Prostate checks are a part of life for most adult men. It’s a necessary step to ensure that you stay on top of your health and become aware of any abnormalities before they evolve into serious problems.
For many men, it can be a nervous time. General Practitioner, Dr Sir-Kit Leong, from SmartClinics Clayfield in Brisbane has answered some of the most frequently asked questions by patients. Take a read and if you’re still unsure, book an appointment with your GP for a chat before committing.
When should men start getting prostate exams?
Once you reach 40, you should be getting a prostate exam every two years or so. Some men for various reasons may want to start getting prostate exams earlier in life which is also fine.
Can all doctors perform a prostate exam or do I need to go to a specialist?
Both general practitioners and specialists can do a prostate exam. Many men see their regular GP for this exam.
What will happen at my first prostate exam?
This largely depends on the nature of the consult. If you’ve never had a prostate exam before, it would often involve the GP taking a thorough history of your health background, examination and tests.
PSA is likely the most common form of test, and simply involves a blood test.
The test that many men feel nervous about is called a DRE (digital rectal examination) however it is no longer recommended as an initial screening test for prostate cancer. Only if you begin exhibiting signs or symptoms synonymous with prostate cancer, is your doctor likely to refer you on for further test / specialist consultation.
Is a prostate exam painful?
A prostate exam should not be painful. If it’s a PSA (blood test), the blood drawing may cause minor discomfort.
What are the warning signs of prostate cancer?
If you haven’t been for a prostate exam for some time, it is well worth keeping an eye out for the warning signs of prostate cancer. Some of the warning signs include:
Changed urination patterns. This can include urinating more frequently or finding it necessary to urinate more often at night. Finding it difficult to empty your bladder, or a weak/interrupted flow can also be a warning sign.
Blood in urine or semen. Sometimes this may be accompanied by pain or a burning sensation.
Erectile dysfunction or otherwise abnormal function. If you’ve found yourself having difficulties gaining or maintaining an erection, and can’t identify any other likely cause, this may be a symptom of prostate cancer.
Discomfort sitting or bending – this can be an indication that your prostate is abnormally enlarged.
These warning signs can vary significantly between individuals. The absence of symptoms does not necessarily mean the absence of prostate cancer. Other symptoms may include weight loss, swollen feet, fatigue, or muscle pain elsewhere in the body. To be sure, it is important to book yourself in for a prostate exam.
If you are healthy and have no symptoms/signs, think about doing a prostate exam from 40 years old.
A prostate exam is advisable every one to two years once you reach the age where there is an increased risk of prostate cancer from around 50 and order.
Regular prostate exams can help establish a history and baseline of what is considered normal. It’s important to take your doctor’s recommendations on how often you should be undergoing a prostate exam.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Prostate cancer can be diagnosed by following tests, remembering they ought to support the context of the patient’s signs and symptoms.
PSA Test: The PSA test seeks to identify the presence of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) within the blood. Elevated levels of PSA may be an indicator of prostate cancer. For this reason, it’s important to have regular checkups with your doctor, so that PSA levels can be tracked over time.
Radiology test: MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is useful scan to visualize the prostate and proven to be highly effective in detecting prostate cancer changes
Additionally, your doctor may conduct a biomarker test. Biomarkers, found in the blood or urine (or tissue, if you’ve had a biopsy) are substances produced by a cancerous tumour or antibodies produced by the body to combat the tumour. Almost all diagnoses of prostate cancer will require a biopsy at some point.
Many SmartClinics Doctors are working over the Easter break in case you need medical assistance. Click on the location below to find out opening times, clinic phone numbers, address details and appointment information.
Getting a vasectomy is a big decision, so it’s important that you have all the facts. We’ve thrown together a quick list of the questions our doctors commonly receive, but remember – this isn’t medical advice. If you’re looking to get a vasectomy in Brisbane, it’s important that you book a consultation with your GP and get the facts face-to-face. Find a Vasectomy Doctor in Brisbane.
What happens during a vasectomy?
During a vasectomy the two tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from your testes to a “storage” area near the prostate gland are clamped or cut. As a result, sperm can no longer leave your testes and will not form part of your ejaculate.
Do you still ejaculate after a vasectomy?
Following your vasectomy, you will still be able to ejaculate, with no noticeable difference in volume. Sperm forms less than 5% of your total volume of ejaculate, so you won’t be missing much.
Is having a vasectomy painful?
Most people will experience little or no pain during their vasectomy. There may be some minor discomfort, such as a feeling of pressure or some poking in the general area, but that should be the extent of it. If you’re getting your vasectomy in Brisbane through SmartClinics, our doctors will ensure you experience the minimal amount of pain or discomfort possible.
Are you put under for a vasectomy?
Some doctors will give you the option to be put under a general anaesthetic, but it’s quite rare and barely necessary. The vast majority of vasectomies are performed under a local anaesthetic which is more than adequate.
How effective is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is extremely effective and is the most effective method of contraception available to men. Its effectiveness is almost 100%. The vast majority of failures are in fringe cases involving unqualified or inexperienced doctors. When you get a vasectomy in Brisbane with SmartClinics, you can rest assured that you are in highly experienced, professional hands.
How long after a vasectomy does pain last?
Once your local anaesthetic has worn off, you may feel some minor discomfort. The level of pain you’re likely to experience should be manageable with some over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol. If the pain is significant, chat to your doctor.
What does a vasectomy feel like?
A vasectomy barely feels like anything. There will be barely any pain and only minor discomfort. It’s a very minor surgery and you shouldn’t feel much at all, either during or afterwards.
How long does it take to recover from a vasectomy?
Recovery time from a vasectomy is different for every individual. Most men will be able to get up and be quite active later the same day or in the following days. Every doctor is different, but most will recommend a standard seven-day recovery period following your vasectomy (starting the day afterwards). It’s worth taking the time to recover, as it will help ease any sensitivity or discomfort in the area and reduce the risk of hurting it.
How painful is vasectomy recovery?
Vasectomy recovery, done right, should be almost pain-free. Take a few days and put your feet up. There’s no rush to get out and about after an operation on such a sensitive region.
What is the fastest way to recover from a vasectomy?
The fastest way to recover from a vasectomy is the same as any other minor operation – rest, and plenty of it. Taking it easy and eating healthily will help your body recover faster than anything else you can do.
Can you drive after a vasectomy?
It’s usually not recommended, however it is possible to drive home after a vasectomy. We recommend that you get a ride home from your procedure in order to allow the healing process to begin immediately. If you’re getting your vasectomy in Brisbane, we definitely recommend you dodge dealing with the traffic and let someone drive you home.
How soon can you have sex after a vasectomy?
