Fresh Therapeutics, we have a range of FREE resources produced by Beyond Blue as well as the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards on topics such as Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress disorders, Sleep Problems, and Relaxation Techniques. Our pharmacists can sit down with you and discuss medicines (including natural medicines) and how they may or may not affect your mental health.

Drop in for a chat today.

infertility problems | Fresh Therapeutics

Fertility Factors for Life

“One in six Australian couples has infertility problems”

Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse, or the inability to carry pregnancies to a live birth.

Many couples suffering infertility problems can be successfully treated with lifestyle changes, or medical or surgical interventions. For a fertile couple in their twenties having regular unprotected sex, the chance of conceiving each month is only 25%. Infertility is shared equally among men and women.

Common causes of infertility

Causes of infertility are many and varied and involve male, female or a combination of factors. These include problems with:

  •         the production of sperm or eggs
  •         the structure or function of male or female reproductive systems
  •         hormonal and immune conditions
  •         sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia

There are degrees of infertility. The majority of infertile couples are actually sub-fertile – they produce eggs and sperm but have difficulty conceiving due to disorders such as hormone imbalances and problems of the reproductive tract. Cases of total infertility, where no eggs or sperm are produced, are rare.

Key factors affecting fertility

  •         Age
  •         weight
  •         smoking
  •         alcohol use
  •         timing
  •         nutrition
  •         caffeine consumption
  •         exposure to certain toxins.

The Your Fertility website (https://yourfertility.org.au) contains information on fertility, including information on factors affecting fertility. By paying attention to certain lifestyle factors, the chances of fertility and having a healthy baby are improved.

A woman’s age is the number one factor affecting a couple’s likelihood of conceiving, as the number of healthy eggs your ovary contains will dramatically decline as you age – especially once you are over 35.

Key ways to improve fertility

  • Stop Smoking

Men and women who smoke often take longer to conceive than those who do not smoke.

– Women who are exposed to other people’s smoking are at increased risk of infertility.

– Male and female smoking significantly reduces the chance of conception and live birth rates, as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage.

Your friendly local pharmacist can discuss the risks of smoking with you and provide advice on strategies, information and treatments such as nicotine replacement therapy to help with quitting smoking.

  • Limit caffeine intake to 1–2 cups of coffee per day.
  • Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Alcohol can affect both male and female fertility.

– In men alcohol can cause impotence, reduced libido and affect sperm quality.   

 Heavy drinking can reduce the chances of having a healthy baby.

  • Exercise

The Your Fertility website has information on the impact of exercise on fertility.

   Regular moderate exercise is beneficial for both men and women

   Moderate regular exercise can improve fertility

   High intensity and high-frequency exercise may reduce fertility

   A healthy body weight improves the chance of conceiving

   Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day

   Talk to your doctor about the best types of physical activities and exercise for you.

  •  Monitor your menstrual cycle

Women can keep a daily record of their menstrual cycle to help recognise when they are more fertile in order to plan a pregnancy. The Your Fertility website has an online ovulation calculator and a tool to help you gauge your fertility potential.

At Fresh Therapeutics our pharmacist can advise on key fertility factors. They can provide you with products used to monitor your menstrual cycle in order to help you recognise the ‘fertile window’ – the best time to try and conceive. This is different for every woman.

In addition, we provide the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards on titles including; Pregnancy and ovulation and Menstrual chart, as well as lifestyle topics such as Alcohol, Staying a non-smoker, and Weight and health.  We also stock and provide advice on a range of vitamins and minerals for the pre and post conception period.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

 

hearing impairment

Hearing is Precious and Fragile

One in six of all Australians have some type of hearing loss.

August 20–26 is Hearing Awareness Week.

This week is a time for greater community awareness of hearing impairment across all ages. It is a time to look at ways to protect your hearing from future damage due to loud noise, particularly at work.

