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Travel Health at Eleanor Clinic

If you’re lucky enough to go on a beautiful holiday overseas make sure your vaccinations are up to date, so you can enjoy your holiday without avoidable nasty health surprises.

If possible, make an appointment with us 6 weeks before travelling as some vaccinations can take a while for your body to build up enough antibodies. But even if you only find time just before heading overseas it’s better than not getting covered at all.

After booking your travel health appointment with us make sure you bring your travel itinerary with you. Your required vaccinations very much depend on the region, and often the country, you are going to visit. There have been recent outbreaks of measles and polio in some places, so it’s always a good idea to stay up to date with your vaccinations.

We keep all common travel vaccinations in stock so there’s no running around to chemist’s trying to obtain your vaccine. For more unusual places that may require less frequently administered vaccines, please feel free to ring us and let our nurse Di know, to which country your are travelling to.

Di is a highly experience vaccination provider and very skilled in providing vaccinations to all comers little and not so little. When you call in we can also make sure we have all the vaccines you require to have adequate cover for your trip.

Now to the most important bit: Happy holidays to all of you and safe travels!

Your Eleanor Clinic practice team.


From: HealthDirect

Travel vaccinations

It’s important to protect yourself by making sure that you are vaccinated against diseases that you might encounter when travelling overseas. Visit your doctor at least 6 weeks before you leave Australia.

While many infectious diseases have been controlled in Australia due to widespread vaccination and other public health measures, this is not the case in many overseas countries.

Travelling can expose us to these diseases and other diseases that do not occur in Australia.

In rare cases these infections can be fatal.

Pregnant women, babies and young children, the elderly as well as people with a weakened immune system (due to a medical condition or certain medicines) are especially at risk of infection when travelling.

What is vaccination?

Vaccination is a way of protecting ourselves against certain infections by exposing ourselves to small, safe, inactive doses of microbes that cause disease. This strengthens our body’s immune system against infection if we encounter the real disease in the future. Vaccination is safe and effective and is especially important when travelling.

Some countries may require you to be vaccinated against certain diseases; if you do not have the required vaccinations, you may be refused entry or required to have the necessary vaccination(s) at the border. So talk to your doctor about any vaccines or boosters you may need to have before you travel.

Your doctor can also advise you on measures which can be taken to avoid infectious diseases while overseas. This might include measures to avoid consuming potentially contaminated water or food, and advice about your medicines and your lifestyle while you are travelling.

You need to visit your doctor at least 6 weeks (and preferably 8 weeks) before you depart to give your immune system time to respond to any vaccination you need, and because some vaccines may need more than 1 injection.

What diseases should I be vaccinated against?

Health risks within a country can vary from one region to another and over time, and within each country there may be new outbreaks. New vaccines may be available and if it has been a while since your past vaccinations, you may need boosters. That’s why it’s important that you visit your doctor well before your trip to discuss the vaccines you might need.

Your doctor will take into account factors such as:

  • your age
  • where you were born
  • your previous vaccinations
  • any past or present illnesses you may have, and your general health
  • your destination(s), length of stay and type of travel

You may need one or more vaccines for diseases such as:

There may be other infections, unique to particular parts of the world, not covered in this list, that you need to consider getting vaccinated against. This is another important reason to see your doctor for expert advice before you travel.

What if you have been vaccinated against these diseases in the past?

You should still check with your doctor if you need these vaccinations. That’s because, even if you have been vaccinated against these diseases, your immunity to some diseases may have changed or reduced with time and you may need a booster. Also, depending on your age and where you were born, you may not be protected against some diseases such as measles or polio.

Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines used in Australia are approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration after a stringent safety testing process. Overall, the chance that a vaccine will cause serious harm is extremely small. Being vaccinated is far less harmful than the risk of getting a disease because you were not vaccinated. However, in some cases, your doctor may advise against vaccination. For example, if you have a weakened immune system due to another infection, or if you are taking medicines to suppress your immune system.

Very infrequently, a person may be allergic to some part of a vaccine and may develop an allergic reactions to it. In very rare cases, they may have a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This is a severe reaction, and can be life-threatening but can be treated if it happens. So always let your doctor know if you have any allergies, or have had any reactions to a vaccine in the past.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy recommends that for a severe allergic reaction, adrenaline is the initial treatment. When giving a vaccination your doctor will have all the safety measures such as adrenalin available to use if needed. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

What are the side effects of vaccinations?

All medicines, including vaccines, may have side effects. In the case of vaccines, side effects are very minor and usually go away within a few days. Common side effects are:

If you’re concerned that you have had side effects related to a vaccine, see your doctor. You can also report and discuss possible side effects, by calling the Adverse Medicines Events (AME) Line (phone number below).

More information

Adverse Medicines Events (AME) Line 1300 134 237 from anywhere in Australia (Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm AEST).

For more information on travel health visit the Department of Health website.

For information about vaccine side effects and safety visit the following websites:

Travelling with medicines and medical devices

Watch this video from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to learn what you need to do when preparing for your trip, including things you should discuss with your doctor.

Sources:

Department of Health (Travel health information), Immunise Australia Program (Commonly Asked Questions about Immunisation), Choosing Wisely Australia (Choosing Wisely recommendations), NPS MedicineWise (Vaccines and immunisation), Smartraveller (Health checks and vaccinations)

Emergency Contraception

By Dr Felicity Dent
Specialised Women’s Health General Practitioner

Editor’s note: This article focuses on emergency contraception. Eleanor Clinic offers advice on all forms of contraception and family planning, including Implanon, Copper IUD and Marina insertion. Please make an appointment with your Eleanor Clinic GP to discuss the most suitable option for you.

