3D Rendered image of the H1N1 swine flu virus

Swine flu update #2


Last updated: 8 February 2010 How serious is influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu)? Influenza H1N1 is mild in most cases and the overwhelming majority of patients make a rapid and full recovery. However, 2-5% of people are hospitalised (most of these patients have risk factors – see below). Unlike normal seasonal flu, the majority of cases involve people less

Sick woman lying in bed with high fever due to the swine flu

Swine flu update


Swine flu, or influenza H1N1, is a new virus, first identified in April in Mexico. There has been widespread concern because the virus is much more contagious than regular, seasonal flu and has spread rapidly. Swine flu tends to affect younger people, especially those under 25 years. Fortunately, it is quite mild in most cases and has not been a

Girl with asthma using inhaler and reading book in the kitchen

New resources for kids with asthma


A new interactive, kid-friendly website, Kids with Asthma, has been launched by the National Asthma Council Australia. The site is specifically written for childhood asthma and includes basic facts, diagnosis, asthma medications, management and FAQs. Specifically designed to be fun and informative, the site uses simple facts and an interactive asthma-themed Game Zone to appeal

New resources for ovarian cancer



A recent study has confirmed that testing healthy women to detect ovarian cancer is not effective. 34,000 healthy women aged 55–74 were screened annually for 5 years with an ultrasound and a blood test (CA125). Most of the cancers were found late and the earlier detection did not improve the outcome for these patients. However, it

Selection of assorted medications used for treating irritable bowel syndrome

What works for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?


A recent analysis of all the available scientific evidence found that 3 simple remedies were effective in this difficult-to-treat condition. They were: Peppermint oil. Relieves bowel spasms. Ispaghula husk, also called psyllium. (Wheatbran – ‘bran’ – was not effective) Antispasmodic medication, such as hyoscine. All these treatments are well tolerated and are available over-the-counter. Speak to

Shot glasses being poured on a bar

New alcohol guidelines advise lower drinking levels


The new Australian drinking guidelines recommend that both women AND men drink no more than two standard drinks a day over their lifetime to reduce the risk of an alcohol-related injury or disease. The guidelines from Australia’s peak health body, the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) are the result of 3 years of

Portrait of a happy mature couple outdoors

Bowel cancer screening program extended



Australians turning 50, 55 and 65 years of age between January 2008 and December 2010 will be offered a free ‘one-off’ bowel cancer screening test, in phase 2 of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program which began in July. Bowel cancer is the most common internal cancer in Australia. The screening test is the Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) which

Plant-based and animal sources of Omega-3 acids

New recommendations for omega-3 intake


The Heart Foundation has recently recommended all Australian adults without existing heart disease should consume 500 milligrams of marine-source omega-3 oils daily. People with heart disease should double that dose to 1000 milligrams daily. Omega-3 oils are a type of polyunsaturated fat which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. To get

Man and woman pretending to fly after drinking an energy drink

Do energy drinks really give you wings?


A heart attack and cardiac arrest in a healthy 28 year old man recently has highlighted concerns about the consumption of ‘energy’ drinks. The 7–8 cans the young man consumed were thought to be a possible cause of his life-threatening event. (see reference 1 below) Aggressive marketing has led to a recent increase in the

Man with whooping cough feeling sick with a scarf on

Many adults vulnerable to whooping cough



Whooping cough cases occurred in record numbers across Australia last year and the epidemic is continuing into 2009. Many adults no longer have immunity and need to be vaccinated. Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can cause severe coughing spasms with difficulty breathing and can