Hearing Awareness Week is a major event for the Deafness Foundation working with organisations that have similar goals. Events will be organised as well as community screenings for hearing throughout this week.

Those living with hearing loss will have an opportunity to share their experience and knowledge as well as create a greater understanding of their needs and aspirations. It is a chance to explain to Australians what the risks are when exposed to excessive noise, including in the workplace.

Your wondrous ear

The ear is a complex piece of equipment consisting of many parts – not just the visible exterior section – and is responsible not only for hearing but for maintaining balance as well. The outer ear captures sound waves which causes the eardrum to vibrate and the tiny bones in the middle ear to move too. The vibrations pass on to the inner ear to cause tiny hair cells to move. This then causes electrical signals which are sent to the brain, and then deciphered to sound.

Your ears, in combination with your sight and senses, helps maintain balance. The vestibular system, in the inner ear, contains tubes and sacs that are filled with fluid. When movement occurs, this fluid also moves which bends specialised sensory cells. This then leads to an electrical signal to the brain, which is interpreted as movement. Your eyes and muscles can then adjust to help your body maintain balance.

At times problems can occur with this complicated system, due to many causes:

  • ageing
  • ear wax blockage
  • a head injury or trauma
  • loud noise for too long
  • loud noise from industrial environments such as building sites, transport and mining for example using power tools
  • loud noise from exposure to loud music, car racing
  • medications – such as anti-inflammatories and certain antidepressants.

The Hearing Awareness Week website identifies a host of possible causes of noise which can damage hearing – from jack hammers to Formula One racing, food processors and car horns. It describes the maximum safe exposure time without ear protection.

Visit their website and find out ‘how loud is too loud?’ with respect to your favourite electrical device or music event.

‘Noise destroys – turn down the volume’ is the message from the Australian Tinnitus Association. Tinnitus is a condition where noises or ringing in the ears or head occurs. Many of us experience tinnitus from time to time.

Common risk factors

  • ageing
  • a genetic (inherited) disorder
  • high blood pressure or narrowing of the arteries
  • smoking – can induce tinnitus
  • gender – men are more likely to experience tinnitus.

Possible aggravating factors for tinnitus include:

  • some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory and certain antidepressant medicines
  • caffeine (found in tea, coffee, cola drinks or chocolate)
  • alcohol may worsen tinnitus
  • smoking narrows the blood vessels that supply vital oxygen to the ears. Quitting smoking can help with managing tinnitus.

There is no cure for tinnitus but we can learn how to manage it.

Tips for healthy hearing

  • Avoid too much noise
  • Buy appliances and devices with a low noise rating
  • Wear hearing protection such as earplugs or noise cancelling headphones
  • Walk away from noise
  • Remove earwax carefully
  • Check medications for hearing risks
  • Don’t smoke
  • Have your hearing checked.

When to see your doctor

  • If you notice any deterioration of your hearing
  • Feel as though people are mumbling all the time
  • If you have any buzzing, ringing, hissing, clicking or roaring
  • If you have sudden hearing loss
  • Often misunderstand what people are saying
  • Get complaints that you have the radio or television too loud.

Treatment for common ear problems is often relatively easy, provided the cause can be identified early on. At Fresh Therapeutics pharmacies we provide advice on a range of options. We also provide the Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Fact Card entitled Ear problems that can help with hints on how to reduce the risk of ear problems and how to treat those problems effectively when they do occur.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

Breast Feeding Mother

Medicines and Breastfeeding

Medicines and Breastfeeding 5 things you need to know about medicines and breastfeeding

Breast is best. However if you are breastfeeding, ask our pharmacists at Fresh Therapeutics before you take a medicine (prescription or over the counter), natural remedy or complementary medicine as:

1. Some medicines can reduce milk flow or production

2. Many medicines pass from mother’s bloodstream into milk supply but usually in amounts too small to be harmful to baby

3. Some medicines that pass into breast milk can affect baby and some can be harmful to baby

4. Some herbal remedies, natural products and complementary medicines can pass into breast milk and affect baby

5. Medicines in creams on the breast may be ingested by baby

For more advice and information see us in-store, check out the full article about medicines and breastfeeding below.


