Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week

Don’t let a stroke be your first warning:
Let our pharmacists at Fresh Therapeutics check your heart heartbeat during Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week

Local residents are being urged to take advantage of a free testing station at Fresh Therapeutics Broadway and Bondi this week to check whether they have an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, which dramatically increases the risk of stroke.

This screening initiative is part of a national awareness campaign developed in response to alarmingly low levels of testing for an irregular heartbeat that increases the risk of stroke five-fold.

A nationwide survey of 550 people aged 65 and over has found that only one-in-three older Australians have discussed their heart health with a doctor in the past 12 months, and only one-in-ten has discussed atrial fibrillation as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in this period.[1]

This finding is of concern to experts who say that new medical guidelines recommend routine screening of people aged 65 years or older for atrial fibrillation. These guidelines state that one-in-ten strokes occur in people with previously undiagnosed atrial fibrillation.[2]

“The research shows that on average, older Australians see a doctor six times a year which provides plenty of opportunity to discuss and detect an irregular heartbeat,” said Tanya Hall, CEO of leading patient support group Hearts4Hearts

Ms Hall, an atrial fibrillation patient herself, is advocating for pulse and heart rate testing to become routine for people aged over 65 years when seeing their doctor.

When undiagnosed and untreated, an irregular heartbeat can cause blood to pool in a chamber of the heart and form a clot that can travel to the brain, causing a devastating stroke.

Fresh Therapeutics is urging local residents, particularly those aged over 65 years or with existing heart conditions, to take advantage of the free testing station or make an appointment with their doctor.

Atrial fibrillation-related strokes can be prevented, but diagnosis remains the critical first step. It is estimated that one-in-four strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation.

“We don’t want a stroke to be the first time any Australian discovers they have an irregular heartbeat. Pulse and heart-rate testing is quick, it’s simple and could ultimately save lives.”

Experts say that early diagnosis of atrial fibrillation must be matched by long-term use of medication that can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 70 per cent.

A new analysis produced for Hearts4Heart reveals that around 25 per cent of people prescribed anticoagulation medicine to prevent stroke discontinue therapy within 12 months.[3]

At Fresh Therapeutics we take the time to explain to our patients with atrial fibrillation why they have been prescribed an anticoagulant and why they need to continue to take this medication over the long term.

During Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week (16-22 September 2019) we highlight the need for early diagnosis of an irregular heartbeat and appropriate long-term use of stroke prevention therapy.


1. YouGov Galaxy. National Poll of 550 Australians aged >65 Years. August 2019

2. National Heart Foundation of Australia and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand: Australian clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of atrial fibrillation 2018

3. Prospection. NOAC Prevalence. PBS 10% Data Set. July 2019.

Chronic-Pain-Week-Australia_Compoinding-Chemist Broadway and Bondi

National Pain Week – Chemist Broadway & Bondi

This week is National Pain Week when we look at the burden of pain, in particular chronic pain, on the community.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts for 3 months or more after the normal healing time. Unlike acute pain, which usually resolves when the underlying cause heals or is treated, chronic pain is a complex condition associated with changes to the way the brain perceives pain.

This Brainman Video explains the difference between acute and chronic pain

Because chronic pain is different to acute pain the medications that are used are different. Many people in Australia develop medication problems because they continue to use medicines helpful for acute pain such as opiates (eg codeine, tramadol, morphine) that may eventually make chronic pain worse.  Opiates can cause severe constipation, dizziness (leading to falls) and respiratory depression. For certain people opiates are highly addictive and when combined with other medicines can cause death.  In some people continuous use of opiates can lead to “hyperalgesia” or more pain which is why they are not always the best option for managing chronic pain.

Managing chronic pain is much more than managing medicines. It involves looking at lifestyle issues that may be aggravating pain such as insomnia, lack of exercise, stress, poor diet, smoking, alcohol use.  It also involves learning how to manage flare ups and how to pace yourself to minimize pain.

At Fresh Therapeutics we try to work with the person suffering from chronic pain and their GP, physiotherapist and mental health professionals to produce the best results for the person living with chronic pain.  We offer a  Chronic Pain Medscheck service to eligible patients where we:

  • Discuss any of your pain concerns
  • Ensure your medicines are working for you
  • Work with you to create an action plan for improvement
  • Help you gain an understanding of your pain journey

Chronic-Pain-Week-Australia_Compoinding-Chemist Broadway and BondiWe also use material developed by NSW Health and the Agency for Clinical Innovation that can be accessed on the internet – The website is designed to help people gain a better understanding of  pain. information to enable people to develop skills and knowledge in the self management of pain in partnership with healthcare providers.

