Posted in Health and Well Being

Winter Health & Long Covid

Posted by Dr Margaret Evers on 7 April 2022
Winter Health & Long Covid

The long summer days are over and we now look to what winter has in store and how we need to prepare ourselves.

I Know What You did last Summer

Who spent a lot of time out in the sun last summer? Have you had your post summer skin check? Its important to regularly – at least annually – have a thorough skin check for potential scan cancers. You may not be aware but we have recently incorporated Derm Engine into our skin check process. Derm Engine uses full body imaging to map and evaluate skin conditions. Stay tuned for an introductory offer for our patients next month.

What Did We Learn About Covid-19 in The Northern Hemisphere Winter?

Thankfully we have not seen a more deadly strain of Covid 19 coming out of the northern hemisphere winter. A second strain of the omicron variant has developed, and whilst it appears more infectious, it does not seem to be more deadly. It is already in Australia and is responsible for the recent rise in cases in NSW and Victoria. Health departments are saying current vaccines are effective in reducing severity of symptoms and hospitalisation, especially for those that have had three vaccinations. The federal government is recommending a fourth booster shot for at risk patients (those over 65, and those that are immuno compromised). We are vaccinating those patients that want them. Call us to make a booking.

Colds and Flus Are Back

Now that lock down is in the past, and overseas travel has resumed, regular colds and flus are back. And many workplaces are asking workers to stay at home if they have cold and flu symptoms. How do you do your best to avoid these? Start with a strong immune system. And that means a good diet with anti-oxidant rich foods like fruit and vegetables. Garlic, brightly coloured vegetables, mushrooms, and nuts are a great foundation. And potentially supplementing that diet with vitamin C and zinc can also be useful. But how much and how often? Need something tailored to your body and lifestyle? Give us a call. We can help.

As always we will be running flu vaccine clinics for those patients seeking them. This year’s vaccines have arrived. Call us if you want to be booked in.

Long Covid

Long Covid

What is long covid?

Many of you would have heard or read about Long Covid. Long Covid is a new illness that healthcare professionals are still learning about. After catching Covid-19, some people can feel unwell and take longer to get better than others. Long Covid can affect any part of your body with different symptoms. We are learning that ongoing or new symptoms can change and come and go over time. Long Covid generally describes Covid related symptoms that continue for more than 12 weeks. The RACGP notes that there is no link between the severity of your Covid-19 (including whether you were in hospital) and the likelihood that you will have long Covid.

Common Symptoms of Long Covid are many and varied. Broad categories include:

  • Respiratory Symptoms (Breathlessness, coughs).
  • Cardiovascular Symptoms (heart and circulation issues including chest tightness and pain and palpitations).
  • General Symptoms (Fatigue, fever, pain).
  • Neurological Symptoms (headache, brain fog, loss of concentration, memory issues, sleep disturbance, dizziness, pins and needles, numbness, delirium, mobility impairment).
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms (abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, weight loss and reduced appetite).
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms (joint pain, muscle pain).
  • Psychological / psychiatric Symptoms (symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Ear, Nose and Throat Symptoms (ringing in the ears, earache, sore throat, dizziness, loss of taste, smell or both.
  • Dermatological Symptoms (skin rashes, hair loss)

What If I Think I Have Long Covid?

The first thing you need to do is book in an appointment with one of our GPs. We will undertake a thorough assessment and establish a plan with you that involves the support and rehabilitation you need. This may include referrals to allied health including dietitians, physiotherapists, psychologists, cardiologists and occupational therapists amongst others.

Heart Health Checks

Due to the recent passing of some high profile people in the community there has been a recent focus on heart health – particularly amongst men and women over 45. Whilst its sad to see the passing of such people and the devastating impact on their families, it is positive that heart health is in the spot light. Poor diet, smoking, general fitness and stress are big indicators, as well as family history. There is a lot you can do to proactively improve your heart. Starting out with a heart health check is the first step. This involves getting an understanding of your lifestyle matched against heart health risk factors. It can also potentially lead to further specific heart testing followed by a plan to improve your heart health. All of our doctors provide this service and can help you be the best you can be.

Posted in:Preventative MedicineHealth and Well BeingFamily GP  

Nutrition and Immunity

Posted on 21 July 2020
Nutrition and Immunity
COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning it has never been in circulation within the human population before, therefore long term research isn't available on treatment options. However, good principles of nutritional medicine are likely to be supportive to strengthen the immune system. 

The immune system is a complex whole-body system that is mainly housed in the gut wall and through the body via the antibody system, white blood cells and lymph nodes. These collections of tissues are the source of our immune defence. When we are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals we know that this has a negative effect on the immune system.

Vitamin D is a remarkable vitamin that our bodies make from the sun. If we sun avoid due to fear of skin cancer, excessive indoor time or covering our skin we may be deficient in Vitamin D even in this sunny country. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a poorer immune response. 