MEDICINES AND BREASTFEEDING – WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. It is celebrated every year around the world to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies worldwide. This year’s theme is ‘Sustaining breastfeeding together’. This theme focusses on working together for the common good.

Australian statistics from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey showed that although most babies (96%) in Australia were initially breastfed, only 39% of babies were exclusively breastfed to 3 months, and only 15% were breastfed to 5 months.

‘Exclusive breastfeeding’ means the child receives only breast milk (including expressed milk) and no other fluids, food or water (with the exception of vitamins, minerals and medicines where necessary). The National Health and Medical Research Council’s Infant Feeding Guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants until 6 months of age, with combined complementary food and breastfeeding until 12 months of age. Breastfeeding provides health benefits for both breastfed babies and breastfeeding mothers.

Let’s consider taking medicines when breastfeeding.

Medicines can be defined as either prescription (only available with a prescription from a healthcare professional such as a doctor), over-the-counter (available without a prescription, often from a pharmacy) and complementary (e.g. herbal, natural and alternative medicines). Most medicines pass into breast milk but usually only in very small quantities. These quantities are generally too small to be harmful to the baby.

Many women will take some kind of medicine when breastfeeding. Some breastfeeding mothers may need to take medicine regularly to treat a medical condition. Others may take medicine occasionally when required to treat a sudden, limiting condition such as a headache, cough or cold. It is important when using any medicine while breastfeeding to consider the benefits to the mother compared with any risk it may pose to the baby. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.

Before taking any medicines, ask the pharmacist if they are safe to take while breastfeeding and confirm the correct dose. Check the active ingredients as the type and strength may differ between brands and you do not want to take more than is required. If you are unsure, always check with the pharmacist. Medicines such as simple pain relievers (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) are safe to take by breastfeeding mothers in the lowest recommended dose.

Many cough and cold medicines contain a combination of ingredients to treat the symptoms of coughs and colds. Some of the active ingredients in these preparations may interfere with the mother’s ability to make milk (e.g. oral decongestants), or cause side effects in your baby (e.g. codeine, sedating antihistamines, or oral decongestants). Avoid cough and cold preparations that contain a combination of ingredients when breastfeeding. Instead, if needed, it is sometimes safer to use cough and cold preparations with only one active ingredient to treat a specific symptom of your cold. Other ways of relieving cough and cold symptoms that do not require taking medicines include resting, drinking plenty of water, gargling warm, salty water or drinking honey and lemon drinks to soothe the throat.

Some medicines should not be taken when breastfeeding. Chemotherapy agents (drugs for cancer), ergotamine derivatives (e.g. bromocriptine), gold salts, iodine, amiodarone (used for heart rhythm problems), radiopharmaceuticals (for nuclear medicine scans), and illegal or street drugs should not be taken when breastfeeding.

At Fresh Therapeutics we provide you with advice about taking medicines when breastfeeding. We subscribe to the Royal Womens’ Hospital Pregnancy and Beastfeeding Medicines Guide. We may be able to suggest alternative ways of helping relieve troublesome symptoms such as using a nasal spray rather than taking a tablet. Always make your doctor and pharmacist aware that you are breastfeeding if you are being prescribed or taking medicines.

We also have more detailed information on medicines and breastfeeding in the Pharmaceuticals Society’s Self Care Fact Card Medicines and breastfeeding available at Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies.

Remember: always talk to a pharmacist, doctor, or other health professional before taking any medicine when breastfeeding and take the exact dose prescribed.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Health Column


Get your freebies! Fresh Therapeutics is a collection point for both: Mother To Be Bounty Bags + New Mother Bounty Bags while stocks last.