We also refer to the Chronic Pain Australia a self-help organisation that helps people engage with others suffering from chronic pain

For some patients taking medicines orally can cause more problems.  We have  pain specialists that ask us to compound certain pain medicines in a “transdermal” cream or gel. We can combine several drugs in the one cream. These are designed to have a local effect and minimise whole of body side effects.

Glaucoma Help Compounding Pharmacy

Glaucoma Health Message at Fresh Therapeutics

There are so many conditions that we need to be alert to as we chat with our patients about their health.

Just a simple “How are you feeling today” can identify someone who is struggling with depression or thoughts of ending their life. Is anyone in your family being treated for glaucoma? can be the trigger to get a person to have an eye check for glaucoma a highly preventable disease.

This is why we have decided at Fresh to have a weekly health message that our staff will ask of our customers in an effort to discuss some preventable condition.


Last month we featured Glaucoma with the following questions:

Questions on Glaucoma Do you have family history of glaucoma?

First degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) are at greater risk – having an almost 1 in 4 chance of developing glaucoma in their own lifetime. The risk increases to 56% if the relative has advanced glaucoma.

Questions on GlaucomaAre you of Asian or African descent?
Questions on GlaucomaDo you have high eye pressure? (your optometrist can check)
Questions on GlaucomaDo you have myopia? (near sightedness)
Questions on GlaucomaDo you experience migraines?
Questions on GlaucomaHave you been on a prolonged course of cortisone or prednisone medicine?
Questions on GlaucomaHave you had an eye operation or eye injury?
Questions on GlaucomaDo you have a history of high or low blood pressure?

If our patients answered yes to any of these questions we encouraged them to see their optometrist as they would be more likely than those answering no to develop glaucoma. Left untreated glaucoma can lead to irreversible blindness.

For our patients that have already been diagnosed with glaucoma we ask:

Questions on GlaucomaHave you told your family members you have glaucoma? Encourage first degree family members to have eye health check from the age of 35
Questions on GlaucomaHow do you remember to use your drops every day? Non-adherence to the glaucoma eye drops can lead to blindness
Questions on GlaucomaHow often do you have your eyes checked – regular check are necessary to monitor progress of the disease and prevent blindness
Questions on GlaucomaHas your ophthalmologist discussed Vitamin B3? Recent studies at the University of Sydney have shown that Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) may prevent blindness.

You can also go to the Glaucoma Australia web-site where there is a Risk Calculator and more information about Glaucoma

Chronic Pain - Compounding Chemist

Chronic Pain And How Compounding Chemist Broadway Can Help

Need help managing Chronic Pain? Spend 45 minutes with our pharmacist FREE of charge

Pain is the most common reason that people seek medical help, yet it remains one of the most neglected and misunderstood areas of healthcare. 1 in 5 Australians lives with chronic pain and this rises to 1 in 3 people over the age of 65.

Chronic pain is Australia’s third most costly health burden. More than 50% of people with chronic pain are under-treated.

There is often a lack of access to appropriate advice and support on chronic pain in the community, and it is difficult for patients to access effective treatment that is timely and affordable. Community pharmacists see patients on a regular basis without the need for an appointment. As such, pharmacists are ideally placed to provide a patient-based solutions to support people who are suffering from chronic pain.

At Fresh Therapeutics we have been chosen to participate in a new Trial evaluating a Chronic Pain MedsCheck service. The primary objective of this Trial is to determine if this service is able to prevent the incorrect use and/ or overuse of pain medication, increase your  pain medication health literacy, improve your ability to self-manage  chronic pain and improve your overall quality of life.

To be eligible to participate in the trial you must:

  • be taking medication (prescription or over the counter) for chronic pain for three months or greater, and
  • be aged 18 years or over
  • a holder of a valid Medicare and/or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) card
  • be living at home in a community setting
  • have not received a MedsCheck, Diabetes MedsCheck, Home Medicines Review (HMR) or Chronic Pain MedsCheck in the previous 12 months in the recruiting pharmacy, and
  • not be a current client of a recognised Pain Management Service.

If you consent to participate in the trial, you will be required to attend two in-pharmacy consultations at an agreed date and time.

