Good Health Blog

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Monthly Archives: May 2014

A good reason to take control of your health

Gavin LeSueur - May 19, 2014

In the 2014 Australian Federal Budget the Government announced a further $95.9 million over four years to accelerate the implementation of biennial screening for all Australians aged 50 to 74 years between 2015 and 2020.

This will ensure that the programme is consistent with the National Health and Medical Research Council clinical guidelines, which recommend screening every two years from age 50.

This means that as well as the people currently being invited to screen (50, 55, 60 and 65 year olds) other age groups will be added as follows:

  • 2015: 70 and 74 years olds
  • 2016: 72 and 64 years
  • 2017: 68, 58 and 54 year olds

The four remaining cohorts 52, 56, 62 and 66 year olds, will be included from 2018 to 2020.It is estimated that when fully rolled out, approximately four million eligible Australians will be invited annually.

The take home message from this is that the recommendation of screening for bowel cancer will not be done for all of the recommended age groups for another six years – that is if you wait for the faecal occult blood test (FOBT)  kit to arrive in the mail.  You do not have to.  You can present to your Doctor and request the test now as recommended every two years after the ago of 50 or earlier should there be other risk factors.

You do not have to be passive and wait for the Government to catch up with the recommendations.  At when the research has been done the recommendations are online and current.  Once a year, check in, do your ‘what tests should I have this year’ screen and stay healthy!

Give your health a hand – wash them

Gavin LeSueur - May 5, 2014

With all the emphasis on screening preventative health we sometimes forget about the simple things that can make a big difference over a lifetime. The act of washing your hands can reduce the spread of diarrhoea and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.

Handwashing should be done when preparing food, before eating, before and after caring for someone who is sick, before and after treating a wound, after using the toilet or changing a nappy.  A sneeze, hand cough or blowing your nose justifies a hand wash as does handling animals or animal waste, pet food or treats and putting out the garbage.  If you think you should wash your hands then do!

It isn’t rocket science but there is an art to washing your hands well. Teach the kids!

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Interestingly there is no good evidence that the ‘antibacterial’ hand wash lotions are any better for household use than soap.  Hand sanitizers are not as good as soap and water but are a reasonable substitute if you do no have running water (eg if you are out camping).

Handwashing, over a lifetime of health care, will make a significant difference to how often you and your family get sick.


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