Fresh Therapeutics has mother and baby services including Baby Weighing ServiceBreast Pump AdviceMedicines and Breastfeeding Advice. At both locations, we offer specialised compounding services for babies or children that have difficulty swallowing or tolerating a manufactured medicine. We work with you and your doctor to customise a medicine to meet the individual needs of your child – it may be sugar-free, alcohol-free, preservative free, colour or dye free or simply, easier to take.

Dental Health Week

Dental Health Week

Dental Health Week, which this year runs from 7 to 13 August, is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event. It aims to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health in every aspect of their lives.

Dental Health Week has three main objectives:

  •         Promote oral health education and awareness in the general community.
  •         Motivate and educate dental professionals to promote oral health.
  •         Encourage ongoing collaboration within the dental profession.

This year, the theme of Dental Health Week is ‘oral health for busy lives’. This week aims to help people understand and appreciate that regardless of their individual life circumstances and how busy they are, caring for teeth and gums can be done. Care for teeth and gums may be seen as optional and something extra to do, and can be forgotten if more urgent tasks arise. However, caring for teeth and gums is vital. This week, the Australian Dental Association encourages people to take time to brush and floss their teeth properly, and to make booking an appointment with your dentist a priority.

Many people think that it’s perfectly normal for their gums to bleed when they brush or floss. But, of course, it’s not. Bleeding is usually a sign that something untoward has happened to your body. Bleeding gums are a sign that your gums are inflamed due to disease-causing bacteria. Ignoring bleeding which results from brushing and flossing means you stand a real risk of developing a serious form of gum disease.

The two main stages of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease that occurs when dental plaque (the bacterial film that covers the surfaces of your mouth) builds up on your teeth, particularly where the gum and tooth meet. When this happens, your gums may appear red, swollen, feel extra sensitive, and bleed easily. Fortunately, gingivitis doesn’t lead to a loss of the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and can be reversed with twice daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.

Ignoring the bleeding caused by gingivitis could lead to the more serious form of gum disease periodontitis. The reason this disease is so serious is that it causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, forming spaces (known as ‘pockets’) that can easily become infected. Naturally your body’s immune system fights the infection, but this response and the bacterial toxins generated by the infection combine to create a toxic brew that breaks down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and, in severe cases, can lead to their removal.

In addition to plaque, which is largely responsible for the development of gum disease, the health of your gums can also be affected by:

  •         smoking and tobacco use
  •         genetic predisposition
  •         systemic diseases like diabetes and arthritis
  •         stress and poor nutrition
  •         hormonal fluctuations (e.g. those experienced during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause).

Dental Health Week is the perfect time to think about to how you brush your teeth. Most people do not think much about how they brush their teeth, apart from squirting on some toothpaste and scrubbing back and forth. But as your dentist will tell you, how you brush your teeth matters a great deal. That’s because brushing plays a critical role in removing the plaque that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. You’ve probably heard that message a thousand times, but there’s a good chance you’re not brushing correctly or as frequently as you should. How often you brush, how long you brush for, the kind of technique and toothbrush you use all have a major impact on the effectiveness of your brushing. For example, did you know that you should be brushing for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day? Most people don’t come close to brushing for that long and often brush their teeth quickly and distractedly, in the middle of many other pressing tasks. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions on proper brushing technique, or if you are unsure about the best toothbrush for you.

Some medicines have side effects such as dry mouth that can affect oral health. As medicine experts our pharmacists can provide advice on how to manage these side effects. At Fresh Therapeutics we stock products to help people living with dental and oral hygiene issues, and we provide advice on these products. We also compound specialised mouthwashes prescribed by doctors and dentists.

In addition, as a member of the  Pharmaceutical  Society of Australia Self Care Program we have Fact Cards available that include titles such as Dry mouth, Mouth ulcers, Oral health and Menopause.