Zinc has long been used as an anti-viral agent, however, it has fallen from "fashion" as more pharmaceutical medicines have taken its place. Zinc is currently being research in the ICU units in some Melbourne Hospitals. Zinc is commonly deficient as our soils are over-farmed and with the latest dietary trend heading to vegetarianism, we are finding a lot of zinc deficiencies. Zinc stores within the white blood cells and acts as a first-line defence against viruses. 

Vitamin C is a ubiquitous anti-viral agent and is a potent anti-oxidant used to mop up inflammation and cell debris caused by the immune system's defence actions. Vitamin C  also supports mucous membrane healing, which may play a role in the COVID-19 mechanism in more severe cases. 

Others lifestyle medicine interventions have all good evidence to support optimising immunity, such as adequate sleep, nature-based exercise, good air quality, stress management, and connection with those we love. Our immune systems are dynamic and provide an omnipotent healing presence inside all of us. 

So along with following the DHHS guidelines, such as social distancing, wearing a mask in public, restricting contact with others, avoiding crowds and washing hands frequently and vigorously, there may be some good evidenced-based interventions worth considering. For more information and individualisation please book an appointment and speak it through with your practitioner.
Posted in:VitaminsPreventative MedicineMen's HealthChildren's HealthChronic IllnessHealth and Well BeingFamily GPCOVID-19  

Boost your immunity the natural way!

Posted on 24 June 2020
Boost your immunity the natural way!
Never has there been more need, or more interest in natural ways to defend us against viruses, since the COVID-19 pandemic. Nutritional medicine, such as Vitamin D, Zinc and Vitamin C have amongst the best evidence for bolstering our immune systems.

Zinc is a fantastic antiviral in its own right. It was used commonly in the past, prior to antibiotics, but in mainstream it is rarely used anymore.  It is not unusual to be deficient in zinc, even with a well rounded diet, as Australian soils are commonly in low supply. Zinc is rapidly used up in viral infections and when in low supply lead to recurrent or prolonged infections.

Vitamin D is a vitamin we make in our bodies from sun exposure. It is actually a pro-hormone rather than a vitamin. It is vital for immunity, brain development, and acts as a potent fat soluble anti-oxidant. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of COVID-19 infection, along with increasing the risk of more serious symptoms.

Vitamin C is also not officially a vitamin, it is chemical that is made in most mammals, but due to a "mutation" hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans, alongside guinea pigs, salmon and fruit bats no longer make it. It is a potent anti-oxidant and is anti-viral, anti bacterial and even antifungal. When the immune system is overwhelmed by infection, vitamin C is released from the white blood cells in massive amounts, it is used to support the white bloods cells and also assists in mopping up the inflammation caused as waste products of the immune defence.

Vitamin C in high doses can stop viral infections in their tracks.  Intravenous Vitamin C is a safe and effective treatment for overall wellbeing, liver detoxification support, immune support and inflammation. Speak with one of your Whole Medicine GP's about whether Vitamin C is something you would like to try.
Posted in:VitaminsPreventative MedicineHealth and Well BeingFamily GPCOVID-19  

The Transforming Power of Gratitude

Posted on 24 June 2020
The Transforming Power of Gratitude
Last week my uncle was awarded an Australian Fire Services Medal in the Queen's birthday honours list in recognition of his 48-year career in the CFA. In a newspaper interview, he said, "It was a very rewarding job, I worked with fantastic people and I believed absolutely in what we were doing." I know he has a chronic debilitating illness, but the gratitude shown by this community recognition has transformed him, his life has meaning and purpose, despite his real physical suffering.

When I was younger, I was irritated by my grandmother finishing every story with "We have a lot to be thankful for". With some hindsight, I can see that gratitude was important to her long life and wellbeing. How else do you handle young children when your husband is away for six years at war? And after this flood, fire and a mouse plague on the Wimmera farm. Her gratitude gave her perspective and the pluck to keep ongoing.

Here at Whole Medicine, we might suggest some evidence-based strategies to allow you to be self-aware, hopefully, develop some perspective on your life and cultivate positive emotion. Research finds, 'gratitude contributes to several physical and psychological health benefits such as better cardiovascular and immune functioning. The strength of gratitude has spiritual benefits as well, such as a feeling of interconnectedness with life, a general sense of responsibility towards others and reduced emphasis on material goods' (VIA, 2020). Importantly, expressing thankfulness in your relationships is like 'emotional glue', enriching your bonds, boosting your wellbeing while elevating those around you.
Posted in:Chronic IllnessHealth and Well BeingMental Health  

What is Shared Obstetric Care?

Posted on 23 April 2020
What is Shared Obstetric Care?

Many people ask us this. Shared care is when pregnant women chose to share their ante-natal care between an experienced GP and their chosen hospital. The benefits of using GP lead shared care is the opportunity to develop a long-lasting and warm relationship with a GP that takes you beyond the pregnancy into breastfeeding, postpartum care and not to mention making sure the baby's health is well looked after too and possibly even the Dad!

There is no need to drive to un-necessary hospital visits, when you can receive some of your care in the quiet and safe practice of Whole Medicine.

For you safety and care: social distancing, including temperature checks, cleaning and triaging are all in operation at Whole Medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted in:Women's HealthHealth and Well BeingFamily GPPregnacy  
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