Welcome to our July newsletter. We hope you are keeping warm, dry and healthy this month as we have been faced with another dose of wet and wild weather. Some of you may have managed to escape the wet weather for the school holidays, venturing interstate or overseas. For others, you may have been unlucky enough to catch one of the many respiratory viruses circulating in the community at the moment. Luckily the majority of these can be managed at home with fluids, rest and pain relief. On some occasions, however, you may need to seek medical advice, especially if symptoms are not improving or getting worse. Our GP’s are available for telehealth appointments and if required they can arrange a face to face appointment in one of our respiratory ‘’CHECK’’ clinics at the end of the day. With COVID cases skyrocketing again we ask that you please do not attend our practice if you have any respiratory symptoms or are a close contact, and switch to a telehealth appointment instead. We also encourage our patients to be up to date with flu and covid vaccinations to help reduce the risk of severe disease.
In this month’s newsletter we will be updating you on the changes to eligibility for additional Covid-19 winter booster, and access to antiviral medicines to help reduce severity of illness. Our doctors will also be giving our travelling nomads patients some health advice before they set off and also some advice on what to do when your child has a acute respiratory infection.
COVID-19 ADDITIONAL BOOSTER VACCINATION
From July 11th, ATAGI has updated eligibility for additional (second) COVID-19 winter booster doses to help reduce serious illness from COVID-19:
- People aged 50 years and over are now recommended to get an additional winter booster
- People aged 30 years and over are now also eligible to receive an additional winter booster dose if they want.
This is in light of an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants
The interval between booster doses or following a recent COVID-19 infection is now reduced to 3 months.
If you were previously recommended to get an additional winter booster dose you are strongly encouraged to get it as soon as you are due, as you are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. This includes:
- all adults aged 65 years or older
- residents of aged care or disability care facilities
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or older
- people who are severely immunocompromised (this will be their fifth dose)
- people aged 16 years or older with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
- people aged 16 years or older with disability, significant or complex health needs, or multiple comorbidities which increase the risk of a poor outcome.
A second booster dose is not currently recommended for people under the age of 30 years.
If you’re due for a booster, don’t delay.
More information: http://www.health.gov.au/…/atagi-updated…
At YFD we have the Pfizer COVID vaccine available, and appointments are available most days of the week. Patients that fulfil the eligibility criteria as above, can book online for their additional booster via hotdocs https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/erina-NSW-2250/your-family-doctors-at-erina/doctors
FIRST COVID BOOSTER DOSE – If you’re 16 years or over and had your second COVID-19 vaccine three or more months ago, you will be eligible for your booster dose. Health authorities at this stage do not recommend a booster dose for those under 16 years unless you have complex health needs (please discuss this with your doctor first) . Presently we have Pfizer vaccine appointments available most days of the week by booking online.
PAEDIATRIC PFIZER VACCINE – If your child aged between 5 – 11 has not had their paediatric Pfizer vaccine yet – please call reception to make an appointment. These appointments cannot be made at the same time as the Adult Pfizer vaccine as a different vaccine vial is used.
ANTI-VIRAL TREATMENT FOR COVID-19
Life-saving oral antiviral treatments are now available to more people at risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
You may be eligible if you are:
✔️ 50+ with 2 risk factors
✔️ An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person aged 30+ with 2 risk factors
✔️ 18+ and immunocompromised.
Antiviral medicines only work within the first few days of symptom onset, so it’s critical that you get tested as soon as you feel unwell.
If you’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, talk to your doctor about antivirals and make a plan for treatment options if you test positive for COVID-19.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or any concerns and are unable to get in touch with your GP, you can call Healthdirect 24/7 on 1800 022 222 or the NSW Health Flu and COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line on 1800 960 933.
For more information about oral treatments for COVID-19, visit:
THE GREAT ESCAPE by Dr Sam Pethen
With the borders open again and the cold snap we are currently experiencing, there has been no better time to head north. However, spare a thought for the medical practices and services across the top of Australia. They too are experiencing unprecedented demand, with many practices not accepting new patients, and many pharmacies running low on medication stocks. Fortunately with most practices able to offer telehealth appointments and escripts to their usual patients, with a little forward planning, we are hoping to reduce the strain on them.
You will need to have been to see us within 12 months to ensure you remain eligible to claim your Medicare rebate for telephone and video consultations. And there is a checklist of jobs we can work through while we are seeing you!