Emergency contraception, often called “the morning after pill”, is commonly used to prevent a woman becoming pregnant after unprotected sex.

But did you know that emergency contraception comes in different types?

Fast facts about emergency contraception:

  • 85-99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy
  • Does not protect against STI’s
  • Is available as 2 different sorts of single use pill and also as the copper IUD
  • If you choose the copper IUD you will have ongoing contraceptive cover for 5-10 years
  • Works best if used as soon as possible after unprotected sex, preferably within 24 hours, butcan be used for up to 5 days

The emergency contraceptive pill is available in 2 types, both available over the counter from pharmacies at relatively low cost. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you decide which is best for you. It works by preventing or delaying the ovaries releasing an egg, and it is around 85% effective at preventing pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex again after taking emergency contraception you may need another dose.

Side effects from the emergency contraceptive pill are generally mild and might include: a change in your next period, nausea, headaches, bloating and tender breasts.

REMEMBER: if your period is very light or more than 7 days late, take a pregnancy test.

The emergency copper IUD is the most effective way of preventing unwanted pregnancy after unprotected sex – it is 99% effective if used within 5 days. It also has the benefit of providing ongoing contraception for 5-10 years. An IUD is a small device that is inserted into the uterus by a trained professional, and it works by affecting sperm movement and making fertilisation of the egg unlikely.

In general copper IUDs can make future periods heavier and increase cramping, but there are other things to consider before making a decision – have a discussion with your doctor about whether an IUD is suitable for you.

We are generally able to insert copper IUDs at short notice at Eleanor Clinic.
Please contact our reception staff and let them know what you need.

For more information:

Living a low-carb lifestyle

By Dr Olivia Rimington

Low Carb GP

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes over 20 years ago. During that time I always struggled to achieve ‘normal’ blood sugars and ‘good’ control, despite following the recommended low fat, high carbohydrate diabetic diet. This was particularly frustrating for me because as a GP, I am all too familiar with the complications from poorly controlled diabetes, and didn’t fancy the idea of having a heart attack, or losing my eyesight, kidneys or a limb because I could not keep my blood sugars in the normal range. Years of high blood sugars and steady weight gain meant my insulin requirements were continuing to increase, but my control was not getting any better.

My blood sugars are now mainly within NORMAL range, something I never thought was possible!

 

Several years ago I began researching the benefits of a low carbohydrate lifestyle and intermittent fasting for the management of Diabetes. I discovered that there is a lot of good evidence supporting its use not only for Diabetes, but also Obesity, high blood pressure and other metabolic health problems such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Fatty Liver and may help to improve Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Inflammatory joint disease and Dementia. A low carbohydrate or ‘ketogenic’ diet is also being used to help manage certain types of Epilepsy and cancer.

Since adopting a ‘Low Carbohydrate Lifestyle’, combined with intermittent fasting nearly three years ago, my blood sugars are now mainly within NORMAL range, something I never thought was possible! I have managed to lose (and keep off!) 20 kg, and can honestly say I have never felt this good! My diabetes no longer feels like a burden, as I finally have the tools to ensure my blood sugars remain normal (most of the time), which greatly reduces my risk of developing complications in the future.

As a Low Carb GP I am passionate about working with my patients to help them improve their health and well being through diet and lifestyle changes, wherever they may be on their journey towards better health.

Emotional Abuse

By Cara McMahon

Often when we think of domestic/family violence we think of physical abuse, but it is the emotional and psychological abuse that can be a lot more damaging and can go unrecognised for a long time. Constant criticism, put downs, being humiliated, feeling nothing you do is good enough or being blamed for everything that doesn’t go well, are common forms of emotional abuse. It can also extend to controlling behaviour and/or isolating you from family and friend, it often starts subtly when your partner expresses how he doesn’t want you to go out as he wants to spend time with you, or regular calls to you at home or work to see how you are, but then questioning when you are not where he thought you should be.

As we start out in a relationship we establish patterns of behaviour and often compromise with a partner to make the relationship work, but it is important to be mindful of the patterns of behaviours that we accept as they can quickly become the ‘norm’. It is only after years that you may realise that you are not comfortable with how you are being treated in the relationship. As there are no obvious scars (unlike physical abuse) you find yourself questioning behaviours but not being sure if they are real or not. Without wanting to ask others what they think, as often abusers are also ‘charmers’, you only have yourself to rationalise it/work it through. Depending on the extent of the emotional abuse, the impact on one’s sense of self (self-esteem and self- confidence) can be very negative. If you are constantly being given the message that you are not good enough, you can start to believe it, so your judgement how on you are being treated can become distorted.

As well as having a negative impact on your self-esteem and confidence, emotional abuse can leave you feeling depressed and anxious. If you feel this way or recognise some of these behaviours and would like to talk to someone or get support to cope with it, you can contact:

Women’s Health West: 03 9689 9588

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre: 1800 015 188

If you are in immediate danger call the police on: 000

Speak to your GP or counsellor, to get more support for yourself and your family.

Cara McMahon is a counsellor with extensive experience working with clients affected by trauma, emotional abuse and family violence. You can book an appointment to see Cara by ringing Eleanor Clinic on: (03) 9318 4666