Come to Fresh Therapeutics for more advice and service about preventing tooth and gum disease.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

 

Food Additive Allergies

Compounding for Food and Food Additive Allergies

compounding for food - food allergiesAustralia has one of the highest reported incidences of food allergies in the world, and the numbers are growing at an alarming rate with one in 10 babies born in Australia today forecast to develop a food allergy. Food allergy is an allergic response to particular foods or food additives. Food intolerance occurs when the body has a chemical reaction to eating a particular food or drink. Unlike food allergies, intolerances do not involve the body’s immune system. Food intolerance symptoms include headaches, bloating, wind, nausea, mouth ulcers or hives, and can occur several hours after a food is eaten.

An allergic reaction can quickly become life threatening and people can die from food allergy. It’s up to all of us to be allergy aware – to know how to minimise the risk of a reaction, to know what to do if a reaction happens, and to understand and support family, friends and colleagues living with food allergies.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) is a charitable, not for profit organisation whose aim is to improve awareness of allergy in the Australian community. They do this by sharing current information, education, advocacy, research, guidance and support.

The signs and symptoms of a food allergic reaction may occur almost immediately after eating or most often within 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating. Rapid onset and development of potentially life threatening symptoms are characteristic markers of anaphylaxis.

Allergic symptoms may initially appear mild or moderate but can progress very quickly. The most dangerous allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) involve the respiratory system (breathing) and/or cardiovascular system (heart and blood pressure).

Common signs and symptoms of food allergy:

  • ·         hives, welts or body redness
  • ·         difficult and/or noisy breathing
  • ·         swelling of the face, lips, eyes, throat or tongue
  • ·         vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea
  • ·         tingling of the mouth
  • ·         difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • ·         wheeze or persistent cough
  • ·         persistent dizziness and/or collapse

Removing allergens from the house makes life much easier for the allergy sufferer; however this isn’t always possible, particularly if the allergen is egg or milk, often staple, healthy foods for most of the family. Always read food labels on purchasing foods and then again when about to eat them.

If you do have the allergen in your home, try these tips:

  • Wash contaminated kitchen utensils in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher.
  • Use disposable paper towelling to wipe surfaces where the allergen has been used to avoid contaminating your everyday sponge or dishcloth.
  • If egg allergic, use a sealed labelled container in the fridge to contain foods like mayonnaise, eggs, Pavlova, leftover quiche, or muffins.
  • Use a labelled basket in the fridge and/or pantry for foods that are safe for the person with a particular food allergy to eat. Place it on the top shelf of the fridge so other foods cannot spill into it.
  • Use separate oil for cooking food for the person with a food allergy.

Your doctor may recommend you carry an injectable dose of adrenaline with you at all times. Adrenaline is used in severe reactions and can be a life-saving measure. Adrenaline is available for eligible patients on the PBS and can also be bought over the counter after a pharmacist consultation.

The risk of developing food allergies is greater if you have a family history of allergic conditions. If you or your partner has an allergy, your child has a 30 per cent chance of inheriting the allergic gene and therefore could develop eczema, asthma, hay fever or a food allergy. If both parents have a history of some allergic condition, your child has a 40 to 60 per cent chance of having a child with some form of allergy.

Some medicines contain preservatives or food additives for colouring or flavouring that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Ask your pharmacist if a medicine contain a preservative or additive that may upset you. If you need a medicine that has an additive that causes a problem we can compound the medicine into a different formulation without the allergen.  Ask your doctor to contact Fresh Therapeutics to discuss the best formulation for you.

It is important to speak to a health professional about any concerns you may have. If you or someone you care for has a reaction to any food, seek medical advice. If you are worried about a serious reaction, call an ambulance or go directly to hospital.

Diabetes – Are You at Risk?

diabetes - are you at riskAt Fresh Therapeutics our trained pharmacists support people with Diabetes Type I or Type II and help people recognise their risk of developing Type II diabetes.