You will need to wait until you are fully healed before having sex following your vasectomy. It is important to remember that you do not immediately become infertile after a vasectomy. It can take up to 20 ejaculations or a three-month period for any viable sperm to be completely flushed out of your system. You will need to schedule a follow-up appointment three months after your initial procedure to test your fertility. Until then, ensure that you use contraception.
How long does it take for a man to become sterile after a vasectomy?
During your vasectomy, the vas deferens (your tubes) will be separated from your testes. This means that your sperm can no longer be ejaculated. However, some active and viable sperm may remain in the vas deferens.
Where does all your sperm go after a vasectomy?
Because your sperm cannot leave the testes via the vas deferens, they simply stay in the testes. They will “dissolve away” and be reabsorbed by the body over your time. You do not stop producing sperm following a vasectomy – the pathway for that sperm to leave your body is simply removed.
What should you wear for a vasectomy procedure?
You’ll definitely want some support down there – leaving it all to flop around and potentially be sat on is going to greatly increase your level of discomfort. Wear tighty whities or some snugly fitting briefs. Avoid boxer shorts. In Brisbane, vasectomy doctors will likely give you some advice on what to wear at your initial consult.
Do you need to shave for a vasectomy?
You will need to shave prior to your vasectomy. If you don’t, your doctor may be able to have it arranged for you – but you should definitely check ahead of time. If you do decide to shave, just do a close shave with an electric shaver – you don’t want to run the risk of cutting yourself with a razor and leaving yourself open to infection.
Book a vasectomy appointment in Brisbane
If you have further questions, why not have a medical consult with one of our GPs? They’ll answer any queries you have and ensure you’re well informed about everything before you book a vasectomy appointment.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the recent floods. SmartClinics Fairfield Waters Medical Centre is currently closed and undergoing extensive renovation due to flood damage.
So we can continue to provide you and your family with medical care, we are opening a temporary medical centre in Hyde Park. GP appointments with your current Doctor will be available at the new clinic from 20th February, 2019. We expect to be operating from our new location for approximately 6 months while work is being completed at our Fairfield Medical Centre.
NEW CLINIC ADDRESS: Castletown Shopping World – find us near Friendlies Chemist
Corner Woolcock & Kings Road
Monday to Friday : 8:30am–5:30pm
Clinic fees will not change, and our phone and fax number will stay the same. We will keep you updated on the progress of our Fairfield clinic and hope to be moving back very soon!
If you have any concerns or questions, please call our friendly reception team on Ph: (07) 4778 4581
We look forward to seeing you at our new clinic soon.
Warm regards from the team at SmartClinics Fairfield Waters Family Medical Centre.
Getting a Vasectomy in Cairns? Here is all you need to know.
VASECTOMY APPOINTMENTS WITH DR D’HOTMAN & DR GOLDSTEIN
Dr Robert D’Hotman earned his stripes in Rhodesia in 1979. With some time in the air force (specialising in aviation medicine), an 18-year stint in South Africa and a very broad range of surgical experience under his belt, Dr D’Hotman is very highly qualified to perform vasectomies.
Dr Aaron Goldstein is a GP and also runs Cairn’s only dedicated Vasectomy service – Great Barrier Vasectomy. Dr Goldstein is originally from Toronto but has called Australia home since since 2006. He earned his Bachelor of Medicine at the Flinders School of Medicine in Adelaide and has been practicing in Cairns since 2014. Dr Goldsteing runs the Great Barrier Vasectomy service out of SmartClinics Woree. A specialist in Vasectomy procedures, Dr Goldstein will happily talk you through the entire process and answer any concerns you may have.
There comes a time in every man’s life when he decides he’s had enough children (or doesn’t want any at all). At this point in life, a vasectomy can be a relatively painless and simple solution. It’s a nerve-wracking time and everyone always has plenty of questions. Thankfully, we have a couple of local doctors who are highly skilled in performing this procedure and are more than happy to help answer your questions about getting a vasectomy in Cairns.
How effective is a vasectomy in preventing pregnancy?
A vasectomy is the most effective method of birth control available to men. At almost 100% effectiveness, there are only very rare, fringe cases of the procedure failing to have the desired effect – and often when performed by inexperienced or unqualified doctors. If you’re getting your vasectomy in Cairns, visit our SmartClinics Woree and chat with Dr D’Hotman or Dr Goldstein – both are experienced professionals.
Is a vasectomy painful?
The actual vasectomy procedure itself won’t be painful. If you’re getting your vasectomy in Cairns through SmartClinics Woree, we’ll use a local anaesthetic. There may be some minor discomfort, such as pressure or a poke, but other than that you’ll barely know it’s happening. Afterwards, once the anaesthetic has worn off, you may experience minor discomfort, but it is usually manageable with OTC painkillers.
Do you still ejaculate after a vasectomy?
Following your vasectomy procedure you will still be able to ejaculate – your semen just won’t contain sperm, and there will barely be a noticeable difference in volume as sperm usually accounts for less than 5% of ejaculate.
Are you awake during a vasectomy?
If you decide to get a vasectomy in Cairns, we’ll keep you awake during the procedure, but you’ll have a local anaesthetic so there will be no, or minimal, pain.
How long does it take to recover from a vasectomy?
Most men are able to be quite active in the days immediately after a vasectomy. We usually recommend a seven-day resting period, although it can depend on each patient and what they consider to be rest or how active their lifestyle or work is. Everyone should at least take a day after the procedure to allow any sensitivity to subside somewhat.
How long does a vasectomy take?
A standard procedure should take around thirty minutes. If you’re getting a vasectomy in Cairns with Dr D’Hotman or Dr Goldstein, we’ll let you know how long your procedure will take and what you can expect before, during and after.
Can you drive home after a vasectomy?
We strongly recommend that you have someone else drive you home after your procedure. This will allow you to begin your rest and healing period immediately and minimise any stress on your body – getting you back into action sooner.
How long until I am infertile?
Following your vasectomy procedure, there is a high likelihood that you will retain some sperm in the vas deferens. It may take up to 20 ejaculations before they are completely flushed out. We strongly recommend you maintain regular contraceptive use for at least three months after your procedure or until you are proven infertile on a semen sample.
What does a vasectomy cost?
Costs vary greatly. If you’re getting your vasectomy in Cairns, you can expect to pay a total of around $650, some of which will be rebated by Medicare. Your final out-of-pocket expense will be around $450.
Do you need a referral to get a vasectomy?
You don’t need a referral to get a vasectomy in Cairns – just come by for a consultation and we’ll chat about your options. However, if you do bring a written referral from your doctor we’ll happily deal with them in return.
What clothing should I wear for a vasectomy?
We recommend you wear something supportive. Avoid boxer shorts – go for something that will help hold things up and fit snugly. This can help avoid undue stress on the area.
Should I shave before a vasectomy?