Make sure you are up to date with your flu and COVID vaccinations. Numbers remain high through the whole of Australia and medical facilities are struggling under the burden of the disease. It may also be worth discussing a COVID plan with your GP, so you know what to do in the event of a positive COVID result and whether you are eligible for antiviral medication. Be aware, it may be difficult to source them while you are away. It is also important to travel with a supply of RAT tests, but remember, if you develop symptoms, a PCR may be preferred.
Having an up to date health summary uploaded to your My Health Record will allow emergency medical teams provide the best care if you do need to receive emergency care in a hospital. It is also worth carrying a paper version, up to date care plans and any relevant, up to date letters from your specialists.
Try to make sure you travel with enough medication for the whole trip. But be mindful some medication needs to be kept in certain conditions to ensure they don’t degrade and become ineffective. If you need wounds dressed, make sure you travel with some fresh dressings too. If you need access to strong pain killers, try to get enough from your usual GP. Most GPs will not prescribe these medications to patients they don’t know, but if you do need a prescription for them while you are away, it will help if you are carrying documentation to support the request.
Try and make sure you have more than one person travelling who can drive your vehicle, including with trailer or van.
And finally, don’t forget to send us a postcard! Keep safe and have fun!
Coughs and Colds, Sneeze and Wheeze in Children – Dr Georgia Page
When it comes to the number of respiratory infections in our community – this year is a big one. Due to the covid-19 pandemic over the last 2 years, we have had limited exposure to influenza and other respiratory viruses. This reduced exposure means reduced immunity, especially for younger children, resulting in a large number of respiratory infections this winter.
As a parent it can be stressful having a sick child but fortunately most cases can be managed at home with fluids, rest and pain relief. On some occasions, however, your child may need to seek medical advice, especially if symptoms are not improving or getting worse.
Acute Respiratory infections (ARI’s) is the term given to infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract such as throat, sinuses, middle ear, airways and lungs. They are the most common cause of illness in children under 5, who average three to six episodes of ARI’s every year. Some unlucky children in their first year of day care can get up to 10 ARI’s. The majority come from a viral cause such as rhinovirus , respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza and influenza virus, adenovirus, and coronavirus infections. Symptoms can include cough, sneezing, blocked or runny nose, sore throat, and fever. Other symptoms included fatigue, muscles aches and pains, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and difficulty breathing, tight chest or wheezing.
Most cases of ARI’s get better within 1 – 2 weeks by treating your child’s symptoms at home. But how do you know when to seek medical advice, speak with or see your GP or attend the emergency department? The Sydney Children’s hospital recommends:
- Severely unwell children – Call triple zero (000) if you child requires urgent medical attention, with symptoms such as difficulty breathing and drowsiness.
- Mild symptoms – such as a cough, runny nose, slight fever and sore throat.
- Have a Covid test – Rapid antigen test (RAT) or PCR
- Keep your child comfortable at home with paracetamol or ibuprofen, plenty of fluids and rest
- Most ARI’s are caused by a virus which clears up by itself and do not require antibiotics. Antibiotics are only used to treat bacterial infections.
- Symptoms may last 1 -2 weeks, but sometimes it can take 2 – 3 weeks for other symptoms to settle such as cough
- If concerned your child is not getting better or has prolonged fevers.
- Contact your GP. Always phone your GP first before visiting the medical practice if you have respiratory symptoms. They can conduct a telehealth appointment or may arrange to see you. Most practices prefer you to have done a Covid-19 test before attending the practice. Your GP can examine your child – check their ears, throat and listen to their chest to check if additional medical treatment is required
- If you cannot contact your GP or do not have a GP, call Health Direct 24/7 on 1800 022 222 for expert advice from a nurse over the phone
- If you are still worried about your child and they are having difficulty breathing, are drowsy, passing less urine and not taking in fluids, then go to the Emergency Department or call Triple Zero 000. The emergency department are seeing high volumes of patients at present so waiting times may be longer, with the sickest patients being seen first.
There are many ways to prevent you or your child’s risk of acute respiratory infections. These include:
- Influenza vaccines are available for all children over the age of 6 months. It can reduce your child’s risk of infection and severe illness due to the flu. We also recommend all adults receive the influenza vaccine also to help reduce the spread.
- Covid-19 vaccination for children over the age of 5 and adults.
- Ensure other recommended childhood vaccinations are up to date.
- Practice social distancing
- Regular hand washing
- Avoid touching surfaces, shaking hands, sharing toys.
- Limit contact with other people with respiratory infections.
To avoid passing respiratory infections to others, you should;
- Stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you or your child’s respiratory symptoms have improved and fevers have resolved for more than 24 hours. However, if you have tested positive for covid-19, self-isolation is required for 7 days.
