So you’re up the duff? Whether this was planned or unplanned the first thought after the shock that a human being has started to grow inside of you is ‘what now?’.
Firstly, you need to commence a prenatal multivitamin that contains folate amongst many other important things like iron and iodine. This should’ve started before you conceived but it’s never too late. The folate will ensure your growing bub doesn’t develop birth defects of the spinal cord.
Next if you are smoking or drinking alcohol then stop. Do I really need to elaborate any further as to why?
Currently all you may feel like eating are greasy fries, which if that’s all you can keep down then at least its something. Ideally, however and if you can, a healthy diet comprising a selection of fruit, vegetables, grains, red meat, seafood and dairy will help that little bun in the oven to bake in just the right way.
Along with an unhealthy diet there are other foods that must also not pass your lips. These are foods that may be at risk of a bacterium called listeria that can be harmful to little junior. These include soft cheeses, raw seafood and meats, deli meats, pre prepared salads, pate and the one I personally have had issues with during my pregnancy is soft serve ice cream.
The very last must is on demand foot rubs and back massages from your partner so be sure to tell them its strictly doctors orders!
“Why is my butt so big?” As the end of the year approaches and I find myself trying to fit my behind into a dress that quite clearly doesn’t fit, I’m reminded of my 2017 New Year's resolution of toning up said behind. Now it looks like it will also be my 2018 New Year's resolution. “Hmm it does look a little snug”, comes the ever so helpful comment from the sales assistant. My instant reply is, “It will be less snug once I get back into the gym”. I know I’m not the only person out there that has this dilemma. Do I buy it and hope that in 2018 I will actually follow through with my New Year's resolution?
Lose weight, quit the fags, stop swearing, eat less chocolate, become a domestic goddess are some of the promises people toss up every year (becoming a domestic goddess has been on my list since 2001). As a GP it’s common at this time of the year for many of my patients to mention that the time has come to achieve something they have wanted to achieve all year. The most common is to lose weight.
How many people actually achieve their goal? A few do, but many give up. Why do they fail? The weather has been bad, work has been busy, their knees are playing up, they had a cold, etc. etc. I hear it all and I hear it often. Did you know that Australia is ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world? How did this happen? Is it because we like to try and be the best at everything or is it because everybody’s knees have been playing up?
Losing weight is hard. It is really hard. I know because all my patients tell me. But every so often my colleagues and myself are surprised when a patient walks in looking slimmer, healthier and happier. How did they do it? Besides the obvious way of healthy eating and exercise the real answer is to cut the excuses and just do it! Don’t give up or forget that resolution you made. It’s hard work and requires a whole lot of commitment but the results can be worth it.
Next year make your resolution NOT to be somebody that gives up but somebody who is going to achieve their goals, whether it’s weight loss, giving up smoking or toning up that booty!
If you have never suffered hayfever in your life, then you are extremely lucky because hayfever must be the bain of the majority of Tasmanians. Come September and many find themselves sneezing their way from 8am to 8pm, including myself. It’s that all too common feeling of rubbing your eyes so much it hurts but is oh so satisfying and realising you have hayfever.
So why do some people get to enjoy the delicious springtime air and others don’t? The enemy here is pollen. Pollen is a teeny tiny grain that comes from the male part of a plant and is carried in the air to the female part to reproduce. Other enemies include house dust, moulds and animal furs. These enemies form an army that march straight up our noses and attack.
Luckily these days there are a wide range of pharmacy medications that can help you feel human again. Oral antihistamines can work wonders but you may need to try a variety until you find the one for you. Other great options are nasal sprays or allergic eye drops. A simple chat with your pharmacist or GP will point you in the right direction.
Finally, for those that have had enough then a referral from your GP to an allergy specialist for allergy testing and the consideration of desensitisation may be warranted. This is a much more costly pathway but the benefits can be life changing for some.
So this year why don’t you spring into action and figure out how to actually enjoy the springtime weather rather than sneezing each second of the day!
Have you ever been hit by a bus? I’m guessing the majority of you haven’t. But if you have ever had the flu (and I mean the ‘real’ flu) then you certainly would know this feeling.
On many occasions I have people enter my office and declare, “I think I have the flu”. Usually within 2 seconds I can determine whether you may indeed have the flu or whether you have a common cold. What’s the difference? One makes you feel like a cesspool of infection; snorting, clearing delightful phlegm and going through a whole box of tissues in one afternoon that usually improves within a week. The other makes you feel like death warmed up, then hit by a bus, not once, but twice and lasts a lot longer.
Each year many Australians take weeks off in sick leave for the flu and many are admitted to hospital. Interestingly, it’s not just the elderly or sick that are struck down. It’s the people who are too busy to get a flu shot. It’s the people who believe they are fit and healthy already. It’s the ones who say they don’t need it because they’ve never had the flu.
The flu vaccination is recommended for just about everybody over the age of 6 months old, especially adults aged over 65, pregnant women, aged care facility residents and people with chronic medical conditions.
There are a few strains of the flu floating around each year and each year they can be different. Last year the Influenza B strain took out the gold medal for having its best season since 2008. Groups mostly affected were our little people aged five to nine years old, adults aged 35 to 44 and the elderly over 85.
Often people will believe the flu jab gave them the flu. The simple answer is that this is incorrect. The flu shot cannot give you the flu. Reasons why some people may believe this is that a different type of virus, such as the common cold, may have been picked up or there was exposure to the flu either before the vaccination or during the short period of time after administration before it starts working effectively. Unfortunately, the vaccine doesn’t always provide protection for everyone such as our elderly and immune compromised patients. However fear not, for the majority it works pretty darn well.
So what’s my advice as a doctor who has seen and spoken to many people who have had the flu? Just do it! If you want to avoid feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus this winter then go and get your arm jabbed!