You may trim the area with electric clippers if that is an option for you. Do not wet shave with a razor. If you are unable to trim with clippers, that’s fine – we will take care of it for you when you come in for your appointment.
By the age of 70, 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer. We’re on a mission to make sure that all Australians get checked out for skin cancer this summer.
Our experienced skin doctors at SmartClinics Strathpine will make sure your skin is safe and bulk bill the appointment for all Medicare card holders.
BOOKINGS AT SMARTCLINICS STRATHPINE FAMILY MEDICAL CENTRE
To book, call (07) 3177 9583 or CLICK HERE to book online.
You can find the clinic at 130-134 Gympie Road, Strathpine (near OfficeWorks). There is ample car parking and a Chemist located right beside us for your convenience.
For more information about our medical centre, opening hours and Doctors please visit the SmartClinics Strathpine clinic page.
What to do if you think your child has a behavioural disorder
AUTHOR: Dr Kyi Kyi Mon – SmartClinics Lutwyche
It’s natural to be concerned about changing behaviour in your children. As our children grow, their personalities begin to emerge, they experiment with emotions and emotional responses, and they may begin to exhibit some characteristics that can be disturbing to worried parents.
Some behavioural disorders in children are quite widespread, with up to 10% of children likely to exhibit signs of one or more disorders. Boys usually outnumber girls by a factor of two or four to one in the display of behavioural disorders.
Causes of Behavioural Disorders in Children
While there are no universally recognised causes of behavioural disorders in children, there are some triggers that can be observed to have an influence on children developing these issues.
Some factors that may lead to the development of behavioural disorders in children include, but are not limited to:
Emotional struggles and problems managing emotions.
A poorly structured routine and lack of consistency.
Issues at home, such as arguing parents.
Mental, sexual or other physical abuse.
Symptoms of Behavioural Disorders in Children
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
One of the most widely recognised behavioural disorders in children, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, has a small set of straightforward symptoms that can assist in its identification. These symptoms may include:
Difficulty concentrating, a short attention span or inability to maintain focus.
Ignoring or quickly forgetting instructions.
Regularly shifting to different tasks, an inability to complete things.
Emotional outbursts, easily led to anger or sadness.
Few restraints on emotions or recognition of the needs of others, can be exhibited as regularly talking over the top of others.
Clumsiness or being prone to accidents.
A high degree of activity, restlessness, fidgeting, general inability to sit still.
Conduct Disorder (CD)
Conduct Disorder often exhibits as delinquent behaviour. It is far more common in boys than girls, and around 5% of ten year old children are believed to have CD. It is common for children diagnosed with CD to also receive an ADHD diagnosis. Some behaviours exhibited by children with conduct disorder include:
Failure to fulfil required tasks or take responsibility. Can include skipping school.
Physical and sexual abuse of others.
Substance abuse at a young age.
Significant aggression towards other people and sometimes animals.
Untrustworthy behaviour, such as lying and causing rifts among friends.
Frequent failure to follow directions or obey orders given by authority figures.
An apparent inclination towards physical violence, including the use of weapons.
Criminal activities such as arson, theft and vandalism.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Oppositional Defiant Disorder is believed to be present in around 10% of children aged under 12. Symptoms can include:
Frequent, explosive tantrums.
Blame-shifting and a failure to take responsibility.
Easily frustrated, may believe themselves at fault for minor issues.
Seeks to aggravate others, may find enjoyment in seeing others angry or upset.
Low emotional management, may become irritated or angry quite easily.
Diagnosis of Behavioural Disorders in Children
Depending on the child and their environment, diagnosis can be quite challenging. It is always best to defer to a highly experienced GP for diagnosis. It’s very common for children to exhibit signs of multiple behavioural disorders, making diagnosis and treatment plans difficult. Generally, the process of diagnosis may involve:
An initial consultation with a GP, which will explore the child’s activities and how they are viewed by the parent and the child.
Further interviews with stakeholders in the child’s life (such as siblings and teachers).
Questionnaires, diary-keeping and checklists.
Potential referral to allied health professionals, such as psychologists.
This process allows the GP or other specialists to isolate causes for the child’s behaviour and determine whether it is a result of a behavioural disorder or a different factor in their life, such as parental strife or problems at school.
Treatment of Behavioural Disorders in Children
Thankfully, there are a number of SmartClinics GPs who have a very broad range of treatment options available to them to assist in addressing your child’s potential behavioural disorder. Most treatment plans are highly individualised to account for a wide number of factors that may be contributing to behavioural issues. Some of the aspects of a treatment plan may include:
Medication – usually as a last resort, medication may help in controlling aggression or impulsiveness, which can help make progress in treating the underlying causes of a disorder.
Positive Reinforcement – as one of the major causes of behavioural disorders is low self-esteem, a carefully structured plan that allows the child to succeed and reinforces that success with encouragement and reward may help alleviate symptoms.
Addressing Mitigating Factors – Bullying at school, possible sexual harassment, learning difficulties etc.
Training – teaching both children and parents about social skills, emotional management and how to manage that in self and others can be a big step towards alleviating issues.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – similar to the above, this will assist the child in monitoring and controlling their own behaviour.
Therapy – often, ongoing therapy is involved in order to address communication issues and underlying emotional issues.
Where to Get Help
Many SmartClinics GPs have a experience in the field of behavioural disorders in children. If you’d like to come in for a basic consultation, it may help alleviate some of the stress that you’re under. Click here for a list of GPs who have a special interest in this area near you.
IUD Contraception & Birth Control Specialists – Townsville & Brisbane
For many women, a common method of birth control is IUD. The hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) is a small contraceptive device that is put into the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy.
It’s important to understand how this method works before deciding whether it’s right for you. We’ll also help you know where to get it done in Townsville and Brisbane, as not all Doctors can offer this service…
What is an IUD?
IUD is an intrauterine device that releases a steady flow of the hormone levonorgestrel into uterus. This hormone acts as a contraceptive that is over 99% effective. It can be inserted by a general practitioner that is trained in its insertion. There are several ways that an IUD can help prevent pregnancy. It thickens cervical mucus which can help prevent sperm entering your uterus. It acts to inhibit sperm reaching or fertilising your eggs, and can thin the lining of your uterus as a last line of defence to help prevent eggs settling there.
When you book an appointment to insert an IUD, we’ll make sure you are booked in with a doctor that has experience in performing the procedure.
Can any GP perform the insertion or removal?
No – only a general practitioner trained in IUD procedures will be able to insert or remove your IUD. Thankfully, we have a couple of general practitioners trained in insertion an removal right here in Townsville and Brisbane.
Where can I go to get an IUD near me?
Dr Abid Vatani from SmartClinics Fairfield Waters and Dr Lara Sewell from SmartClinics Annandale are both female GPs who have a lot of experience performing this service in Townsville. Click here to view these Doctors’ profiles and photos or to book. Or if you live in Brisbane – Click here to find a GP near you who performs IUD insertion & removal.