Each consultation with your pharmacist will involve them asking you questions to learn more about the type of chronic pain you are living with, the medications you are taking to help manage the chronic pain and other activities which increase or decrease the pain. This will always be done in a private consultation room with your pharmacist.

Your pharmacist who has undergone specific training for this service will enter your answers into the pharmacy computer, and a score will be generated by each answer which will then be used by your pharmacist to identify the impact chronic pain is having on your life. This will help us provide you with the most suitable education, information and/or referrals.

Specifically at the initial consultation (which is expected to take about 45 minutes), the pharmacist will review the medications you are currently taking to manage the pain and may suggest some changes. We will also work with you to develop an action plan to help you better manage the chronic pain.

Six weeks after the initial consultation you will be telephoned for a follow up interview by phone. This is expected to takeabout 30 minutes.

Three months after your initial consultation there will be another consultation in the pharmacy that is expected to take30 minutes.  Here we will review your action plan and modify any aspects of the plan that aren’t working for you. Your pharmacist will also ask you some questions to understand whether any of their suggestions have helped you better manage the chronic pain.

If the chronic pain score shows that your pain is considered severe, your pharmacist will provide you with a referral to your GP for further investigation. If you do not have a regular GP, we can help organise an appointment for you with a local GP.

If you are suffering from Chronic Pain and would like to participate in this Trial please call us on 92 816 816 and we will make an appointment.

Woman using Inhaler - Fresh Therapeutics promotes Asthma Week

Fresh Therapeutics promotes Asthma  Week 1st – 7th September

This Asthma Week, Fresh Therapeutics is helping Asthma Australia to bust the myths about Asthma.

Asthma is a condition that affects most Australians, two-thirds in fact! Despite this, there are many misconceptions about this chronic disease.

We want everyone in the community to know about asthma, good asthma control and prevention.

We want everyone in the community to be empowered to take steps to prevent and treat their asthma and to educate others.

This Asthma Week, Busting Asthma Mythsfocuses on five facts about asthma along with new data on Australians perceptions and misperceptions about asthma.





Asthma Impacts Most AustraliansTwo-thirds of Australians are impacted by Asthma. Most people know 1 of the 1.25 million Australians who have been diagnosed with asthma.


Asthma is a long term disease. Asthma can develop at any age. Most people don’t grow out of asthma – even though 1 person in 4 may think that – but it can be managed with medication.


Asthma  is a life-threatening disease

More  than 400 people die because of asthma  each year. The right medication, knowledge, and a written Asthma Action Plan can help keep asthma under control.  Almost 1 person in every 3 don’t realise asthma is life-threatening.


Asthma triggers are varied and include pollen, smoke, physical activity and exercise, colds and flus and thunderstorms

Most people know that asthma has many common triggers including pollen, smoke, physical activity, and viruses.  But are you 1 out of 2 Australians who know that thunderstorms can trigger asthma flare-ups? Everybody experiences asthma differently.


Using an Asthma Preventer every day  is the bets way to reduce asthma symptoms and flare-ups

Using a preventer each day reduces symptoms of asthma ad flare-ups for most people.  These medications mimic the body’s natural response.  Only 1 in 4 people under 24 years old knows this.  Preventers are the mainstay  of asthma management and we want everyone to know.


People often treat their asthma as a short-term condition that comes and goes when  they have asthma symptoms. But, asthma is a chronic (long term) condition that’s always there, even when they don’t have symptoms.

Follow the Asthma Australia asthma checklist to ensure you’re taking the right steps to live well with Asthma.

Visit your Doctor for an asthma review

With your doctor:

  • Assess your current level of asthma control
  • Make sure you are on the right medicines to manage your asthma (eg. A preventer)
  • Check your inhaler technique
  • Ensure your written Asthma Action  Plan is up to date

With your Fresh Therapeutics pharmacist

  • Ask about a spacer
  • Check your inhaler technique – up to 90% of people are thought to use their inhaler incorrectly
  • Ask about how to manage any nasal symptoms effectively
  • Ask about a script reminder service (Medadvisor) to ensure you do not run out of preventer
  • Get the Asthma and Asthma Medicines Self Care Fact Cards with the Asthma First Aid Plan that you can keep on your fridge

Take the Asthma Control Test

If you have experienced any of the following in the last four weeks it indicates your asthma may not be under good control

  • Daytime asthma symptoms more than 2 days per  week
  • Need for reliever medication more than 2 days per week
  • Any limitation on activities due to asthma symptoms
  • Any asthma symptoms during the night or on waking

Or get your Asthma Score by taking the Asthma Control test online at

Preventer – every day even when well

Most adults with asthma should have preventer medication.  Daily use of a preventer is key to keeping well. Regular use of your preventer makes the airways less sensitive, will reduce your symptoms and should prevent remodelling or thickening of the airway tissue.