- Limit contact with other persons in your household – wear a facemask (not for children under 2 years) , cough or sneeze into elbow or tissue, regular hand washing, wash surfaces, and social distancing. This can prove to be difficult with young children and babies!
- Basically, common sense and good hygiene will help prevent passing of viruses.
We hope you and your family get through this winter without too many acute respiratory infections and the above information will help guide you. Make sure you are armed with all the recommended vaccinations, practice good hygiene and rest at home if you or your child have any symptoms. If you have any concerns please contact your friendly health professional.
NAIDOC WEEK – JULY 3rdth – 10th
NAIDOC WEEK – 3rd – 10th July, is a time for all Australians to learn about and celebrate the oldest continuing cultures on earth; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is an opportunity to connect with and give recognition to the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the important roles they play in Australia’s story.
This years theme is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! – ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! with us to amplify our voices and narrow the gap between aspiration and reality, good intent and outcome’
The winner of the prestigious National NAIDOC poster competition for 2022 is Ryhia Dank, a young Gudanji/Wakaja artist from the Northern Territory, with her entry – Stronger.
“I created this piece after reading this year’s National NAIDOC Week theme – Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! I knew straight away I wanted to do a graphic piece centred around our flags with text highlighting what we have been through and are still fighting for” said Ryhia. “I feel that this piece being black and white allows us to focus on the details and messages in the artwork”
A big congratulations to the YFD team for passing their AGPAL re-accreditation with flying colours!
Being accredited means that our general practice is committed to a comprehensive program which involves:
- Engaging our whole practice team to review our practice’s systems and processes
- Opening our practice doors to allow a team of independent surveyors to assess how our practice operates
- Assessment of our practice, and achievement of the nationally recognised Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for general practices, that focus on health care quality and patient safety.
As a member of the community you may be surprised to learn that general practice accreditation is a voluntary process – which means not all practices undergo an independent on-site assessment on a regular basis.
Achievement of AGPAL accreditation reassures you that our doctors and practice team are committed to providing you with high quality health care in a safe environment. Our practice team is proud of this achievement and as part of this process we continuously strive to make quality improvements to better your patient experience. Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) is a not-for-profit independent provider of general practice accreditation in Australia. To learn more about the benefits of accreditation to you, your family and the Australian community click here or visit www.agpal.com.au.
COAST SHELTER SLEEP OUT FUNDRAISER
On August 5th Dr Georgia Page will be joining the ‘Doctors for Coast Shelter Team’ and sleeping out at Central Coast Stadium to raise funds and awareness for Coast Shelter – a fantastic local charity that help people with issues around domestic and family violence and homelessness. Georgia is aiming to raise over $2000 for this important cause. It will be cold and uncomfortable but it’s only for one night. Let’s hope the rain stops by then, otherwise she might need a boat!
To make a donation or sacrifice the cost of a cup of coffee follow this link……
COMMUNITY RECOGNITION STATEMENT FOR DR ELLY WARREN
A well deserved ‘COMMUNITY RECOGNITION STATEMENT’ from local member for Terrigal, Mr Adam Crouch, arrived in the mail for Dr Elly Warren, for her amazing achievement with Tour De Cure.
I extend my congratulations to Dr Elly Warren, who is a GP based out of Erina in my electorate. Dr Elly is a keen cyclist, who participates in the Tour de Cure to raise vital funds to support cancer research, surgeons and clinicians.
In November 2021 Elly won the Tour de Central Coast challenge course. TheTour de Central Coast was originally initiated to keep cyclists motivated throughout the cooler winter months and also serves as a social group, which is incredibly important following lockdowns.
In January this year Elly and fellow cyclist Bec Hoschke led a team of 20 female endurance cyclists in the Alpine Everesting Roam Challenge, which entails riding over 400 kilometres to a height of 10,000 metres in just 36 hours.
The challenge has only been completed by a handful of women and is a testament to Dr Elly. They have raised over $90,000 for cancer research, support, prevention and awareness about cancer inequalities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the Central Coast. I thank Dr Elly for partnering with the Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Services and Tour de Cure to fundraise for such a worthy cause.
ADAM CROUCH MP
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast
Member for Terrigal
We hope you enjoyed reading our July Newsletter. You can also like us on facebook or instagram to keep up to date with the latest Covid changes, important health information and to see what the YFD team has been up to. Our website is also a great source of information, so please check out our blog for health information written by our team. Stay well.
Love Team YFD xx