Will an IUD stop my period altogether?
Some people do experience their periods stopping altogether when they have an IUD inserted, however it varies from person to person. You are likely to have reduced spotting and bleeding once your IUD has been in for around three to six months.
It is common for spotting and bleeding to increase in the early months of having your IUD inserted, but this usually goes away. If you’re still having irregularities or more blood flow than usual, chat to us.
Around 20% of IUD users may have no period at all once they’ve had the IUD inserted for six months. However, if you’ve missed your period for six weeks, it’s important to chat to us to rule out pregnancy.
How successful is IUD?
IUD is highly effective as a contraceptive. While no birth control method is 100% guaranteed, IUD is one of the most effective forms on the market. It’s important to check up on your IUD once a month and ensure that it’s still placed correctly. This is a relatively simple process that we’ll explain to you when you come in.
How long until the IUD is effective?
Provided your IUD is fitted correctly, it should be effective in preventing pregnancy immediately. However, we recommend waiting at least 24 hours. Some people may experience spotting, in which case a wait of 24 hours is a good idea.
What are the advantages of an IUD over taking the pill or an injection?
IUD is a long-term contraceptive. It lasts for up to five years, whereas many long-term injections tend to last only around three months. Compared to the pill, it is significantly lower maintenance. You’ll only need to check it once per month, as opposed to remembering to take a pill every day.
The IUD lasts longer and is more effective than many other forms of contraception.
What are the disadvantages or risks of IUD?
It is best to discuss any disadvantages or risks when you come in to visit us. Some of the disadvantages of the IUD can include placement complications, such as attachment to the wall of the uterus or pain, bleeding and dizziness during or after the placement. Provided all goes well, most symptoms will go away after around 30 minutes.
Does it hurt to get?
You may experience some pain during and after placement. However, these symptoms should pass within 30 minutes. If they don’t, give us a call.
Can you have a papsmear with an IUD?
The IUD won’t interfere with a pap smear. We highly recommend that you get a pap smear at regular intervals. Feel free to ask us about pap smears when you come in for a IUD insertion. Some women choose to do both at the same time.
What if I want to become pregnant?
If you decide that you’d like to have a child, we can remove your IUD at any time. This should only take a few minutes. Once it’s removed, you should be able to try to become pregnant shortly after. Around 80% of women who want to become pregnant are successful within twelve months of having their IUD removed.
How much does it cost?
Costs can vary between clinics and Doctors and the time of your appointment. For costs at your preferred clinic call our Annandale clinic on Ph: (07) 4775 2666 or our Fairfield Waters clinic on Ph: (07) 4778 4581. For Brisbane clinics, please choose your preferred Doctor who performs IUDs in Brisbane here
Vein Treatment & Removal in Brisbane
Is it time to treat your varicose veins?
Common questions answered by Dr Wall – SmartClinics George Street (Brisbane city)
What’s the best way to avoid Varicose or Spider veins from becoming worse?
The reason for the appearance of varicose veins are multifactorial and include injury to veins from trauma, pregnancy and heritage. The jury is still out on whether wearing high heels is a contributing factor. Once they are present they are likely to persist and worsen over time. Wearing compression stockings will slow the progress of varicose veins and overcome much of the complications of varicose veins. However compression stockings are hot and uncomfortable and for the most part impractical for most people.
What are the different types of treatments available for Spider and Varicose Veins on my legs?
Endovenous last ablation (EVLA) is an effective method of treating the main truncal superficial veins of the leg. These are the veins into which you varicose veins should flow. A laser probe is passed up the Great saphenous vein to efficiently remove this vein. EVLA is done in conjunction with sclerotherapy to treat the secondary veins. SmartClinics George Street does not offer EVLA at this time.
What is the success rate of the treatment? Is one treatment better than the other?
For the treatment of small varicose veins including spider veins, of the lower limbs, the only real option is sclerotherapy. It has a high success rate of over 90%. EVLA is the gold standard for treatment of the truncal veins particularly where these are very large and has a high success rate of over 95%. Sclerotherapy is effective in treating truncal veins but is limited by the size of the veins. On veins up to 7mm in diameter it is very effective – over 95%.
Can I get treatment while I am pregnant?
Sclerotherapy is contradicted in pregnancy.
What will happen at my initial assessment before treatment?
Are your assessment, the doctor will examine your legs for varicose veins and signs of complications of venous incompetence, before discussing your treatment options. Be prepared to expose your legs fully. Additionally many patients will require Ultrasound assessment “mapping” of their veins at a radiologist, prior to planning treatment and commencing sclerotherapy.
Does the treatment hurt? Are there any risks of side effects?
Sclerotherapy involves numerous injections through the skin. However the needles used are very fine and well tolerated by most patients.
The most common side effects experienced with sclerotherapy are:
Itching – you may experience mild itching at the injection site and urticaria or hives which disappears rapidly.
Hyperpigmentation – some patients notice a light brown discolouration laong the treated vein due to haemosiderin staining in the skin as the vein disappears. This may persist for you to 12 months.
Allergic reactions – very rarely(<1% in 1000) a patient may have an allergic reation to the sclerosing agent. This risk is greater in patients who have a history of allergic reactions.
Pain – A few patients may experience mild to moderate pain and some bruising around the injection site or along the course of the vein. The veins may be tender to touch after the treatment and an uncomfortable sensation may be felt along the vein route. This pain is usually temporary lasting 1 to 7 days. Tenderness from clotting along the treated vein can be relieved by Nurofen of by the doctor releasing trapped blood after a few days.
Are the results instant? And if I have lots of veins will I need more than 1 treatment?
The results of sclerotherapy take a few weeks as the sclerosed veins are slowly absorbed by your body. Your doctor will usually reassess your veins at four weeks after the initial treatment. The number of treatment required differs for each person and can range from one to six, with average being three to four.
What are the costs involved? Does Medicare cover any of the fees?
The costs of sclerotherapy at SmartClinics George Street varies from $250 to $600 per treatment. Medicare gives a rebate of $95.00 per treatment. There is alos the cost of the compression stockings which need to be worn for a period after the treatment. Private health funds may rebate the cost of the compression stockings, but do not pay for sclerotherapy.
READY TO BOOK?
BRISBANE: Dr Hugh Wall P: (07) 3236 2559. SmartClinics George St, 275 George St, Brisbane 4000
GOLD COAST: Dr Aaron Atia. P: (07) 5535 5170. SmartClinics Burleigh Heads, 149 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads Qld 4220
For more information about vein treatment in Brisbane CLICK HERE
Top 10+1 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season
Author: Dr Sir-Kit Leong graduated from the University of Aberdeen in the UK in 2005. He spent his general practice training years in Toowoomba, prior to moving back to Brisbane in 2013. Today, Dr Leong consults full-time at Clayfield. View his profile here.