Diabetes is recognised as the world’s fastest growing chronic condition. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing in each country. In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas estimated that:

  •         one in 11 adults has diabetes (415 million)
  •         one in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes
  •         three-quarters (75%) of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries
  •         542,000 children have type 1 diabetes
  •         every six seconds a person dies from diabetes (5 million deaths).

Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and also the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system. In Australia, 280 people develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes. More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year. The total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia is estimated at $14.6 billion.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood. This happens if the body is not producing insulin or if insulin is not working properly. Glucose is a particular type of sugar – it is needed to provide energy for the body. Insulin is required to enable glucose to enter the body’s cells and be converted to energy. Insulin also allows glucose to be stored in muscle, the liver, and other tissues.

There are a number of different types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas does not produce insulin. This type represents 10–15% of all cases of diabetes and is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in developed nations. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented.

Most people with diabetes (85-90% of cases), have type 2 diabetes. They still produce insulin but it does not work as well or the pancreas does not make enough insulin. It usually affects mature adults, but younger people, even children, are now getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who have low levels of physical activity or are overweight or obese, but it also occurs in people who have a family history of diabetes and people with other risk factors (e.g. increasing age or poor diet).

Less well known is gestational diabetes – a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy and mostly disappears after the birth. This type may be caused by the woman’s body not being able to make enough insulin or not being able to use it correctly during pregnancy. It is usually found by having a blood test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A balanced diet and regular physical activity are key elements of preventing and managing diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the chance of getting diabetes. While the underlying causes of obesity are complex, the resulting problems are well known; type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, osteoarthritis and sleep apnoea are some of these problems.

It is important to take a balanced view with regard to nutrition, drawing on a range of foods rather than focusing on single nutrients as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. No single food is responsible for weight gain

Visit Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies to learn more about diabetes and how it can be managed. If you have any of the risk factors for diabetes such as excess weight or smoking, now is the perfect time to ask our pharmacists about lifestyle changes.

At Fresh Therapeutics we offer a range of resources and support for diabetes including:

  •         diabetes screening tests with referrals to your doctor
  •         diabetes management services including monitoring of blood glucose levels, weight and diabetes medicines
  •         advice on diabetes medicines
  •         review of diabetes medicines
  •         weight management services
  •         blood glucose monitoring devices
  •         supply of blood glucose test strips as part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme
  •         quit smoking products and services
  •         health information including Self Care Fact Cards.

You can also purchase a range of products stocked by the Diabetes NSW shop at Fresh Therapeutics Broadway including:

  •         blood glucose monitors (Roche GuideÒ, PerformaÒ, Dario Smart MeterÒ, Abbott FreestyleÒ, Bayer Contour NextÒ
  •         blood glucose and ketone strips (Roche Accu-chekÒ, Freestyle Optium Ò, DarioÒ, OneTouch VarioÒ, Bayer ContourÒ, TRUEtrakÒ, CareSenseÒ)
  •         a range of sharps collection containers
  •         Lancets and Lancing devices (FastclixÒ SoftclixÒ, MulticlixÒ, CarelanceÒ,
  •         Diabetes Travel Packs (FrioÒ, MedactivÒ, Diabet-EzyÒ)
  •         Hypo treatments (GlucodinÒ,TrueplusÒ)
  •         Diaries and Test wipes (WebcolÒ Novo DiaryÒ)
  •         Needles (NovoÒ, BDÒ,  and Pens (Sanofi ClikSTARÒ, Lily Huma PenÒ, NovoPenÒ
  •         Medical Identification
  •         Skin care (Eulactol GoldÒ Heel Balm, EpadermÒ, EgoÒ, AveeniÒ)
  •         Blood Pressure Monitors (OmronÒ, MicrolifeÒ)

You can join Diabetes Australia at Fresh Therapeutics.  We provide the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards include Blood glucose monitoring, Diabetes type 1, Diabetes type 2, and Weight and health as well information about how to engage with the NSW Health Get Healthy service.