Check your inhaler device technique regularly

Research has shown up to 90% of people with asthma use their inhalers incorrectly, which  means the complete dose of medicine may not be getting into the lungs. Ask you doctor or pharmacist to check you are using your inhaler medication device correctly.  You can also watch inhaler technique videos at

 Get a written Asthma Plan

With your doctor, develop and follow a written Asthma Plan for:

  • Better controlled asthma
  • Fewer asthma flare ups
  • Fewer days of school or work
  • Reduced reliever medication use
  • Fewer hospital visits

Learn Asthma First Aid

Get your Asthma Fact Card from Fresh Therapeutics or download the Asthma First Aid app from the iTunes store or Google Play.

For asthma information and support call the 1800ASTHMA helpline (1800 278 462) or visit

Two-thirds of Australians are impacted by asthma. Most people know 1 of the 2.5 million Australians who have been diagnosed with asthma. You probably know someone with asthma.

Incontinence laughing and leaking

Incontinence is no laughing matter

This year, World Continence Week is 18 to 24 June and the Continence Foundationof Australia awareness campaign Laugh Without Leaking, will be using humour to overcome the stigma of incontinence and get people talking about their bladder and bowel troubles.

5 million Australians are affected by incontinence.Incontinence laughing and leaking

Incontinence describes any accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel (faecal or bowel incontinence). It may cause distress as well as being a hygiene problem. However, incontinence can be managed and treated.

If you have experienced this problem, you are not alone. Incontinence is a widespread condition. It can range from ‘just a small leak’ to complete loss of bladder or bowel control. In fact, 5 million Australians have bladder or bowel control problems for a variety of reasons.

It is likely that the true number of people affected is much higher. Many people do not tell their doctor or pharmacist about their incontinence, due to embarrassment. Some people mistakenly think that incontinence is a normal part of ageing or that it cannot be treated. If you experience bladder or bowel control problems seek help, as the symptoms will not go away on their own and may worsen over time.

Urinary incontinence is quite common and often associated with pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or some chronic health conditions. It can range from a small dribble when you cough or laugh, to large flows of urine. Stress and urge incontinence are common types of urinary incontinence.

People with poor bowel control or faecal incontinence have difficulty controlling their bowels. This may mean they pass faeces or stools at the wrong time or in the wrong place. They may also pass wind when they don’t mean to or experience staining of their underwear. About 1-in-20 people experience poor bowel control. It is more common as you age, but many young people also have poor bowel control. People with poor bowel controlalso often have poor bladder control.

Treatment depends on the type of incontinence. It is therefore important that a continence assessment is conducted by a professional so an appropriate management plan can be developed. Lifestyle changes may significantly help some types of incontinence and these include:

  • Drink about 6–8 cups of fluid each day (1.5–2 litres of water) spread evenly throughout the day, unless otherwise advised by your doctor. To avoid disruptions to your sleep, drink a little less in the evenings.
  • Reduce the number of drinks containing caffeine (e.g. tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cola) as this can increase urge incontinence.
  • Avoid constipation by maintaining a healthy balanced diet that contains plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre.
  • Lose some weight if required, as a modest amount of weight loss can improve urinary incontinence.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days.
  • Do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Go to the toilet only when you need to, rather than ‘just in case’.
  • Go to the doctor if you think you have a urinary tract infection.

The Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA) provides resources and information for the public, including the National Continence Helpline (Ph. 1800 33 00 66). This Helpline is a free service staffed by continence nurse advisors who can provide information, education and advice to people with incontinence or those caring for someone with incontinence.

At Fresh Therapeutics we have CFA brochures and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards Bladder and Urine control, Pelvic floor exercises, Fibre and bowel health, and Urinary tract infection. We also provide information about the Commonwealth Government’s Continence Aids Payment Scheme that helps cover some of the cost of products that help people manage incontinence.


We recommend and stock the Molimed® range of continence products. We also stock aids to assist with pelvic floor exercises such as the Epi-No® Childbirth and Pelvic Floor Trainer, the KGoal® Pelvic Floor Trainer and the Elise® Pelvic Floor Exerciser.

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.



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”



  • 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


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 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 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”.

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 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:

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.