The holidays are an exciting time of year. We all get together, let some weight off our shoulders and enjoy a few days of respite from the pressures of life. The key to enjoying the holiday season is to be prepared for all eventualities. Fewer surprises and less stress is the ticket to coasting through the Christmas period and starting the new year refreshed and mentally well.
I’ve seen a lot of Christmases come and go. Over the years I’ve learned a few lessons and things that you might want to revisit/focus to ensure the holidays go more smoothly. Here are my top ten tips, plus one.
Be Aware of Storm Safety
Do a rapid storm safety audit of your house and backyard. Make sure loose items in the balcony are secured when you are away. Turn off appliances and power plugs; it saves you electricity and is great for the environment. Clear your gutters so that water doesn’t back up where you don’t want it and ensure there are no fallen branches or leaf matter around the house.
Importantly, take into account the kind of inclement weather that you are likely to experience in your area. If your region experiences heavy winds, ensure that everything is strapped down or put away. If bushfires, clear the backyard. You know your area well, but it’s up to you to apply that knowledge to protecting your home and preventing the heartache of coming back to an enormous clean-up job after a happy holiday.
Waste Not, Want Not
Christmas can be enormously wasteful time of the year. Naturally, no one wants to be miserly or overly anxious about trash. However, there are some very simple ways that you can reduce your waste output.
Reduce food wastage – be sensible in the amount you prepare,going overboard creates waste.
If you love cooking, then it’s certainly worth starting a tradition where Boxing Day is also known as Leftovers Day.
Spare a thought for our farmers who grow food for us. Do not waste their effort/hardwork.
Keep an eye on your power, gas and water consumption. It can be very easy to get carried away with guests over and leave every light on, but Christmas is expensive enough without an increase in power costs.
Christmas is a great time to consider the environment. Less waste reduce plastic, water and air pollution, effects translating to healthier people. Floods, heatwaves, water-borne illnesses and countless other issues occur from environmental harm. Do your bit this Christmas to keep the environment healthy and happy. Planet Earth future relies on each and everyone of us.
Be responsible with your drinking choices. Gatherings, work parties and social events are plentiful at this time of year, with some of us booked solid in the month before Christmas. It’s great to be merry and joyful over some drinks, but nonetheless you should know your limits and make an effort to stay within them.
Always have something to eat with drinks and be mindful of how alcohol can interact with any prescription medications. Do not drink and drive, and certainly do not allow your mates to drink and drive. Ubers are cheap, there’s no excuse.
Perhaps it’s time to kick that nasty smoking habit? Sure, this might be the fifth year in a row that you’ve promised to quit, but that’s how everyone starts out. If you’ve failed to quit in the past, that doesn’t mean you’ll fail to quit now. There is so much to keep your mind busy over Christmas that it’s a great time to cut back in anticipation of a new year without nicotine.
Find your “why”. Focus on the financial savings, improved cardio, reduced risk of cancer, longer life, improved taste and smell, or the dozens of other reasons that make quitting the right choice.
There is always help available. Chat to your family, friends, GP, or Quitline and get the right advice for your situation. Keep occupied, and before you know it, it will be weeks since you put out your last cigarette.
Get a Skin Check
Get a skin check before summer really hits! Do you know what your skin type is? Have you noticed any spots you are worried about? Have you had sunspots frozen before? A full skin check with your GP will tease out nasty skin lesions, especially skin cancers. Never underestimate the brunt of summer sun, irrespective of time of the day.
Prevention is better than cure. Cover yourself up if you’ll be in the sun for extended periods of time. So many of us hit the beach during the holiday break. If that’s you and your family, make sure you’re all taking appropriate precautions. Slip, slop, slap – it works.
There will be more vehicles on the road, which means inevitably the risk of accidents increases. Check your vehicle and ensure everything is in order. Plan your journey before taking off and if possible, travel outside of peak traffic periods. Take regular breaks. Switch off your phone or turn on hands-free/Bluetooth when you are driving. Think of others who are sharing the roads with you, they want to feel safe too.
Watch Your Budget
Stress can overwhelm us, and a huge cause of stress is financial concerns. We can be tempted to shop more than we need, particularly with the Christmas songs blaring through shopping centres and that ever-so-inviting festive vibe permeating every aspect of our lives.
Plan ahead. Write a list and stick to your budget. Leave in a buffer for unexpected expenses, and make an effort to be sensible about your purchases. Be that one person who goes against the flow and ends Christmas with some spare change and no credit card debt. Financial stress from overspending is the least of things we want.
Get Out and About
Christmas is the perfect time to get outside and soak up some nature. Get out of the house, walk the dog, go for a bush walk, visit a lookout, do something new. Australia has some of the greatest natural surroundings, and for most of us it’s less than an hour’s drive to get somewhere pleasant and away from it all.
Take this opportunity to get out and about, whether by yourself or with the family. Shave off those extra calories and inject some activity into your life. While you’re at it, realise how much you enjoy a casual walk, and commit to doing it a few times a week for the rest of your life.
I am 99% sure that everyone reading this has plans to do the opposite of clean eating over Christmas, and that’s fine. I’m not advocating that you spend the holidays nibbling on rice crackers and carrots. However, it’s a great time to make some very simple changes for big benefits.
Add some grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables to your meals. You should have 3-5 serves a day of these items, and they tend to go pretty well with just about any meal. Put your thinking cap on and serve up something healthy.
Monitor Your Medications
If you’re travelling, check your medications. Find out what you are short of and know when your surgery is closed. It can be difficult to renew a prescription from a practice that does not know your history, so make sure you have enough medicine for your travels.
Further, it’s a good time to check the medicine cabinet at home and stock up on a few essentials. Basic emergency medicines that are appropriate for your needs and some first aid materials are always a good option to have on hand.
Keep an Eye on Mental Health
Christmas can be an exciting, happy time for many. However, for some, there is always a lingering sadness. While you’re spending time among your loved ones and friends, take the time to call or visit someone you haven’t seen in a while. Reconnect, see how they’re doing, and show them that you care. They’ll be appreciative, and it adds some extra cheer to the season.
There are plenty more tips for the holiday season, but these are a few that if adhered to, will make it a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons. Merry Christmas, and stay safe.
Q&A with a Cosmetic Physician
Dr Ash Sankarayya
Considering cosmetic treatment in Brisbane?
Cosmetic Services are becoming more and more popular in everyday society. It can be a really good way to boost self-esteem, which is often connected to a person’s appearance. Feeling good about yourself also relates to your general health and wellness, so the benefits are more than cosmetic.
If you’re contemplating having some treatment done, Dr Ash has answered some common questions which might help you make your decision. Dr Ash is a highly skilled Cosmetic Physician and GP in the Brisbane CBD. He has performed thousands of non-surgical cosmetic procedures for over twenty years.
Q: How do I know which treatment is best for me?
This depends on what you want to achieve, like if you want to turn back the clock or enhance your natural features. At your initial consultation, we will spend some time talking about your desired look. I’ll then formulate a tailored treatment plan and explain the procedure in detail. There are a wide range of services available to you, such as anti-wrinkle and filler injections, peels and other skin treatments which are all safe and proven techniques.
Q: I’m worried about looking too ‘fake’. Will my results look natural?
The aim of treatment is to keep you looking natural and subtly refreshed. You will still look like yourself – the best, well rested version of you. As I am also a practising GP, my approach is holistic. I enjoy helping people feel happy with their appearance, which often requires only minor treatments.
Q: Are cosmetic procedures safe?
Both anti-wrinkle compounds and dermal fillers have been used safely for many years. All of the procedures that I perform are low risk, which will be carefully explained at your pre-treatment consultation.
Q: How much do treatments cost?
Treatments vary in price and start from $270. For anti-wrinkle injections you are charged for the number of units used, and with fillers per syringe. If your treatment is undertaken at the same visit, the consultation charge of $100 is waived.
Q: How long do the results last?
Anti-wrinkle injections usually last 3 to 4 months or longer and fillers 6 months or more depending on the type.
Q: Where can I go to get treatment and how long does it take?
I perform all procedures inside SmartClinics George Street medical centre in Brisbane city. Allow 30-60 minutes for your procedure if you are a new patient. Most procedures have minimal or no downtime and many can be done during your lunch break.
Q:What do I have to do to prepare for the procedure?
There is no specific preparation though avoidance of blood thinning medications such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, certain vitamins and alcohol is sensible. Please do not cease any prescribed medication.
Q: How do I make an appointment with you?
Simply call the lovely reception staff at SmartClinics George Street on (07) 3236 2559 and tell them you would like to make a time for a cosmetic treatment.
If you have questions for Dr Ash, please send us a message on Facebook or call the clinic directly to make a booking for an initial consultation. SmartClinics has a number of Cosmetic Physicians across Brisbane, Gold Coast and Cairns. For more information about specific cosmetic treatments available click here.
Mixing different medication – the do’s and don’ts.
Be Medicinewise Week 20-26 August 2018
Author: Dr Sir-Kit Leong, SmartClinics Clayfield
Each year more than 230,000 Australians are hospitalised with problems caused by their medicine.
Whether it’s your own medication or someone you love or care for, it’s important to make sure you understand what each medication is for, how to take them correctly and be mindful of potential side effects when combining different medication.
SmartClinics GP, Dr Sir-Kit Leong, answers some common questions about safety and effectiveness of taking medicine, and multiple types of medication at the same time…
Q: If I think my medicine is not working, or making me feel worse, should I just stop taking it or wait until I see my GP before stopping?
As a general rule, side effects may develop within hours of taking a new medicine if you do not tolerate it. Delayed reactions can happen too within days after new medicine is commenced.
If you are not well in general, particularly, if you developed any serious side effect(s) such as severe rash, fevers, dizziness, vomiting, breathing difficulties, the medicine is to be stopped immediately.
Be guided by your own observation, and do not delay in seeking medical attention if you are getting worse.
Q: What do you recommend as the best medication to give to my children when they are not feeling well?
It is dependent on what illness and what symptoms your child has.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen are common symptom relief medication given by parents to children for pain and fevers. I do advise that parents check the active ingredients in any over the counter (OTC) medicine before giving them to children. There are various OTC brand names, that have similar ingredients.
Q: Can some drugs work for some people, but not for others?
Patients may have variable response to the same medication.
When a medicine is consumed, it goes through some important phases in our body: absorption, distribution, metabolism (breakdown) and elimination (removal via kidneys and/or liver). If there is change to any of these phases, the therapeutic effect of a drug can change.
Q: Should people who are heavier, or lighter, take more or less than the recommended dose for children/adults that is written on the pack?
The dosing of medicine for children is dependent on the child’s body weight. Adults who are frail, elderly, with liver and kidney conditions are likely to have a lower dose.
I would advise patients to regularly check the medication details (name of drug, personal details, instructions, expiry date) on their packs/bottles before taking them.
This simple step will reduce risk of taking the wrong drugs.
Q: What are the dangers of mixing drugs for pain relief? Will it make me sick, or just not be as affective?
If you are taking strong painkillers such as codeine based ones, other than paracetamol and non steroidal anti- inflammatories (such as ibuprofen), it is advisable to discuss with your GP to use medication effectively and safely.
Opioid painkiller (common ingredient : codeine) has a role in acute pain.
However in patients with pain that last several weeks, especially more than six weeks, it is important to consult your doctor to work out a clear plan and subsequent ensuing reviews.
Mixing painkillers without clear understanding puts a patient at risk of drug dependence, tolerance (when a drug is no longer working for its purpose) , overdose and adverse reactions (especially cardiorespiratory and neurological reactions).
Q: What’s the best way to know if different types of medication can be taken together? For example, if I’m taking panadol, can I also take asprin or neurofen?
In theory, risk of drug to drug interaction increase with each medication added to existing medication(s), particularly if you have six or more medications. Nonetheless, most people tolerate medicines without major side effects.
Your doctor would be able to provide you advice on what’s most appropriate when combining different medication.
I highly suggest that if you take multiple medications, it is wise and safe practice to regularly review the need for each of them.
The doctor can also report significant side effects or adverse effects to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) that you may experience with medications, for future safety prescribing.
Q: My current medications are quite expensive and I’m finding it difficult to afford to pay for them. Is there anything I can do?
You can consider taking generic medications as they do work the same as their patented counterparts, and they are more affordable.
When your doctor writes you a medication, the PBS box is usually ticked on the script.
What it means is that the medication cost has been subsidised by the government under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme ( PBS).
Some non PBS medication may be cheaper than PBS ones. Please do consult your local pharmacist on how to best reduce cost of medications.
You would eligible for cheaper PBS medicine if you have reached the PBS safety net threshold.
Concession card holders and patients who are registered Closing the Gap (CTG) PBS co-payment Measure , are also eligible for cheaper medicine.
For more information about medicine, or mixing different medication, call our Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424)
Hepatitis remains highly undiagnosed in Australia
Author: Dr Jeffrey Wang MBBS, FRACGP, HBV S100 Prescriber
28 July is the world Hepatitis day
It is a timely reminder that worldwide viral hepatitis is responsible for 1.3 million deaths each year. It is such a burden on health resource that the World Health Organisation has aimed to eliminate Hepatitis B and C by 2030. In Australia, we have an estimated 230,000 chronic Hepatitis B and 200,000 chronic Hepatitis C sufferers. However, thousands of people in Australia have not yet been diagnosed.
There are five types of viral hepatitis – A, B, C, D and E.
Hepatitis A and E are contracted through ingestion of contaminated food or water. They often resolve by themselves.
Hepatitis B and C are contracted through exchange of bodily fluid (blood, semen) during events such as unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, tattoo and piercing.
Hepatitis D is an uncommon infection that require concurrent Hepatitis B infection.
Symptoms of acute hepatitis may include lethargy, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellow discolouration of skin), joint pain and abdominal pain. After the acute phase, Hepatitis B and C virus can continue to cause liver inflammation without any noticeable symptoms. Eventually they can lead to liver scarring and liver cancer.
It is therefore important to be aware of your risk profile and attend for appropriate screening.
Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) has recommended potential Hepatitis B screening for the following groups:
People born in intermediate and high prevalence countries (see chart below1)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
All patients prior to undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy
Unvaccinated adults at higher risk of infection such as household and sexual contacts of people with chronic hepatitis B, past history of injected drug use, and men who have sex with men.
It is important to know that once diagnosis of chronic Hepatitis B is made, regular monitoring is essential to determine if treatment is required. There have been significant advances in antiviral treatment agents such as Tenofovir and Entecavir. They are very effective at withhold disease progression and have minimal side effects.
For Hepatitis C, ASHM recommends potential screening for people with the following risk factors:
History of injected drug use
History of incarceration
Recipients of organ or blood products before February 1990 in Australia
Tattoos or skin piercings
Born in countries with high Hepatitis C prevalence (Africa, the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East – in particular Egypt)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Again there have been significant advances in Hepatitis C treatment and we have been looking at cure rate of >90% when treated early.
For further information, please refer to two very useful websites:
So please spread the word and arrange a time to see your friendly GP if you have any questions!
My Health Record – what you need to know…
What is it?
My Health Record is a secure online summary of your health information. You can control what goes into it and who is allowed to access it. You can choose to share your health information with your doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers.
Why is it so important?
It means that if you need to attend Hospital or an Emergency Department the staff can see your most up to date medications and conditions which will allow them to provide you with the best care and treatment. This is especially important if you are a little older or struggle to remember the types and doses of your medications, and any recent changes to them.
Pharmacies, Pathology and Radiology can now all be uploaded meaning your relevant and most up to date medical information is easily accessible to health professionals when required. This is great if you frequently travel interstate.
From this July the Government will be starting a 3 month opt out period. This means that after October all those who have not chosen to “opt out” will automatically have a record created for them. Remember, the whole idea of the My Health Record is to save lives – it allows health professionals like your Doctors and emergency staff fast access to your health information if for some reason you are unable to tell them while in need of medical assistance. Some people would prefer not to have their medical data made available through their My Health Record due to privacy concerns. The data in your My Health Record is secure and you can control who can access it, however it’s totally your choice.. if you want to opt-out click here, but as medical professionals we think it’s a move in the right direction for providing ultra-convenient and high quality healthcare for all patients.
You may have read some media reports today focusing on the sharing of patient information by Health Engine. In reported instances, any data that has been shared with 3rd parties by Health Engine during the appointment booking was unbeknownst to SmartClinics. We are taking the necessary action to investigate the truths and severity of the situation.
Whilst we currently continue to accept patient-initiated bookings via Health Engine, SmartClinics offers our own internal booking system called HealthMax at many of our locations, and we also accept bookings via phone. SmartClinics values the confidentiality of our patients, and will never share data with 3rd parties, unless requested by our patients.
For the moment, if you have any concerns over the use of Health Engine bookings, we recommend making an appointment via phone or visit one of our many clinics that use our highly secure internal booking engine. If you have any other concerns or would like to get in touch, please complete the Contact Us form or call our National Support Centre on (07) 3193 1300.
Steven Dahl, SmartClinics CEO
Dr Kelly is Retiring from General Practice
“After a long and happy career in general practice, I will be retiring on the 15th June 2018.
I’m leaving you in the trusted hands of the experienced Doctors at SmartClinics Clayfield who can tend to the medical needs of you and your family.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, my patients, for your support over the years. It has been my utmost pleasure to have helped you and your family”.
SmartClinics Clayfield Doctors are:
Dr Sir-Kit Leong
Dr Genevieve Keane
Dr Ian Walsh
Dr Julie Heiser (currently not accepting new patients)
If you would like to Book An Appointment please call 3268 1937 or click here.
The clinic has ample parking as well as pathology services. Click here to view a map.
Considering Lip Filler?
Many SmartClinics GPs are highly skilled in a range of safe and proven cosmetic services. Read below for some common questions and answers about lip filler injections for plumper-looking lips….
Q: How long does lip filler last?
A: Generally lip filler lasts 4 – 6 months. Many of my patients only require 2 filler injections per year.
Q: Does it hurt?
A: You will feel a small pinch and some stinging as the filler is being injected. Or if you prefer, we can use an anaesthetic or numbing cream to numb the area beforehand. Your treating Doctor will massage the filler through afterwards and place an icepack on them for a few minutes then you are free go.
Q: Will my lips feel hard or soft after filler?
A: Once the filler settles, your lips will feel just like normal. They don’t feel any different to real lips.
Q: How long does it take? Can I go back to work straight after my appointment?
A: It usually takes about 30 minutes for the entire procedure, then you are free to leave the clinic. If we use numbing cream, that can take around 10 to 15 minutes to wear off. Your lips may appear a little swollen for around 24 hours so if you are concerned about people noticing it may be worth getting the procedure done on your day off.
Q: Are the results immediate or do I need to wait hours /days to notice a change?
A: You will see results straight away but your lips may also look a little swollen until the next day until the filler settles in. After around 24 hours, you’ll see the ends result – this is how your lips will look for the next 4 – 6 months.
Q: Is there a way to change it back if I don’t like it, or do I just have to wait?
A: Yes. If you are not happy with the result for whatever reason we can use an eraser enzyme called hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler in around 5 minutes.
Q: Are there any risks or side effects I should know about?
A: All procedures have some form of risk involved but the risk with lip filler is minimal. In rare cases, some slight bruising may occur so I’d advise not to get the filler done immediately before a big event just in case you need a few days for the filler to set in.
Q: Is it possible to only have my upper or my lower lip done?
A: Yes if you have one lip that you want done we can certainly do this at a reduced price (off the standard full price).
Q: What does lip filler cost?
A: At our Burleigh Heads clinic, Lip Filler normally costs $650 for both lips, including the consultation. We are currently running a Lip Filler Special in June for only $399, which includes a free LED light therapy facial treatment that will help reduce fine lines and improve your complexion. This offer is only available on our website at Burleigh Heads and great for anyone who might want to try it for the first time.
Author: Dr Aaron Atia – SmartClinics Burleigh Heads
Dr Aaron Atia has over 20 years of clinical & supervisory experience in cosmetic aesthetics, facial surgery, anti-ageing treatments, hair restoration surgery, sclerotherapy (varicose & spider leg vein) treatment, weight loss, liposuction and skin cancer treatments. He has performed thousands of lip filler procedures during this time. Click here to read his bio.
Kidney Health with Dr Sir-Kit Leong
When you see your GP and request a health check/ ‘check up’, have you ever wondered what it entails?
As part of an adult health check, your GP would usually look at your kidneys – we call it in medical terms: renal function.
I would like to share some thoughts of why kidney health is important…
We have a pair of kidneys and they are tugged behind our lower end of back chest wall (posterior thoracic wall).
The kidneys have multiple functions. To name a few, the regulation of blood pressure, removing waste/toxins, maintaining electrolyte balance, red cell production, and regulating bone health.
We do not normally feel unwell from kidney injuries/damages, in fact, we may not feel unwell until we have lost 90% of our kidney function.
Kidney problem can affect any age group, young or old. One in three people is at risk of developing kidney problems, and less than 10% of population are aware that they have kidney disease/injury (source: Kidney Health Australia).
How do we look after our kidneys?
Put simply, looking after your kidneys similar to looking after your heart and blood pressure. You can reduce the risk of kidney disease by developing healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, keeping well hydrated and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption. If you are on medications, check with your GP that they do not affect the kidney functions.
As part of the health check, there are some simple blood and urine tests which are performed alongside a physical examination by your GP to determine your kidney health.
Monitoring kidney health is particularly more important in people who have or at risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, are overweight, or for those who are taking multiple medications. Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are also at higher risk.
For those who do not have existing health conditions, it is also essential to have your kidney health looked at , for the aforementioned reasons.
We can treat kidney disease if we make the effort to have them checked early.
CARE FOR YOUR KIDNEYS – BOOK A HEALTH CHECK UP TODAY.
For more information about Dr Sir-Kit Leong, or to book an appointment, click here.
PAST BLOG POST 2018 – This year’s ‘Superflu’ vaccines
You may have recently heard about this year’s release of stronger flu vaccines in the News. The media has referred to them as “turbo vaccines” or “supercharged vaccines” but what does that really mean? Dr Ian Walsh from SmartClinics Clayfield (pictured left) answers your questions below…
What is an enhanced flu vaccine?
Reference to ‘Turbo’ or ‘Supercharged’ vaccines relates to two types of 2018 vaccines that will be made available to patients 65 years and older, as it stimulates a stronger immune response in these patients. These will be branded as either FLUAD Adjuvanted Trivalent Influenza Vaccine or FluZone and are now available in most medical centres around Queensland. The Government will supply them free of charge for patients aged 65 and older.
What if I’m aged 18 – 65 years of age?
Adults under the age of 65 will receive a Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine that provides very high protection against 4 strains of Influenza. You can buy this flu vaccine today for only $9.95 when bought online as part of our Early Bird offer. Many GPs are also offering bulk billed flu shot appointments this year to keep healthcare affordable. Click here for more information or to buy your vaccine now.
Should I wait for the Government-funded vaccine?
It’s highly recommended that adults get vaccinated as soon as the standard vaccine is available (in March) as this will help avoid an early outbreak of the flu. You can buy yours now, and we’ll let you know once it has arrived at the clinic.
What about flu vaccines for children?
This year the Queensland Government will fund vaccines for Infants aged 6 months to under 5 years. To be notified by email when this vaccine arrives at your local clinic please click here. If you have children aged 5 years to 17 years, you can pre-buy the children’s vaccine for $9.95 as part of our early bird offer.
For more information about 2018 Flu Vaccinations click here
To pre-order your vaccine today, or to set a reminder email, click here
Antibiotic resistance – are you at risk?
The World Health Organization has warned that antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health today.
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change to protect themselves from an antibiotic. When this happens, antibiotics that previously would have killed the bacteria, or stopped them from multiplying, no longer work. Australia has one of the highest antibiotic prescription rates in the world, with around 29 million prescriptions issued annually. The more antibiotics are used, the more chances bacteria have to become resistant to them.
So how do you know if you are at risk?
Major causes of antibiotic resistance comes from:
Using antibiotics when they are not needed, or
Not taking antibiotics at the doses and times that a doctor prescribes — this allows time for the bacteria in your system to become resistant.
Practising good hygiene is an important way to help prevent the spread of infection and antibiotic resistance. Regular hand washing, using soap and running water, is one of the best defences against many of the viruses, bacteria and other microbes that can make us sick. When water is not available, in the car or on public transport for example, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are a convenient, portable and effective option.
The above information is an exert from “The Future of Antibiotics is in your Hands” issued by NPS Medicine Wise as part of World Antibiotics Awareness Week 2017. For more information click this link to download your tool kit: NPS-Medicine-Wise-Toolkit
Got questions? Ask Dr Sir-Kit Leong from SmartClinics in Brisbane…
Q: My GP has prescribed antibiotics. Should I say no and not take them?
Dr Leong: Antibiotics are safe to take, the problem lies in them not being taken properly. If your Doctor prescribes antibiotics to you it’s because they have diagnosed you as having a bacterial infection (which is a type of germ/bug). It is important to know that only bacteria will be effectively treated by the appropriate antibiotics and not a virus, like the common cold or flu. So you can still safely take antibiotics, just be sure to take the whole batch and follow the instructions of your Doctor.
Q: Are there some antibiotics that are better than others?
Dr Leong: No. Doctors treat specific infections with the narrow spectrum antibiotic. The antibiotic selected by your Doctor is targeted for a specific infection.
Q: How do I know when antibiotics are not needed?
Dr Leong: Antibiotics are used only for bacterial infections – not for viruses like the common cold. Symptoms of virus can sometimes mimic bacteria. As a general note, a viral infection tends to last longer than bacterial infection. It may take some time to diagnose a bacterial infection through examination and at times, investigations such as laboratory specimen swab and analysis. The best option is to consult your GP before deciding on what course of medication to take.
Q: I have a constant cough that is not going away, ‘stuffy blocked/runny’ nose , pain on chest for days and I feel awful/unwell- I felt better taking antibiotics for these symptoms in the past. Shouldn’t I just take the same antibiotics?
Dr Leong: No, these symptoms are likely of viral infections and it can take up to three weeks on average for them to go away. These symptoms occur because your body is fighting the viruses and hence you feel unwell. Your immune system is powerful enough to fight against most viral infections. The key message is not to take antibiotics in the first instance and have your doctor reviewing your symptoms over time.
CLICK HERE for more information about Dr Sir-Kit Leong or call (07) 3268 1937.